The Burnt Orange Nation staff has given its predictions for this Saturday’s match-up between the Texas Longhorns and UTEP Miners.
In a shocking turn of events, a unanimous vote of confidence for the ‘Horns has been displayed.
Wescott Eberts — editor
The loss of starting quarterback Zack Greenlee to injury is big news for UTEP, which will now have to rely even more heavily on star running back Aaron Jones. After running for well over 200 yards last week and breaking all of the tackles, he'll likely give the Texas defense some trouble.
However, the lack of a credible passing attack and ideal speed defensively will allow the Longhorns defense to tee off on the run and create explosive plays in the passing game to wide receivers like John Burt and Jerrod Heard. Miners head coach Sean Kugler will likely do all he can to avoid a massive blowout, so I don’t think the ‘Horns are able to match last week’s offensive production in terms of points scored.
Prediction: Texas 38, UTEP 10
Cody Daniel — co-editor
I can't really see any scenario where UTEP leaves Austin with a win Saturday night. The Miners are a fairly experienced group and may be able to hang around for the first quarter, or even first half of the game because of Sean Kugler's excellent clock management.
But quite simply, UTEP doesn't have the talent to match up with the Longhorns. Kugler noted this himself earlier in the week. And now with starting quarterback Zack Greenlee sidelined, Texas' defense will be able to place even more emphasis on senior running back Aaron Jones, who is UTEP's only hope of keeping this game moderately respectable.
I'd say the game is in the bag no more than halfway through the third quarter and Texas wins big with contributions from several guys we didn't get to see much of against Notre Dame.
Prediction: Texas 45, UTEP 13
Robert Larkin — staff writer
This week, I expect the Longhorns to come out firing on all cylinders on the offensive side of the ball. D’Onta Foreman and Chris Warren will have big games against the UTEP defense, and I think we’ll see Shane Buechele test the Miners’ secondary early and often.
As for the defense, they’ll be going against one of the most underrated backs in the country in Aaron Jones. I’m curious to see how Texas handles the run, and if they can shut down the Miners early and rest the starters in the second half. UTEP’s quarterback Zack Greenlee will miss this game so we’ll see what kind of passing attack the Miners have for Texas, if any, come Saturday.
All in all, I think we see a competitive game in the first half, but the ‘Horns pull away at the beginning of the third quarter. The starters will receive some rest, and we’ll hopefully get to see some very talented freshmen take the field.
Prediction: Texas 45, UTEP 17
Abram Orlanksy — staff writer
The Notre Dame hangover exists and the game is close-ish after one quarter — maybe 17-7 as UTEP struggles to keep up with the Texas offense but Aaron Jones breaks a long run to set up a UTEP score.
The Horns' superior athleticism and new-found confidence takes over in the second quarter and Texas has a comfortable halftime lead. In the second half, Swoopes gets an opportunity to throw some passes and the young guys get some reps. Texas takes its foot off the gas some, eventually winning 52-17.
Prediction: Texas 52, UTEP 17
Jonathan Wells — recruiting contributor
UTEP has some size and experience on the offensive line, with their LT and LG having 52 career starts between them, so I expect they'll manage at least a couple of sustained drives and RB Aaron Jones will finish with a respectable stat line.
I also expect UT's offensive line to have its way with UTEP's 3-4 front, given how they performed over the course of last Sunday's battle with a much more talented Notre Dame front.
This shouldn't be anything close to the 2009 beat-down where the Longhorns held UTEP under 100 yards of offense, but I don't expect the score to be particularly close.
Prediction: Texas 48, UTEP 17
Jack Keyes — staff writer
I'll be happy with most results that lead to win, but would be most excited if some freshmen get quality playing time and the defense is stout. UTEP will control the time of possession more than we would like, and they may get more yardage on the ground than would be desirable. Still, I'm predicting a 52-24 victory for the Longhorns.
Prediction: Texas 52, UTEP 24
Wes Crochet — staff writer
Sometimes a game just comes down to one team having more talent than the other. This game will be exactly that.
UTEP will be without its starting quarterback Zack Greenlee. So most of the game, the Miners will likely lean on its best offensive weapon; Aaron Jones. Along with the 5’10, 215-pound Jones, backup quarterback Kavika Johnson will get the start. Being that he’s a run-first quarterback who even saw time at running back last season, the Texas defense will be focusing on stopping the run to start this one.
I’ve interviewed UTEP Head Coach Sean Kugler a few times before. He’s a realistic, straight-forward guy. If this game gets out of hand early, I imagine Coach Kugler will pull his key guys to preserve them for conference play. Risking injury in a lopsided loss wouldn’t make sense if the game starts to look like a blowout early.
(You think Coach Kugler’s decision to go with his run-first back-up quarterback instead of his pocket-passer reserve, Ryan Metz, had anything to do with running the clock down?)
Texas will likely work its starting offense as much as it can until a good lead is built and the coaches feel its time to pull their key guys out to avoid injuries themselves.
Prediction: Texas 52, UTEP 13
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