UTEP 16 ... at New Mexico State 10

Posted Sep 17, 2011

Week 3 CFN Fearless Prediction & Game Story - UTEP at NMSU

2011 Predictions & Game Story 

Week 3 - UTEP at NMSU

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UTEP 16 ... at New Mexico State 10
CFN Analysis: Special teams, special teams, special teams. The UTEP offense can't get anything out of the line or the running game, and the passing attack is wildly inefficient, but the kicking game picked up the slack with Dakota Warren coming through with three field goals and the fake punt making up for the sluggish play. NMSU doesn't run the ball, and the pass defense held up well, but the Miner passing game was a disaster with Javia Hall completing 9-of-28 passes for 124 yards and a pick. The pass rush was phenomenal with five sacks, and the mistakes didn't prove that costly, but it was an ugly win. At 2-1, the Miners will take it.

If the Aggies aren't even going to try to run the ball, they at least have to be able to bomb away against mediocre teams like UTEP. The big problem continues to be pass protection, with Andrew Manley not getting enough time to consistently keep the chains moving converting just 3-of-13 third down chances. The defense did its job with a good pass rush bending but rarely breaking; the offense didn't do its job. This game was winnable, and while the San Jose State and New Mexico games are on the road, and with Idaho to follow at home, winning two of the next three isn't asking for too much if the O line play can be stronger. That's asking for a lot to be changed up in a hurry.

(AP) LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- Dakota Warren booted three field goals and UTEP set up a touchdown with a 60-yard run on a fake punt in a 16-10 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday night.

On the fake punt, the ball was snapped to Joe Banyard, who raced 60 yards to the New Mexico State 6. Moments later, Leilyon Myers scored on a 5-yard run.

Warren connected on field goals of 42, 47 and 37 yards. Myers was tough up the middle -- 55 yards on 16 carries.

New Mexico State couldn't establish a running game, rushing for just 16 yards on 29 attempts. Aggies quarterback Andrew Manley completed 20-of-37 pass attempts for 242 yards and a touchdown, but was sacked six times.

New Mexico State moved the ball inside the UTEP 5-yard line three times, but only had a field goal to show for it.

UTEP (1-1) at New Mexico State (1-1)
Sept. 17, 6:00, ESPN3.com

Here's The Deal … The Miners cruise into Las Cruces fresh from defeat in their conference opener at the hands of SMU. While both they and the Aggies can move the ball effectively through the air both teams are horrid with the ground attack as neither team averages more than 70 yards rushing per game with UTEP ringing up an abysmal 33 yards rushing per contest.

For the Aggies, last week's win at Minnesota was one of the biggest for the program in years. QB Andrew Manley overcame two interceptions to throw for 288 yards and three touchdowns leading State to a 28-21 win, and now the program is looking to capitalize on the momentum. While one school is looking build off a confidence boosting win (NMSU) the other is still trying to put the pedal to the metal after two lackluster performances including an overtime nail biter against Stony Brook to open the season.

Why UTEP Might Win: New Mexico State is going to throw the ball around, which the Miners will be no strangers to after facing pass happy June Jones SMU squad in Week Two. The pass defense has been decent allowing on 206 yards per game through the air, while State struggles for productivity out of the running game. If the Miners can continue to play consistent pass defense the Aggies will have to turn to the ground attack which it has shown through two games is by all means nonexistent.

Why New Mexico State Might Win: If the Aggies can continue to put points on the board they will place themselves in position to win. While the defense has been anything great starting UTEP quarterback Nick Lamaison is out from a separated shoulder sustained in week two's loss to SMU. Reliever Jay Hall was 8-of-20 for 120 yards with an interception and a late game fumble resulting in a touchdown that would seal the deal on a 28-17 defeat. The running game is even worse the State's meaning points will be hard to come by for the Miners.

What To Watch Out For: The offensive production for UTEP. Without their starting quarterback and a non-living running game through two games where will the points come from? The offensive line has left tons to be desired after a second straight poor out put on the ground while allowing too much pressure on their quarterback ultimately leading to the injury to Lamaison who was the lone bright spot so far. The Aggies are beaming with confidence after defeating a BCS opponent in week two and should draw a fierce crowd for support.

What Will Happen: It is simple. No running game, first year action struggling quarterback, road game against a team coming off a program staple win = loss for UTEP. There just isn't anything there to suggest the Miners will produce enough points or positive plays to win a road game. It has been moons since New Mexico State has fielded a decent squad. We will find out this week if the win against Minnesota was more of the Aggies playing a great game or more of the Gophers being a bad football team. Regardless, UTEP lacks the weapons to win a road game at the moment.

CFN Prediction: New Mexico State 23 ... UTEP 13
- Click For Latest Line From ATS: NMSU -3   O/U: 47

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