18th-ranked Bulls battle Miners in Tampa
Tampa, FL – The Texas-El Paso Miners will continue their non- 17 win over Florida A&M last weekend.
UTEP grinded out a win over New Mexico State on the road last weekend, winning 16-10 with its third starting quarterback in as many games. If history counts for anything, UTEP has its work cut out for it against the Bulls. The Miners are 0-20 against schools from a BCS conference, and just 4-47 against teams in the Top-25, and has lost 25 straight to ranked teams on the road.
South Florida caught the nation's attention with a win over Notre Dame in South Bend during the opening week of the season, and has proved not to let down in the weeks following, despite playing against Ball State and Florida A&M. The team will get one more favored non-conference matchup with UTEP before embarking on its Big East schedule, which begins next weekend with an all-important trip to Pittsburgh.
This is the first meeting between these two teams.
Junior quarterback Nick Lamaison led the team to its opening day win over Stony Brook, but UTEP has started Carson Meger and Jay Hall in the past two games, with Hall helping the team to the win over the Aggies. Hall completed 9-of-28 passes for just 124 yards in the game (3-of-4 for 59 yards in the fourth quarter), and leaned heavily on running back Joe Banyard, who ran for 90 yards, as well as Leilyon Myers, who had 55 yards and one touchdown. UTEP is averaging 338.7 yards per game with 83.7 yards coming on the ground. Three quarterbacks have combined for 57-of-113 for a 255 yard average, with four interceptions.
The Miners are accomplishing pressure through three games, garnering nine sacks thus far, not to mention six turnovers, while holding opponents to under 30 points in each of the first three games. UTEP's defense has played well in the red zone as well, allowing just five touchdowns in 10 trips by opponents, including holding New Mexico State to just 10 points on four trips deep inside Miner's territory. The unit currently ranks 27th in the nation in red zone defense. UTEP is allowing 352.7 yards of total offense per game, including 131 rushing yards per game.
South Florida was overwhelming last weekend against FCS foe Florida A&M, amassing 745 yards of total offense. Quarterback B.J. Daniels went 21-of-31 with four touchdown tosses, while Darrell Scott added 146 yards rushing and three touchdowns. South Florida recorded five touchdown runs, further evidence that the team is accomplishing a balanced attack through its first three wins of the season.
South Florida is averaging 180.3 yards per game on the ground, and Daniels has passed for 869 yards and six scores.
"He continues to grow and mature every week. He is not the one-hit wonder," said USF coach Skip Holtz. "Right now, he is here to stay. He is really focused, he is reading coverages well. He understands the offense and he is doing a great job."
Daniels has added 71 yards on the ground, and his top receiver has been Sterli Griffin, who has registered 20 catches for 224 yards and one score. South Florida is 12th in the nation in passing offense with 325.7 yards per game and 13th in total offense with 506 yards per game.
The defense has been stout, and ranks 18th in the country against the run, allowing just 77.7 yards per game. South Florida is also 18th in country in tackles for loss per game (7.7 per). The Bulls are allowing just 304.7 yards of total offense per game and just 14.7 points per game.
It created the turnovers to beat the Irish in the opener, and its has coasted since against offenses that don't stack up, but the bottom line is that the Bulls have 10 takeaways in three games.
"We emphasize turnovers," said safety Jon Lejiste, who had an interception against Florida A&M. "Every time I get an opportunity to make a play I have to make it to benefit my team and get the ball back in the offense's hands."