College Football News Preview 2020: Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The UTEP Miners Offense
Start completing passes. Of course, it all ties together. The offensive line hasn’t been giving the Miner quarterbacks any time to work over the last several seasons and the running game hasn’t been along for the ride, but the QB play has to be a whole lot better.
Last season, UTEP quarterbacks combined to hit a Conference USA-low 54% of their passes … and that was an improvement. The Miner passers failed to connect on half of their throws in 2018, hit 46% in 2017, and cut down the interceptions from 19 to 8.
They still have to start connecting with their wide receivers with the forward pass.
Biggest Key To The UTEP Miners Defense
Pass rush, pass rush, pass rush. The Miners just don’t generate pressure into the backfield – ever. It’s all a trickle-down effect with too much time for opposing backfields to work, few third down stops, and no big plays to change games around. Changing around the alignment to a 4-3 is a good start, but the Miners don’t have the parts.
The D generated a minuscule 12 sacks and a nation-low 39 tackles for loss. Get better at this, and the Miners won’t be the second-worst in college football at third down stops.
Key UTEP Miners Player To A Successful Season
QB Gavin Hardison, Jr.
Or TJ Goodwin, or Isaiah Bravo, or Calvin Brownholtz. No matter who it is, the Miners are painfully overdue for steady quarterback play – injuries and inconsistencies have been the main problem.
The 6-3, 205-pound Hardison came over from New Mexico Military Institute last year and got in a little bit of work, but he sat out enough to keep two years of eligibility. No matter who’s handling the passing game, anything more than the nine touchdown passes and 2,292 yards from teh position last year
Key Game To The UTEP Miners Season
New Mexico State, Sept. 26
Just for the program’s mental health, it needs to win this game after losing three in a row in the series.
The two schools are just 45 miles apart, they go after a lot of the same players, and they’ve been equally bad for a long, long time.
After starting out the season with almost-certain losses to Texas Tech, at Nevada, and at Texas, UTEP gets the home date against the Aggies with a shot at the program’s first win over an FBS program since taking down Rice in early November of 2018.
– UTEP Miners Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2019 UTEP Miners Fun Stats
– 4th Down Conversions: Opponents 9-of-10 (90%) – UTEP 18-of-25 (72%)
– Passing TDs: Opponents 27 – UTEP 9
– Penalties: UTEP 80 for 738 yards – Opponents 62 for 549 yards