Opponent Profile: UTEP

Irony: When everything in your life is going well you have no free time; conversely, when you're in a horrible rut you've got all the time in the world. Which is why we all look forward to that one time in life when the curse is broken... retirement.

Better late than never: A few words on UTEP.

2007 Season Cap

2007 Record: 4-8 (2-6 - Conference USA)
2007 Home Record: 3-3
2007 vs Winning:  2-5
2007 vs. Ranked:  0-1
2007 Bowl:  N/A
Last year vs TX:  N/A
All-Time vs. TX:  0-2

2007 Key Stats

OFFENSE
Yards/Play, Offense:  5.9 (#23, nationally)
Scoring Offense/Game:  33.6 (26)
Rush Yards/Att:  4.26 (45)
Pass Yards/Att:  7.5 (27)
3rd Downs Conv-Att:  70-174-40.2% (53)
Red Zone Scores-Chances:  38/44 (31 TD / 7 FG)
Turnovers lost:  20 (22)

DEFENSE
Yards/Play Defense:  6.2 (105)
Scoring Defense/Game  37.1 (113)
Rush Yards/Att:  4.84 (99)
Pass Yards/Att:  7.7 (97)
3rd Downs Conv-Att:  91-186-48.9% (114)
Red Zone Scores-Chances:  55-66 (42 TD / 13 FG)
Turnovers gained:  29 (20)
Turnover margin:  +18 (3)

SPECIAL TEAMS
Yards/Punt Return, FAU:  13.6 (14)
Yards/Punt Return, Opponent:  7.9 (47)
Yards/Kickoff Return, FAU:  20.4 (82)
Yards/Kickoff Return, Opponent:  21.9 (73)
FG Att-Made:  17-20

Personnel

Returning Starters:  12 (5 offense, 7 defense)
Best Player, Offense:  Trevor Vittatoe, QB (224-407-55%, 3101 yards, 25-7 TD-INT as rFR)
Best Wide Receiver:  Jeff Moturi (65 rec, 891 yards, 13.7 avg, 13 TD)
Best Running Back:  Terrell Jackson (Injured in last year's opener; PrepStar All-American in HS went to Oregon before transfer)
Best Player, Defense: Adam Vincent, LB (75 tackles in '07)
Best D-Lineman:  Andre Jones?
Best Linebacker:  Vincent
Best DB: Cornelius Brown (46 tackles, 4 INT, 9 PBU)
Sleeper: Vernon Frazier, RB (Those who watch UTEP closely sense a breakout if opportunity is given)

2008 To Date

8/28  L 17-42 at Buffao
Box Score
Recap

PB Commentary & Prediction

Heading into this season, quarterback Trevor Vittatoe's memorable redshirt freshman season was enough to regard UTEP's offense as 'respectable,' though the situation looked bleak again on defense. Now, after the Miners' humiliating season-opening loss to Buffalo in which the offense scored just 17 points and Vittatoe threw 3 interceptions, what little hope existed UTEP might hang with the Longhorns in some kind of wild, West Texas night game shootout seems especially fantastical.

To be fair, the Bulls have played increasingly better football under rising star Turner Gill, but the Miners were so thoroughly dominated on the stat sheet there's simply no imaginable scenario in which they can compete with Texas even for a half. Consider:

  • Buffalo finished with 263 yards rushing on 5.3 yards per attempt
  • Bulls quarterback Drew Willy completed 10 of his 16 passes for 4 touchdowns and 0 interceptions, picking up 13.8 yards per attempt, double last season's average of 6.8.
  • UTEP tailback Terrell Jackson was limited to 67 yards rushing on 18 carries (3.7 ypc), which looks good next to the 13 yards on 6 carries by other UTEP rushers. And that doesn't count Vittatoe's 13 yards lost on 2 sacks.

On and on we could go, but there's no point: If this is UTEP's Super Bowl, Saturday night is going to resemble Pasadena '93.

PB'S PREDICTION: TEXAS 51  UTEP 6

Who you got? Guess the exact score and win a BON t-shirt.

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