The last time the UTEP football team was winless in a season, I was in diapers and living in Brooklyn, New York. It is starting to look more and more like the Miners will tie that dubious distinction last accomplished in 1973. That season under head coach Tommy Hudspeth, UTEP finished 0-11 and their closest games were four-point losses to Lamar and New Mexico State. The Miners gave up 82 points to Utah, 76 to Colorado State, 63 to BYU and 62 to Idaho. Their starting quarterback, Frank Duncan, had seven touchdowns and 20 interceptions. The late, great Bronko Belichesky was kicking for that team and “doing it to them while he was looking at them.” Looking back, the 1973 UTEP season was arguably one of the worst in college football history.
UTEP hosted their new rivals from San Antonio Saturday night at the Sun Bowl, and UTSA was able to continue the road dominance in this series. The Roadrunners handled the Miners for most of the game and won 31-14 in front of a generous announced crowd of 19,456 at the Sun Bowl. However, the Aaron Jones bobblehead giveaway combined with UTEP’s impressive Hall of Fame class could have added a little bit to the crowd. On the field, the Miners were an offensive mess with the exception of two late second quarter drives. Senior Zach Greenlee was awarded the starting quarterback job after a two-week competition, but he completed just eight out of 29 passes for 133 yards and a pair of interceptions. The UTEP defense had its share of breakdowns, but they helped keep the team in the football game and limited the Roadrunners to just 393 total yards.
The Miners play three of their final four games on the road. Middle Tennessee, North Texas, Louisiana Tech and UAB have a combined record of 17-15, but all of them appear to be too much for UTEP to handle. To make matters worse, the Miners have no verbal commitments for next year’s football recruiting class and they have still not hired a Director of Athletics to replace the retiring Bob Stull. At this point, the football team is playing for their pride, and that might not be enough to avoid history repeating itself for the first time in 44 years.
The El Paso Coyotes lost all 20 games in their inaugural season, but team president Gil Cantu vowed to make year two a much better one for their fans. On Saturday night, the team won their first game in the Major Arena Soccer League (MASL) and they defeated the Rio Grande Barracudas 8-4 at the El Paso County Coliseum.
Christian Gutierrez led the way for the Coyotes with four goals and Hugo Puentes added a pair of scores for El Paso. The Barracudas actually led this game 4-3 before the Coyotes scored the final five goals in the fourth period to earn its first ever win. Next up will be the San Diego Sockers this Thursday night at the Coliseum. The game kicks off at 7:35pm, while tickets range from $10-$25 and are available at the Coliseum Box Office, all Ticketmaster outlets, by phone at 800-745-3000 and online at ticketmaster.com.
Steve Kaplowitz hosts “Sportstalk” weekday afternoons 4-7 p.m. on 600 ESPN El Paso. You can contact Steve by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org.