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2008 UTEP Miners Season
UTEP QB Trevor Vittatoe
UTEP QB Trevor Vittatoe
CollegeFootballNews.com
Posted Jan 17, 2009


2008 UTEP Miners Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 UTEP Miners

Nov. 28
East Carolina 53 … UTEP 21
East Carolina had already won the East and didn’t need the game, but it dominated anyway by getting out to a 24-0 first half lead helped by two of Brandon Simmons’ three touchdown runs and a 32-yard Darryl Freeney scoring grab. UTEP broke up the run with a 28-yard Terrell Jackson run, and then the Pirates piled on more points with Simmons scoring with a short catch and a two-yard run. Ben Hartman kicked four field goals for ECU.
Player of the game: East Carolina RB Brandon Simmons ran 27 times for 111 yards and three touchdowns, and he caught a pass for a seven yard score.
Stat Leaders: UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 23-41, 313 yds, 2 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Terrell Jackson, 3-44, 1 TD. Receiving: Kris Adams, 9-116, 1 TD
East Carolina - Passing: Patrick Pinkney, 17-23, 228 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Brandon Simmons, 27-111, 3 TD. Receiving: Darryl Freeney, 5-106, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Just when UTEP needed to come up with a win to be bowl eligible, the defense didn’t show up against an East Carolina team that didn’t need the game, and there were mistakes all over the place with three turnovers and ten penalties. There wasn’t any chance to get the running game going after getting down so quickly, and while Trevor Vittatoe was fine, he didn’t do enough early to make it a game. It’s yet another disappointing finish for a program used to them.

- 2008 UTEP Preview
- 2007 UTEP Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
5-7
2008 Record: 5-7

Aug 28 at Buffalo W 42-17
Sept. 6 Texas L 42-13
Sept. 13 OPEN DATE
Sept. 20 New Mexico St L 34-33
Sept. 27 UCF W 58-13
Oct. 4 at So. Miss W 40-37 2OT
Oct. 11 Tulane W 24-21
Oct. 18 at Tulsa L 77-35
Oct. 25 OPEN DATE
Nov. 1 Rice L 49-44
Nov. 8 at UL Lafayette W 37-24
Nov. 15 SMU W 36-10
Nov. 22 at Houston L 42-37
Nov. 29 at East Carolina L 53-21

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
5-7
2007 Record: 4-8

Sept. 1 New Mexico W 10-6
Sept. 8 at Texas Tech L 45-21
Sept. 15
at NMSU L 29-24
Sept. 22 Tex Southern W 52-12
Sept. 29 at SMU W 48-45 OT
Oct. 6 Tulsa W 48-47
Oct. 13
E Carolina L 45-42 OT
Oct. 27 Houston L 34-31
Nov. 3 at Rice L 56-48
Nov. 10 at Tulane L 34-19
Nov. 17 Southern Miss L 56-30
Nov. 24 at UCF L 36-20

Nov. 22
Houston 42 … UTEP 37
In a wild shootout, Houston came up with a 26-point fourth quarter with Case Keenum throwing two touchdown passes in the frame, highlighted by a 62-yarder to Tyron Carrier, and ran for a one-yard score in the final minute to put the game away. Bryce Beall added a 71-yard touchdown dash and caught a 15-yard touchdown pass. UTEP got up 28-9 on three of Trevor Vitattoe’s four touchdown passes and he ran for a score, while Kris Adams made touchdown catches from eight, 28, and 42 yards away.
Player of the game: Houston QB Case Keenum completed 41-of-51 passes for 480 yards and three touchdowns, and he ran for two scores
Stat Leaders: UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 27-45, 362 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: Donald Buckram, 9-49. Receiving: Kris Adams, 6-111, 3 TD
Houston - Passing: Case Keenum, 41-51, 480 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Bryce Beall, 19-167, 1 TD. Receiving: Tyron Carrier, 9-141, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UTEP still has a shot at becoming bowl eligible with a battle with East Carolina coming up, but it blew a golden opportunity in the loss to Houston by not being able to move the ball late and not getting a defensive stop in the fourth quarter. Giving up big plays is one thing, but the Miners couldn’t stop anything Houston wanted to do once it got into a rhythm. After a tough loss like this, the defense could have major problems with the Pirates if they come out sharp.

Nov. 15
UTEP 36 … SMU 10
Trevor Vittatoe threw for 410 yards and three touchdowns starting out with an 85-yard scoring pass to Kris Adams, who later caught touchdown passes from 11 and 24 yards out. SMU’s offense turned it over six times and didn’t get into the end zone until the fourth quarter on a Bradley Haynes 27-yards catch. UTEP outgained SMU 544 yards to 201.
Player of the game: UTEP QB Trevor Vittatoe completed 21-of-31 passes for 410 yards and three touchdowns
Stat Leaders: SMU - Passing: Bo Levi Mitchell, 9-24, 95 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Andrew McKinney, 4-36. Receiving: Zach Zimmerman, 4-49
UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 21-31, 410 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Donald Buckram, 7-45. Receiving: Kris Adams, 5-145, 3 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Everyone expected a passing game and the wrong one showed up. UTEP got a brilliant game from Trevor Vittatoe, who was on target with Kris Adams all game long, while the defense was all over the SMU passing game allowing just 137 yards. The 36-10 final score should’ve been much worse, but there were too many field goals with Jose Martinez hitting five. On a decent two-game winning streak, the Miners have to find a way to beat either Houston or East Carolina on the road to get to a bowl game.


Nov. 8

UTEP 37 … UL Lafayette 24
Trevor Vittatoe threw five touchdown passes, with two to Jeff Moturi and two to Kris Adams, as UTEP got up to a 37-17 lead early in the fourth quarter and cruised from there. ULL started out hot with Gerren Blount taking a Vittatoe pass 55 yards for a touchdown, but that was the only UTEP mistake on the day as the offense rolled up 408 yards of offense and wasn’t threatened in the second half. Tyrell Fenroy ran for a three-yard score for the Ragin’ Cajuns, who turned the ball over four times and were held to 199 rushing yards.
Player of the game: UTEP QB Trevor Vittatoe completed 24-of-33 passes for 294 yards and five touchdowns with an interception.
Stat Leaders: UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 24-33, 294 yds, 5 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Terrell Jackson, 14-105. Receiving: Kris Adams, 6-83, 2 TD
UL Lafayette - Passing: Michael Desormeaux, 14-25, 185 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Tyrell Fenroy, 22-126, 1 TD. Receiving: LaDarius Green, 3-40, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UTEP’s offense is in high gear, while the defense came up with one of its best performances of the year in the win over UL Lafayette. The linebackers did a good job of keeping the Ragin’ Cajun running game in check, while the secondary was suffocating at times. Can this win launch a big finishing kick? With SMU up next, UTEP should be able to get to 5-5 and needing to win on the road at Houston or East Carolina to be bowl eligible.

Nov. 1
Rice 49 … UTEP 44
Chase Clement threw five touchdown passes and James Casey scored four times, including two touchdown grabs in the fourth quarter, to hold off UTEP. The Miners got three touchdown passes from Trevor Vittatoe and Jeff Moturi caught three scoring throws including a 53-yarder on a halfback pass by James Thomas in the first quarter. But Casey proved to be too much as he caught touchdown passes from 37, four and 12 yards out and ran for a two yard score.
Player of the game: Chase Clement completed 28-of-41 passes for 372 yards and five touchdowns, and ran 12 times for 21 yards and a score.
Stat Leaders: UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 19-37, 265 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: James Thomas, 3-43. Receiving: Jeff Moturi, 5-109, 3 TD
Rice - Passing: Chase Clement, 28-41, 372 yds, 5 TD
Rushing: C.J. Ugokwe, 19-103. Receiving: James Casey, 12-143, 3 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UTEP didn’t have the offense to keep up with Rice, even though Trevor Vittatoe threw well. The defense didn’t come close to bothering Rice QB Chase Clement, who was never thrown off his game on the way to a five-touchdown day. The Miners now have to deal with UL Lafayette, the Sun Belt’s best team at the moment, and they have to prepare to stop the run before facing SMU’s passing attack. A bowl bid is still a possibility, but winning out is a must. That’ll be a problem with the final two games on the road at Houston and East Carolina.

Oct. 18
Tulsa 77 … UTEP 35
In one of the wildest quarters of the season, it a Damaris Johnson kickoff return for a touchdown tied the score for Tulsa at 28 all, and it sparked a 28-point run with David Johnson hitting Slick Shelley for a 31-yard touchdown along with short touchdown runs from A.J. Whitmore and Jamad Williams. But the real big play came early in the first as Johnson found Brennan Marion for a 97-yard touchdown pass. Just over three minutes later, Marion caught a 51-yard touchdown pass. Marion finished with three touchdown catches and Tarrion Adams ran for two scores in the third quarter. Tulsa finished with 791 yards of total offense.
Player of the game: Tulsa QB David Johnson completed 21-of-27 passes for 434 yards and five touchdowns, and he ran seven times for 21 yards
Stat Leaders: UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 21-34, 306 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: James Thomas 1-34, 1 TD. Receiving: Kris Adams, 5-126, 1 TD
Tulsa - Passing: David Johnson, 21-27, 434 yds, 5 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Tarrion Adams, 15-114, 2 TD. Receiving: Brennan Marion, 6-233, 3 TD

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UTEP’s offense is playing well, but it’s not good enough to keep up with Tulsa right now. Even so, it showed in the first quarter that it could get on a roll, but it couldn’t sustain the momentum. Trevor Vittatoe threw for four touchdown passes, but his play wasn’t nearly enough. Third down conversions were the biggest issue converting just 2-of-11 tries. The offense has to gear it up again next week against Rice.



Oct. 11

UTEP 24 … Tulane 21
UTEP got ten second half points and help Tulane scoreless for the comeback win. Trevor Vittatoe threw three touchdown passes with a 68-yard play to Jeff Moturi with just over four minutes to play to take the lead, and the D was able to hold on. The comeback overshadowed a huge day from Tulane RB Andre Anderson, who ran for a 72-yard score and a one-yard touchdown to go along with a 28-yard touchdown catch.
Player of the game: In a losing cause, Tulane RB Andre Anderson ran 29 times for 255 yards and two touchdowns, and he caught four passes for 30 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: Tulane - Passing: Kevin Moore, 10-20, 80 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Andre Anderson, 29-255, 2 TD. Receiving: Andre Anderson, 4-30, 1 TD
UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 21-32, 296 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Donald Buckram, 20-107. Receiving: Jeff Moturi, 4-88, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UTEP has turned the season around thanks to the big plays from Trevor Vittatoe. The defense got carved up by Andre Anderson and the Tulane offense, but it shut out the Green Wave in the second half and Vittatoe came through with the clutch play needed late to pull out the win. Just as important was his lack of mistakes. He was relatively sharp and didn’t throw a pick. Now the fun really begins with a shootout against Tulsa coming up.

Oct. 4
UTEP 40 … Southern Miss 27 2OT
UTEP overcame a 260-yard rushing day from Damion Fletcher with a six-yard touchdown catch from Kris Adams in the second overtime for the win. Southern Miss forced the extra time with a  22-yard Britt Barefoot field goal as time ran out. Terrell Jackson caught a touchdown pass for UTEP in the first overtime, but USM answered with four-yard scoring grab from DeAndre Brown. Barefoot hit a 28-yard field goal in the second overtime, but UTEP came up with the touchdown. Trevor Vittatoe threw four touchdown passes, while Fletcher ran for a four-yard score to go along with all his yards.
Player of the game: UTEP QB Trevor Vittatoe completed 25-of-43 passes for 266 yards and four touchdowns, and in a losing cause, Southern Miss RB Damion Fletcher ran 34 times for 260 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 25-43, 266 yds, 4 TD
Rushing:
Donald Buckram, 12-59, 1 TD. Receiving: Jeff Moturi, 5-36
Southern Miss
- Passing: Austin Davis, 21-37, 264 yds, 2 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Damion Fletcher, 34-260, 1 TD. Receiving: DeAndre Brown, 8-110, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
For a team that looked miserable over the first three games of the season, UTEP turned things around in a big hurry with big wins over UCF and Southern Miss to be one of Conference USA’s surprise 2-0 teams. Trevor Vittatoe has started to come into his own, but the team dodged about five bullets in the win. The run defense was non-existent, and USM racked up 541 yards in all, but the Miners didn’t self-implode. It was a good win to build on, and now a win over Tulane is a must with a trip to face the high-powered Tulsa offense to follow.

Sept. 27
UTEP 58 … UCF 13
UTEP got up 17-0 on a Josh Ferguson fumble return for a score and a 14-yard Jamar Hunt touchdown grab, and never looked back. Trevor Vittatoe connected with Kris Adams for a 74-yard score and Vernon Frazier ran for a 55-yard score, while the defense did its part with six turnovers finishing up with a Dane O’Neill fumble recovery for a score. UCF got a seven-yard Kamar Aiken touchdown catch and a 13-yard Ronnie Weaver scoring run, but lost four fumbles and two interceptions. UTEP’s Cornelius Brown picked off two passes and acme up with a blocked punt.
Player of the game: UTEP QB Trevor Vittatoe completed 18-of-32 passes for 263 yards and three touchdowns with an interception.  
Stat Leaders: UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 18-32, 263 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Rushing:
Vernon Frazier, 4-73, 1 TD. Receiving: Kris Adams, 4-128, 1 TD
UCF
- Passing: Rob Calabrese, 13-31, 167 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing:
Rob Calabrese, 11-86. Receiving: Kamar Aiken, 5-58, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... Finally, the UTEP offense showed pop and explosion while the defense was tremendous at forcing mistakes and stuffing the UCF offense. Trevor Vittatoe wasn’t sharp, but he was effective enough to keep the offense moving, while the defense was aggressive and dominant when it came to getting the Knight offense off the field.

Sept. 20
New Mexico State 34 … UTEP 33
UTEP got up 10-0 in the first quarter, and then Chase Holbrook and the New Mexico State offense took over with two touchdown passes to Marcus Anderson and a 27-yard strike to A.J. Harris on the way to a 21-20 lead at halftime. The Miner defense came up with a fumbled return for a score for a short-lived lead, and then Holbrook came back with a quick drive and a 17-yard touchdown pass to Weston Neiman. UTEP took one final lead on a one-yard run from James Thomas, but Holbrook once again had an answer with a 15-yard scoring pass to Anderson. The final Miner drive stalled on a fourth and 11. UTEP ran for 277 yards, but New Mexico State passed for 366.
Player of the game: New Mexico State QB Chase Holbrook completed 29-of-39 passes for 329 yards and five touchdowns with two interceptions.
Stat Leaders: UTEP
- Passing: James Thomas, 8-15, 60 yds
Rushing: James Thomas, 19-142, 2 TD. Receiving: Evan Davis, 3-22
New Mexico State
- Passing: Chase Holbrook, 29-39, 329 yds, 5 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Marquell Colston, 8-31. Receiving: Chris Williams, 7-119
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... On a nine-game losing streak dating back to last year, UTEP needed a spark. It might have found it in QB James Thomas, who might not be able to throw a lick, at least not yet, but he ran wild on New Mexico State. A more seasoned quarterback would’ve been able to come up with a late scoring drive, but that’ll come in time. Unfortunately, the Conference USA season starts out rough with UCF, at Southern Miss, Tulane and at Tulsa. There’s no time for grooming.

Sept. 6
Texas 42 ... UTEP 13
UTEP took a 6-0 lead on two Jose Martinez field goals, and then Colt McCoy took over. The Longhorn QB threw three first half touchdown passes and hit Jordan Shipley on a 15-yarder in the fourth. UTEP held on to the ball for 36:41, but only managed a 12-yard Trevor Vittatoe touchdown pass to
Tufick Shadrawy in the second quarter to go along with the two field goals. The Texas defense added a 26-yad fumble recovery for a score to finish off the scoring after the Shipley touchdown catch.
Player of the game: Texas QB Colt McCoy completed 20-of-29 passes for 282 yards and four touchdowns with an interception
Stat Leaders: UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 25-46, 267 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Terrell Jackson, 17-94. Receiving: Jeff Moturi, 5-51
Texas - Passing: Colt McCoy, 20-29, 282 yds, 4 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Foswhitt Whittaker, 12-72. Receiving: Quan Cosby, 8-154, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... UTEP might have gotten blasted by Texas, that was to be expected, but at least the team showed a few signs of life after the nightmare against Buffalo with a decent day from QB Trevor Vittatoe and 412 yards of total offense to 404 yards for Texas. The one big issue was penalties committing 11 for 97 yards. With a week off, the offense has to be ready for a shootout against New Mexico State.

Aug. 28
Buffalo 42 ... UTEP 17
Drew Willy completed a career-high four touchdown passes including a 68-yarder in the first quarter and a 56-yarder in the third to Naaman Roosevelt as Buffalo won in a surprising laugher. UTEP tied it at 14 in the first half on a one-yard Terrell Jackson run and a two-yard Jonny Moore catch, but couldn't keep up as the Bull offense did everything right. Brandon Thermilus added two fourth quarter touchdown runs for the Bulls.
Player of the game: Buffalo QB Drew Willy completed 10 of 16 passes for 221 yards and four touchdowns
Stat Leaders: UTEP - Passing: Trevor Vittatoe, 20-37, 199 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Terrell Jackson, 18-67, 1 TD. Receiving: Jamar Hunt, 6-86
Buffalo - Passing: Drew Willy, 10-16, 221 yds, 4 TD
Rushing: James Starks, 31-179. Receiving: Naaman Roosevelt, 4-154, 2 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... I
t's not just that UTEP got blasted by Buffalo, it's that it played so poorly after getting chances to make a game of it with a 14-14 tie early on. Trevor Vittatoe had to press a bit, and it showed with three interceptions against the pumped up Bull defense. The offense didn't get enough from the running game and didn't do enough through the air to counteract the UB passing attack that ended up averaging over 22 yards per throw. This isn't exactly the performance the team was looking for with Texas ahead. To have any chance of keeping that close, the D has to limit the big plays.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Tim Curry QB 6-4 205 Fr. Shreveport, La./Elysian Fields
Rated the no. 62 quarterback in the country and a three star prospect by Scout.com ... Dave Campbell's Texas Top-300 player ... highly decorated recruit who earned All-State honors by the Associated Press and the Texas Sportswriters as a senior ... other senior honors included All-District 19-2A Offensive MVP, All-East Texas, Texas 7 on 7 All-State Tournament Team and Harrison County Offensive MVP ... coached by Ted Patton at Elysian Fields High School in 2006 and 2007 ... completed 95-of-183 passes for 1,594 yards and 22 touchdowns with only six interceptions as a senior ... also rushed 116 times for 404 yards in 2007, including 15 touchdowns ... led Elysian Fields High to a runner-up finish in Class 2A Division II in 2007 ... first team All-District 19-2A and second team All-Region quarterback as a junior ... completed 63-of-141 attempts for 1,039 yards and seven touchdowns as a junior, while rushing 117 times for 446 yards and 10 scores


Potential Instant Impact Players

Wiston Jeune DB 6-4 205 Jr. Malden, Mass./Malden/Moorpark JC
Will have two years of eligibility with the Miners after transferring from Moorpark Junior College, where he played free safety for two seasons ... earned second team All-Conference honors as a sophomore at Moorpark ... also team co-defensive player of the year and captain in 2007 ... ranked second on the team in tackles with 57 (40 solos-17 assists) last season, along with three interceptions (for 33 yards), three pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery ... selected Moorpark's Comeback Player of the Year in 2006 after undergoing thumb surgery ... coached by Jim Bittner at Moorpark ... Moorpark won 19 games during Jeune's time on the roster ... also recruited heavily by Idaho State, Louisville, Montana State, Nevada, San Diego State and Syracuse out of junior college.

Aaron King
DL 6-4 245 Jr. Houston, Texas/Elsik/Bakersfield College
Originally committed to UTEP in the spring of 2005 before spending the last two seasons at Bakersfield College ... has two years of eligibility with the Miners ... two-time All-Western State Conference selection at Bakersfield College ... All-State honoree and honorable mention All-American by jcgridwire in 2007 ... posted 29 tackles in 2007, including eight for losses, with six sacks and an interception ... first team All-District 5A defensive player as a senior at Elsik High School in Houston ... also chosen Elsik's defensive line MVP his senior year ... began playing football in 10th grade ... played tight end as a sophomore and junior, then started his senior year at tight end before moving to defensive end ... two-year varsity letterwinner for coach Bill Barron ... played basketball his freshman year (center/power forward), and competed on the track team as a sophomore (300 hurdles, 2x400 relay)


Rest of the Class
Eloy Atkinson OL 6-4 275 Fr. Los Fresnos, Texas/Los Fresnos
Darius Austin WR 5-9 180 Fr. Houston, Texas/Booker T. Washington
Logan Barrett K 6-1 170 Fr. Kennedale, Texas/Kennedale
Deryck Beveridge OL 6-8 330 Fr. Lakeside, Calif./El Capitan
Antwon Blake DB 5-10 170 Fr. Jacksonville, Fla./Thurgood Marshall
DeShawn Grayson DB 6-0 190 Fr. Riverside, Calif./Rancho Verde
Ramonte Harris DB 5-11 170 Fr. Arlington, Texas/Mansfield Summit
Jamie Irving LB 6-1 215 Fr. Perris, Calif./Citrus Hill
Korey Jarka LB 6-1 205 Fr. Sugar Land, Texas/Stephen F. Austin
Josh LaBum TE 6-3 245 Fr. Houston, Texas/Booker T. Washington
Negale Miller DB 5-11 170 Fr. Athens, Texas/Athens
Vince Misa-Amituanai TE 6-5 245 Fr. Oceanside, Calif./Mission Hills
Darrin Moore WR 6-4 195 Fr. Indianapolis, Ind./Irving MacArthur
Bernard Obi DE/OLB 6-3 220 Fr. Pearland, Texas/Pearland
Tory Robinson DL 6-4 275 Jr. San Diego, Calif./St. Miguel/Southwestern College
Nick Sampson DB 6-0 185 Fr. Houston, Texas/Westfield
Max Savedra TE 6-5 255 Fr. San Diego, Calif./Del Valle
Josh Scott DE/OLB 6-4 210 Fr. Highland, Calif./Redlands East Valley
Austin Shaffer DL 6-4 250 Fr. Odessa, Texas/Permian
Corey Trisby ATH 6-2 190 Fr. San Diego, Calif./Herbert Hoover
Clarence Ward DB 6-1 185 Jr. La Marque, Texas/La Marque/Santa Rosa JC
Corey Wright DL 6-4 260 Fr. New Orleans, La./Saint Augustine
John Wright DE/OLB 6-3 210 Fr. Riverside, Calif./John W. North

2007 Recap

Recap:
For the fourth consecutive season, the Miners got off to a fast start before crumbling down the stretch, a troubling trend that’s begun to chip away at Mike Price’s legacy in El Paso.  Although UTEP found a terrific replacement at quarterback for Jordan Palmer, freshman Trevor Vittatoe, and ran the ball surprisingly well, it wasn’t enough to overcome one of the nation’s poorest defensive units.  The surprise of the first half in Conference USA at 4-2, the Miners lost their final six games, allowing an average of 44 points a game.    

Offensive Player of the Year: RB Marcus Thomas

Defensive Player of the Year: S Quintin Demps

Biggest Surprise: At its peak, UTEP had the look of a West Division sleeper, especially after outlasting eventual division champ Tulsa, 48-47, on Oct. 6.  The Miners battled back in the final quarter, winning on a 14-yard touchdown pass from Vittatoe to WR Joe West with less than a minute remaining in the game.

Biggest Disappointment: The Miners’ second-half slide began with a crushing defeat to East Carolina on Oct. 13.  On its way to a 5-2 record and a third straight pulsating victory, UTEP allowed the Pirates a game-knotting 34-yard touchdown pass on the final play of regulation before falling, 45-42, in overtime.  The program wouldn’t win another game all year.

Looking Ahead: Vittatoe has three more years of eligibility and Price refused a chance to return to Washington State, so the Miner offense will be in good hands for the next few seasons.  However, if UTEP is going to be more than just half good in 2008, it has to completely revamp a defense that stopped no one last fall. 

  

  
 

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