FACTS & STATS: Site: Joe Aillet Stadium (27,717) — Ruston, Louisiana.
Television: FCS. Home Record: UTEP 1-1, LTU 0-1. Away Record: UTEP 1-1, LTU
2-2. Neutral Record: UTEP 0-0, LTU 0-0. Conference Record: UTEP 0-0, LTU 1-0.
Series Record: Louisiana Tech leads, 7-2-1.
GAME NOTES: The Louisiana Tech Bulldogs will try to push their league record
to 2-0 when they battle the Texas-El Paso Miners in a Conference USA clash at
Joe Aillet Stadium on Saturday night.
UTEP has yet to play a conference foe this season, and enters this game with a
2-2 mark. The Miners edged out New Mexico (41-24) to open the season, fell to
Texas Tech (30-26) at home, and then traded a win over New Mexico State
(42-24) with a setback at Kansas State (58-28).
Louisiana Tech may have defeated North Texas in its league lidlifter, but the
Bulldogs are carrying a two-game losing streak and a 2-3 record into their
second conference matchup.
Kenneth Dixon picked up 200 yards on the ground to lift Louisiana Tech to a
38-35 win over UTEP last season. As a result, the Bulldogs’ advantage in the
all-time series moved to 7-2-1.
The then 25th-ranked Wildcats really held UTEP’s offense in check last
weekend. Although the Miners finished with 28 points, they did not score in
the first half while finishing with only 260 yards. It was a giant step back
for a team that is still averaging decent numbers on offense (31.8 ppg, 390
Jameill Showers leads the team from under center, although he is certainly not
an overly productive passer, averaging only 139.8 yards per game. However, he
has completed 56 percent of his attempts, and has six touchdowns compared to
only one interception. It doesn’t hurt that he can make plays on the ground as
well, posting 103 rushing yards and a touchdown.
Speaking of the running game, that is an area UTEP relies on heavily. The
Miners have rushed for 1,001 yards as a team, while managing only 559 yards
through the air. Aaron Jones (596 yards, seven TDs) has been an absolute beast
for the cause. He leads C-USA in rushing, and is tied for the top spot in
touchdowns. Nathan Jeffery (202 yards) provides an excellent second option
when Jones needs a breather.
As far as receiving threats go, Ian Hamilton (12 receptions, 175 yards, two
TDs) and Jarrad Shaw (10 receptions, 142 yards, TD) have been the most
productive. Hamilton really showed up against Kansas State with 112 yards and
two touchdowns on five receptions.
UTEP’s defense has not all that efffield last weekend, losing at then 20th-ranke
Cincinnati’s defense had trouble stopping the Buckeyes, who totaled 710 yards
of offense. However, the Bearcats offense had success, as wide receiver Chris
Moore had three receptions for 221 yards, with all three resulting in TDs.
Quarterback Gunner Kiel completed 21-of-32 passes for 352 yards with four
touchdowns and no interception.
Offensively, the Bearcats have had a lot of success this season, averaging 39
ppg and 458.7 ypg.
Moore has made the most of just six catches this season, totaling 256 yards
and five touchdowns. Kiel has also had a great deal of success, completing
65.7 percent of his passes for 1,041 yards with 14 touchdowns and just two
Defensively, the Bearcats have struggled, surrendering 36 ppg and 545.7 ypg.
The Ohio State contest has elevated those numbers, but the Cincinnati defense
is going to have to buckle down when it takes the field again this weekend.
Even though Memphis has won 18 of the 31 previous meetings in the series, it’s
been the Bearcats who have dominated this series as of late. Cincinnati has
won five of the last six matchups, including two in a row at home, where they
own an 8-6 mark in this series.
Memphis has had some success this season against sub-par competition. If the
Tigers are going to go on the road in a conference matchup and get a win, they
are going to have to do much better on the defensive side of the ball. Memphis
is capable of forcing turnovers and that will be key in this contest against a
team that hasn’t committed a lot of turnover this season.
The Bearcats are capable of putting up points and should have success on
Saturday. Cincinnati has lost its only game against real competition this
season. and will need the defense to make some stops to come away with the
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Cincinnati 35, Memphis 24