Football

First Look . . . UTEP Miners vs. Texas Tech Red Raiders

Let’s take a first look at the UTEP Miners.

1 . . .

I don’t know how you get around the tragedy surrounding El Paso, or really even type the words without thinking about those people that lost their lives. But then on top of that, UTEP lost tight end Luke Laufenberg who lost his battle with cancer at the age of 21 years-old. Luke is the son of Dallas Cowboys radio announcer Babe Laufenberg, started his collegiate career at Texas A&M as a walk-on, then transferred to Mesa Community College in 2017. Luke was diagnosed with cancer and dropped 90 pounds after chemo and then rehabbed all the way back to be able to play tight end for the UTEP Miners.

This is just all so incredibly sad and I know that we normally are here on Staking The Plains to avoid the realities of the world, but for whatever reason I was affected by all of this stuff an am just so saddened by the loss of life sometimes.

2 . . .

GAME THINGS
Texas Tech Red Raiders
UTEP Miners
September 7th @ 7:00 p.m.
Jones AT&T Stadium – Lubbock, Texas
Texas Tech -34
FSN | FoxSportsGo
Partly Cloudy, 90-66.

Dimel poured it all out for K-State, in the good times and bad, he was there, starting as a player in 1985 and 1986 and then started coaching in 1987 and was there pretty much until 2017. What a terrific and amazing run. Dimel wasn’t at K-State for the entire time, he had a few years as the head coach at Wyoming (1997-1999) and Houston (2000-2002) and was at Arizona from 2006 through 2008. As an aside, he went 22-13 at Wyoming and then upgraded to Houston and went 8-26 in Houston.

UTEP’s offensive coordinator is Mike Canales, and of all things, he played quarterback at Utah State, but just a decade before Matt Wells, but was a coach for Wells in 2016 at Utah State, so there’s probably some familiarity there. Canales has really been all over the place, from BYU, Pacific, NC State, Arizona, uSF, North Texas, Tennessee, and UTEP, coaching for 34 years is a feat in itself. There’s obviously some experience there for the Miners with Dimel and Canales both being offensive coaches.

Defensive coordinator Mike Cox has coached for 32 years, again, that’s just all sorts of amazing, and has some Kansas State ties, coaching linebackers there from 2012 to 2016 and has hopped around as well, also having a cup of coffee at Utah State from 1995-1997, some years that overlap with Wells. Cox has mainly always been a linebackers coach and tends to stay at one spot for 3 or 4 years, including some NFL experience with the Rams.

3 . . .

Before the season started, head coach Dana Dimel, the long-time Kansas State offensive coordinator, is in his second year of the UTEP rebuild, and it did need a complete rebuild unfortunately. Dimel said that speed on defense and offensive line should be strengths:

I like our team speed on defense. I think our front three with Chris Richardson, Dedrick Simpson and Denzel Chukwukelu are going to be very good players.

And if our offensive line stays healthy, we have a lot of guys coming back who were hurt last year that are very good players.

Some of our young freshmen got to play last year and really developed. We feel like we can be a very physical team up front.

4 . . .

So I’m not sure how this is being received in El Paso, a 36-34 win over Houston Baptist. An interesting game in that there were only 3 points scored in the first quarter by UTEP, then both teams scored 17 points in the second quarter. Houston Baptist then scored 11 in the 3rd quarter, a touchdown with a missed extra point, a safety, and then a field goal. UTEP also scored 13 in the 3rd, and then in the 4th quarter, HBU scored 6 and UTEP had 3. Game over.

UTEP had 508 yards of total offense, 240 rushing and 5.2 yards per rush, and 268 yards passing, 13 yards per attempt. Defensively, the Miners gave up 300 passing yards in 37 attempts and and 147 on the ground on 32 rushes. UTEP converted 5 of 11 third down conversions and allowed 6 of 14 on the other side of the ball.

5 . . .

We need players.

I waited to figure out who is going to be doing what for UTEP and now we have some data. Brandon Jones (6-2/210) is the quarterback. I thought that Kai Locksley was maybe going to get an opportunity, but Jones played the entire game. Jones is a senior from Bakersfield, played 2 years at Bakersfield College and played in 6 games last year. Jones completed 10 of 20 against HBU, had 3 sacks, but also ran a bit, gaining 57 yards on 11 attempts (he lost 24). Treyvon Hughes (6-1/235) was the leading rusher, carrying the ball 23 times for 144 yards and 2 touchdowns. No receiver caught more than 2 passes.

Defensively, safety Justin Rogers (5-11/195) led the team with 10 tackles and defensive tackle Chris Richardson (6-3/298), defensive end Praise Amaewhule (6-3/245), and defensive tackle Josh Ortega (6-2/295) each recorded a sack against HBU.

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