POSTED: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 4:43pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, August 14, 2012 - 5:39pm
– After eight days of a defense-dominated Socorro, UTEP’s offense took over in the Miners’ first scrimmage of training camp Tuesday.
UTEP’s offense scored eight touchdowns and turned the ball over just once, an interception by freshman Dashone Smith, while showing off its aerial attack and ground game.
“Our offense did very well today,” head coach Mike Price said. “I thought our first string-defense played well. We finally have some depth on the team where we are playing fourth-unit players. We are really going to have a good young offensive team.”
Senior QB Nick Lamaison connected on 12-of-13 attempts for 160 yards, including a 47-yard TD pass to sophomore WR Jordan Leslie. The two hooked up again on 3rd and goal for a five-yard score. Leslie ended the day with four receptions for 118 yards.
“We did real well offensively,” Lamaison said. “The [offensive] line did a great job, and the receivers did real well. Everybody was together today, and we executed real well. There are still mistakes that we need to go back and correct, but it was a good first scrimmage.”
UTEP’s only other touchdown reception came at the hands of sophomore TE Craig Wenrick, who snared a 41-yard pass from freshman QB Garrett Simpson. Simpson gave the Miners a glimpse of the future, completing 9-of-15 passes for 125 yards and the touchdown.
“Our young players, particularly on offense, are very good,” Price said. “Our quarterback, Simpson, played extremely well. The thing about this team is our starters can’t get hurt and expect for their job to be waiting. They could be sitting on the sidelines to the credit of our depth.”
The offense got stellar play from its running corps, which reached paydirt a combined five times. Sophomore Nathan Jeffery led with eight carries for 68 yards and a touchdown. Freshman Xay Williams rushed eight times for 62 yards and two TDs and Autrey Golden also highlighted the running game with nine carries for 36 yards and a touchdown.
The defense looked as if it would control the scrimmage, forcing three and outs in the offense’s first two series. With Simpson as the signal caller, a five-play drive culminated with a William’s touchdown run to ignite the UTEP offense.
The Miners scored on their next two possessions before the defense finally forced a turnover, an eight-yard interception return from Smith.
UTEP will host Fan Appreciation Day on Saturday beginning with an autograph signing at 11 a.m. in the Sun Bowl. UTEP will hold its second scrimmage of fall workouts on Saturday at 8:30 p.m. in the Sun Bowl.