UTEP too much for Tech in El Paso

EL PASO, Texas — UTEP’s (6-1) defensive front pressure allowed the Miners to put together a dominant performance Saturday night to beat Louisiana Tech (2-4, 1-1 CUSA) by a final score of 19-3 in front of a near 30,000 home crowd in the Sun Bowl.

It’s the first conference loss of the season for the Bulldogs.

A fumble by the Miners on their own 4 yard-line in the fourth quarter helped give Tech its an opportunity for its first second-half score to help gets the Bulldogs back into the ball game. Penalties, unfortunately, backed Tech up and kept the offense not only out of the end zone, but ended up with an interception to the Miners by senior quarterback Austin Kendall.

The Bulldogs had another scoring opportunity robbed in the end zone with another Kendall interception in the last few minutes of the ball game.

“It was probably one of our worst offensive performances of all time,” Louisiana Tech head coach Skip Holtz said after the game. “We weren’t very good on third down. We struggled and turned the ball over three times. We could not get anything going consistently. As a staff, we did a poor job as a staff that did not get our guys prepared for tonight.”

A stifling UTEP defense kept thwarting any sort of offense by the Bulldogs in the first half. The Miner defensive front kept Tech’s offense off-kilter thanks to quick pressure on Kendall and the rest of the Bulldog backfield. Tech was held to only one field goal in the first half and trailed 16-3 going into the halftime locker room.

The only pair of touchdowns on the night came from freshman Deion Hankins for UTEP in the first quarter, which gave the Miners all of the cushion they would need for the night.

“Defensively, I thought our front seven played their tails off,” Holtz said. “It was a poor effort by our offense tonight and poor coaching on my part. We have to do a better job as an offensive coaching staff. It was a night where a lot of things did not go our way and we did not execute in a positive way.”

Neither offenses found the end zone in the second half. UTEP snapped an 8-game losing streak to the Bulldogs.

Kendall finished the night 14-28 passing for 164 yards and three interceptions. On defense, senior Trey Baldwin finished with 12 total tackles for the Bulldogs. Junior Jaiden Cole grabbed an interception for Tech, as well. 

The Bulldogs will finally return home after nearly a month to take on UTSA for homecoming. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.

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