New Mexico State lost a frustrating affair to I-10 rival UTEP, a 42-21 defeat on Saturday night at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
It was discouraging, simply from the standpoint that it was a winnable game on the 2013 schedule - an independent docket where there aren't a whole lot of such games to begin with for the Aggies.
But four turnovers were far too much to overcome - two of which came in the red zone, one on a trick play on first down from the UTEP 11. That, and unusual management of the quarterback position (where senior Andrew McDonald led two first-quarter touchdowns, was replaced by freshman King Davis III for the second and third quarters, only to come back in the fourth); and the lack of a running game - NMSU had just 19 rushing attempts for 99 yards on a Miners team that gave up nearly 400 on the ground last week to New Mexico. UTEP, in turn, ran the ball 56 times for 293 yards, wearing on the Aggie defense as the game moved into the second half and fourth quarter.
UTEP - a team in transition as well under first-year coach Sean Kugler - had a sound gameplan coming in. The Miners came out throwing, targeting certain areas of the Aggie secondary and having success with quarterback Jameill Showers and wide receivers Jordan Leslie and Ian Hamilton. Once such an approach loosened things up, UTEP turned to the ground game, and by the end of the night had advantages in key statistical categories: first downs (29 to 15), third-down conversions (10 of 17 compared to 1 of 7) and time of possession (41:53 to 18:07).
Here are some links following game:
For a recap of Saturday night's contest, click here
For a follow story with further commentary from head coach Doug Martin, click here
For photos from the contest, click here
For video interviews from Saturday's press conference, click here