Aggie Football Falls To UTEP 42-21

The 91st edition of the Battle of I-10 ended the same way the previous four ended -- in a loss. Four turnovers, two in each half and two in the redzone, doomed the Aggies in their 42-21 defeat.

The game got off to an ominous start for the Aggies when Darien Johnson fumbled the opening kickoff giving the Miners possession of the ball on the Aggies' three yard line. It took UTEP just one play to find the endzone and the Aggies found themselves trailing 7-0 just ten seconds in the game.

The Aggies bounced back immediately as Andrew McDonald found Jerrel Brown for an 81-yard touchdown pass to tie the game at 7-7 just 27 second into the game. On the ensuing drive the Miners put together an eight play, 87 yard drive that culminated in a 12 yard touchdown run by quarterback Jameill Showers to put the Miners up 14-7.

The Aggies wasted no time in answer UTEP's scoring drive as they could go on a five play, 82 yard scoring drive. The drive featured a pair of runs of nine yards by Andrew McDonald and Germi Morrison followed by a 29-yard completion to Joseph Matthews with put the ball on the 35 yard line of the Miners. Morrison rushed for 15 yards down to the Miner 20 yard line and McDonald found Perris Scoggins for a touchdown to tie the game at 14-14 with 9:28 left in the first quarter.

Both defenses stiffened as the team traded punts. The Miners would drive all the way down to the Aggie 11 yard line but the New Mexico State defense would force a field goal attempt which was missed keeping the game tied.

The Aggies would go three and out giving the Miners the ball back with 37 seconds left in the first quarter. Neither team could find their offensive rhythm to start the second half as the Miners punted twice while the Aggies punted once. The Aggie offense would finally begin to move the ball as King Davis would complete a pass to Andrew Dean for 24 yards and then run for 13 more giving the Aggies a first down at the Miners' 22 yard line. On the ensuing play Germi Morrison would rush for 16 yards down to the Miners' six yard line but a fumble would turn the ball back over to the Miners.

UTEP would capitalize driving 94 yards on ten plays and eating up 5:11 and leaving the Aggies trailing 21-14 with 11 seconds left in the half. The Aggies would take a knee and head into the locker room trailing by seven.

At halftime the Aggies had held the Miners to just 49 yards rushing on 22 attempts but gave up 200 yards of passing as Showers was 14-of-19. The Aggies had 78 yards rushing on 13 attempts and were 5-of-10 passing for 164 yards.

The second half began with a flurry as Showers was intercepted on the second play from scrimmage giving the Aggies the ball at the Miners' 11. The Aggies, however, turn the ball right back over to the Miners as they tried to execute a halfback pass from Joseph Matthews which was picked off in the endzone by Dashone Smith.

The Miners drove down to the Aggies' 38 yard line but Davis Cazares forced a fumble that was recovered by linebacker Bryan Bonilla. The Aggies would capitalize three plays later as King Davis III found Brandon Betancourt on a screen pass which Betancourt would take 72 yards down the sideline for a touchdown tying the score at 21 with 7:27 left in the third quarter.

UTEP answered quickly taking just three plays to cover 75 yards as LaQuintus Dowell eluded Aggie defenders and ran for a 54 yard touchdown giving the Miners a 28-21 lead with 6:21 left in the quarter.

The two teams traded punts on their ensuing drives and the Aggies would hold possession heading into the fourth quarter. The Aggies would be forced to punt giving the Miners the ball back at their own 12 yard line with 13:39 left to play. UTEP would put together a 14 play 88 yard drive that engulfed 8:15 of game time and resulted in a touchdown to put the Miners up 35-21 with 5:24 left to play.

On the ensuing Aggie drive, quarterback Andrew McDonald would move the Aggies out to the 36 yard line before throwing an interception which was returned for a touchdown. The Miners were flagged for holding during the return giving the Miners the ball on the Aggie 45 yard line, however, it took just one play, a 45-yard run by Darrin Laufasa to put the Miners up 42-21.

The Aggies would get one final drive and moved the ball from their own 23 to midfield before turning the ball over on downs. The Miners would salt away the final 2:35 giving them a 42-21 victory.

The Aggies finished with 398 yards of total offense and had 299 yards passing but 153 of those yards came on two pass plays, the receptions by Jerrell Brown and Brandon Betancourt. UTEP finished the game with 293 yards rushing with 244 coming in the second half. UTEP dominated time of possession, a stat the Aggies had won in each of their first two games. The Miners held the ball for 41:53 to the Aggies' 18:07.

The Aggies return to action next Saturday as they head to Los Angeles to take on the UCLA Bruins at the Rose Bowl.