UTEP quick-stepped, dipped, dodged and darted to the endzone all night on Colorado State, eventually out-scoring the Rams 31-17 in El Paso, Texas Saturday night.
The Miners (4-3) ran the ball relentlessly for a total of 340 yards, more than the Rams (3-4)entire offensive attack could muster all day (255) and UTEP was the team to get out to the hot start, even though CSU knew it needed to do just that.
UTEP’s Vernon Frazier paced the rushing attack attack, eclipsing the century mark for the first time in his career tonight, running for a total of 167 yards and two touchdowns. Frazier was on fire, dashing for 24 yards per carry including an extraordinarily explosive 83-yard scamper down the sideline, blowing past every would-be CSU tackler. His other touchdown was nearly as amazing; Frazier bolted down the field furiously for a 48-yard bolt, leaving defenders in the dust.
Frazier’s first was the 48-yarder, it put the Miners up 14-0 with 55 seconds left in the first quarter.
The young and injury-ridden Rams faced yet another uphill climb, and they fought stalwartly early.
After Frazier made it 14-0, Derek Good set CSU up with fantastic field position, all the way to UTEP’s 45. On the drive, Pete Thomas stepped up in the pocket and hit Jake Levin for a 25-yard gain up the middle of the field. Eventually the Rams made it to first and goal on the four yard line, and despite having seven chances at a touchdown, they could only kick a field goal.
The drive was a microcosm of the Rams’ offense all year—so much potential, yet not nearly enough results.
Then something special happened.
Cornerback Momo Thomas read the Miners’ bubble screen attempt to perfection and picked off the pass, streaking to pay dirt and closing the gap to four points, 14-10.
But Colorado State couldn’t capitalize on the momentum gained by Momo’s phenomenal play and the Miners widened their lead to seven again just before the half.
The third quarter was marked with sloppy play by CSU. The Rams offense only gained 36 yards the entire quarter, punting it three times, while the defense allowed Frazier’s 83-yard TD and let the Miners march down another time for 59 yards that resulted in a missed field goal.
Heading into the fourth quarter, Colorado State found themselves down 24-10, with little hope of coming back.
Those hopes were squashed when Pete Thomas fumbled the ball away and UTEP quarterback Nick Lamaison took the ball 33 yards to the house to put the Miners up 21 points with 11 minutes remaining. Not only did UTEP’s quarterback score, he make some defenders look silly while going into the endzone untouched.
CSU did answer, but it was too little, too late.
Freshman Lee Clubb returned the ball to the UTEP 34, and on a 3rd and 11 play, Chris Nwoke took the ball on a draw up the middle and across the goal line on a perfectly blocked run. It brought the game to 31-17 and was the last Rams score, last score of the game.
Next up for CSU is another road game, this time in Las Vegas, Nevada against UNLV. The Rams look to break their three-game losing streak next Saturday at 4:00 p.m. MT.
Rich Kurtzman is a freelance journalist actively seeking a career in journalism. Along with being your CSU Rams Examiner, Kurtzman writes for Blake Street Bulletin, Stadium Journey, Bleacher Report, and Swoosh Nation.
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