Nevada Football: An Early Look At The UTEP Miners
An early preview of the contest between Nevada and UTEP,
An Early Preview of Nevada-UTEP
In their third game of the 2020 season, the Nevada Wolf Pack hosts the UTEP Miners from Conference USA. The contest between the Wolf Pack and the Miners is scheduled for September 12th in Reno, Nevada.
The Wolf Pack and Miners are facing off on the gridiron for the second straight season. Last season, Nevada traveled to El Paso to play UTEP and the Wolf Pack defeated the Miners 37-21. In that game, Nevada quarterback Crisitan Solano threw for two touchdowns and threw for 100 yards in the win over the Miners last season.
In that contest, the Wolf Pack used two quarterbacks as Solano (graduated) and Malik Henry (who is no longer with the Wolf Pack program) both split time at the QB position while Carson Strong was out with an injury. Barring anything unforeseen, Sophomore QB Carson Strong will take all the snaps at quarterback for Nevada.
The Wolf Pack are taking on a UTEP team that was one of the worst teams in the Group of 5. And this season, UTEP looks to be one of the worst teams in the Group of 5 again this season. Despite the Miners many issues last season, they were pretty good at running the ball and stopping the ball. They were horrendous at passing the ball but they were consistent at running the ball as they averaged 138 rushing yards per game in 2019.
This season UTEP will be replacing its top two quarterbacks, leading rusher, five of their top seven wide receivers, two of their three top defensive linemen, five of their six linebackers and their top three safeties from 2019. Now UTEP has brought in nine JUCO players to help mitigate these losses but for a team that is in rebuilding mode, those losses are a big hit to the Miners rebuilding plans.
UTEP will either start junior quarterback Gavin Hardison or redshirt freshman TJ Goodwin at quarterback and whoever the QB is will throw to one of the few returning WRs in Sophomore Jacob Cowing who caught 31 passes in 2019.
On defense, the Miners do have some experience returning at the cornerback position with seniors Duron Lowe and Josh Caldwell. But the Miners are still lacking a pass rush and have resorted to changing their defensive set going to a 3-4 to 4-3 to generate a pass rush.
UTEP was a bad team in 2019 and looks to be just as bad in 2020 as they face the Wolf Pack in September. Inexperience at key positions and a lack of play-makers mean UTEP is headed for another down year and possibly another defeat at the hands of the Wolf Pack in Reno.