The UTEP Miners couldn’t hold on to an early lead as the UAB Blazers scored 25 unanswered points to upend the Miners 28-7.
With the loss, the Miners are now winless (0-12) on the season, thus ending in a program-worst.
Quarterback A.J. Erdely, who threw two impressive touchdowns and rushed for a nice touchdown led UAB’s offensive game on Saturday afternoon in Birmingham, Ala.
“I think we played probably a better football team than us today. It seemed like they had, in key spots, [UAB’s] athletes were very good. In the secondary, we had trouble getting away from them and they covered us tightly and didn’t have a lot of guys running wide open,” said interim head coach Mike Price. “They had four sacks against our quarterback. But we did have two against them.”
The Blazers started the game with a 43 yard drive resulting in a 40-yard field goal by kicker Nick Vogel.
On the following possession, the Miners actually took the lead after they took a 75-yard, eight play scoring drive for a touchdown. On the drive, starting quarterback Zack Greenlee, who started the game despite getting injured last week, found tight end Josh Weeks down the middle for a 41-yard catch. Just two plays later Greenlee found Weeks for a two-yard touchdown pass.
After another UAB field goal, making it 7-6 in UTEP’s favor, Greenlee threw a costly interception to safety Broderick Thomas of the Blazers, who returned it to the UTEP 30-yard line. On the fourth play, Erdely found Collin Lisa on a 30-yard pass and catch, and they made the two-point conversion, making it 14-7 UAB.
“I was pleased with the first half, particularly the first quarter we came out ready to play and drove down there and scored,” Price said. “It was a great play selection by Brian Natkin on that fourth-and-1, where we fake a fumble—the quarterback fakes fumbling the football and then gets up, stands up and finds a wide open receiver and almost over threw it.”
The defense held their weight until the middle of the third quarter when UAB scored on a 11 play, 79-yard drive that finished with an Erdely 10-yard touchdown run.
To cap the third quarter, Erdely threw his final touchdown of the game, making it 28-7 in UAB’s favor.
UAB outgained the Miners 334 yards to 208 yards. Also in the game, starting running back Joshua Fields was injured, which brought in Kevin Dove to finish the game at tailback. He struggled and only picked up 36 yards.
Greenlee finished the game just 8-of-18 for 107 yards and two interceptions.
Senior linebacker Alvin Jones recorded seen tackles and finished the 2017 season with a career-high and team leading 102 tackles. His 15 sacks are tied for fourth on the program’s all-time list.
As the season ends, the Miners will now focus their attention on hiring a new football coach.
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