POSTED: Saturday, August 13, 2011 - 3:28pm
UPDATED: Saturday, August 13, 2011 - 7:48pm
The defense dominated early, but the UTEP offense rallied to put six touchdowns on the board on the next-to-last day of Camp Socorro on Saturday morning at New Mexico Tech.
Vernon Frazier, Nathan Jeffery and Josh Bell all scored on short runs, while Carson Meger, Nick Lamaison and Tate Smith combined to complete 24-of-40 passes for 262 yards with a touchdown completion each.
“Our running backs broke into the secondary and ran well,” UTEP coach Mike Price said. “LaQuintus Dowell has strong legs and he’s hard to tackle down low, and Vernon Frazier is fast.”
Frazier rushed five times for a team-leading 108 yards, including a couple of long runs (49 and 57 yards). Dowell ran three times for 16 yards, but also had a 34-yard catch as part of a two-reception, 38-yard day.
UTEP’s four quarterbacks – Meger, Lamaison, Smith and Javia Hall – threw to 18 different wideouts, with a trio of newcomers -- Jordan Leslie (two catches for 36 yards), Cliff Tucker (2-24) and Mike Edwards (2-21) standing out in the receiving corps. The Miners showed good depth at the tight end position as well, with Kevin Perry (2-25), Nuno Furtado (1-21), Eric Tomlinson (2-17) and Katrae Ford (1-6) combining to make six receptions for 69 yards. Furtado had a 21-yard catch and Perry added a 20-yard grab.
Lamaison completed 12-of-20 passes for 112 yards, including a one-yard TD pass to Tucker. Smith finished 6-of-11 passing for 83 yards, including a six-yard TD to Leslie, and Meger was 6-of-9 for 67 yards with a 10-yard scoring toss to Monroe Ross. The fourth UTEP quarterback to see action, redshirt freshman Javia Hall, was 3-for-4 for 80 yards.
About the only negative for the Miners offensively was a series of mishaps with the center/quarterback exchange as first stringer Eloy Atkinson was sidelined due to injury.
“We have to get our number two centers to snap the ball effectively,” Price said. “Nothing starts without the quarterback/center exchange. That’s basic football.”
Price declined to discuss the quarterback depth chart, other than saying “Wait until Tuesday. All looked good at times. All had their little spots.”
LB DeAndre Little and DB C.J. Haley were UTEP’s defensive leaders with six and five tackles respectively. There were no interceptions and no sacks in the scrimmage.
“I was happy with our performance on both sides of the ball,” Price said. “The attitude was great. As soon as we get healthy, we’ll be OK.”
Following a Sunday morning practice in Socorro, the Miners will return to El Paso before beginning final preparations for the 2011 season opener at home versus Stony Brook on Sept. 3.
UTEP’s annual “Fan Appreciation Day,” featuring an autograph session with coach Price and the players, is set for next Saturday (Aug. 20) at 10 a.m. in the Sun Bowl.