El Paso, TX — UTEP (1-6, 0-4 C-USA) continues a three-game road swing, battling Texas A&M (6-2, 3-2 SEC) on Saturday at 7 p.m. MT (8 p.m. CT) at Kyle Field. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2. Texas A&M is rated 12th in this week’s Associated Press poll and 14th in the USA Today coaches poll. It marks the Miners’ third visit to College Station all-time and their first since 2000. UTEP is 1-30 all-time versus ranked opponents on the road with a 31-27 victory at no. 14 Arizona State on Nov. 2, 1974. The Miners have dropped 26 consecutive road games to ranked teams since then. Overall UTEP is 1-14 in its last 15 games versus ranked foes with a 58-41 upset of no. 12 Houston -- coached by Kevin Sumlin -- on Oct. 3, 2009 in the Sun Bowl. This is UTEP’s first game versus a ranked team since the 2012 season opener against no. 4 Oklahoma in the Sun Bowl, and its first game on the road versus a ranked squad since Sept. 24, 2011 at no. 18 USF.
This is the third meeting between the Miners and the Aggies. Texas A&M won both previous matchups in College Station in 1984 (20-17) and 2000 (45-17).
The Last Meeting
Texas A&M scored 31 unanswered second-half points to roll to a 45-17 win over UTEP on Sept. 16, 2000 in College Station. Ahead 17-14 at the break, UTEP became the first non-conference opponent to lead the Aggies at halftime at Kyle Field since 1992. The key to the lead came in the second quarter when the UTEP offense controlled the ball for 10:32, leading to 10 unanswered points. UTEP got on the board first using a 10-play, 58-yard drive culminated by Rocky Perez’s six-yard touchdown pass to Joey Knapp. Texas A&M answered five minutes later with Robert Ferguson’s six-yard touchdown reception from Mark Farris to tie the game, 7-7. The Miners then went three-and-out on their next possession and the Aggies capitalized. Texas A&M charged 61 yards on three plays, capped by Joe Weber’s 16-yard scoring run. UTEP answered with a nine-play, 80-yard drive, keyed by Brian Natkin’s 21-yard reception on third and 13 from the UTEP 15-yard line. Perez then connected with Lee Mays for a 35-yard scoring strike to tie the game, 14-14. On the ensuing possession, the UTEP defense stalled Texas A&M at the Miner 26-yard line, forcing the Aggies to attempt a field goal. Miner cornerback Crance Clemons blocked Terance Kitchens’ 43-yard field goal attempt to maintain the stalemate at 14-14. The Miners then put together a 16-play, 54-yard time-consuming drive that resulted in a Ricky Bishop 37-yard field goal with 15 seconds to play in the half. A&M outscored UTEP 31-0 in the second half, as Ja’Mar Toombs rushed for three touchdowns.
Five members of UTEP’s coaching staff were involved with the last Miner-Aggie game in 2000. Sean Kugler was offensive line coach at the time, Patrick Higgins was offensive coordinator, Brian Natkin was a senior tight end, Robert Rodriguez was a freshman running back (redshirted that year) and Nate Poss was Director of Football Operations.
UTEP QB Jameill Showers played for the Aggies for two seasons (2011-12), completing 31-of-49 passes for 359 yards and two touchdowns in 11 games. UTEP DL Adam Ayala, UTEP DL James Davidson and Texas A&M DL Kirby Ennis all graduated from Huntsville (Texas) High School. UTEP LB Trey Brown, UTEP OL Chris Thomas, UTEP WR Jaquan White and Texas A&M DL Daeshon Hall are all products of Lancaster (Texas) High School. UTEP DL Dewan Edmonson, Texas A&M DB Tavares Garner and Texas A&M WR Kyrion Parker all hail from Manvel (Texas) High School. UTEP TE Katrae Ford and Texas A&M DL Hardreck Walker both played their prep ball at Westfield High School in Houston. UTEP DB Dashone Smith, Texas A&M QB Conner McQueen and Texas A&M LB A.J. Hilliard all graduated from Klein Oak High School in Klein, Texas.
Texas A&M Special Teams Coordinator/Tight Ends Coach Jeff Banks was a member of Mike Price’s staff at UTEP from 2004-12, serving as running backs coach and special teams coordinator. Texas A&M’s Kevin Sumlin will be coaching against UTEP for the fifth time on Saturday after posting a 3-1 mark versus the Miners while at Houston (2008-11). Aggie Defensive Coordinator Mark Snyder was the head coach at Marshall from 2005-09, and went 1-2 against UTEP during that span.
About Texas A&M
The Aggies cruised to a 65-28 win over Vanderbilt last Saturday at Kyle Field, as reigning Heisman Trophy winner Johnny Manziel completed 29-of-42 passes for 426 yards. Mike Evans also had a big day for the Aggies, reeling in seven catches for 155 yards. Texas A&M scored 35 points in the third quarter. The Aggies have jumped on teams at the start of both halves in 2013. They have outscored opponents 115-55 in the first period and 111-55 in the third. Manziel has thrown for 2,594 yards and 22 touchdowns, and rushed for 497 yards and six scores this season. Evans averages 137.6 yards receiving per outing. The Aggies collect 48.0 points and 584.9 yards of offense per contest. Texas A&M rates third nationally in total offense, fourth in scoring offense and fifth in passing offense (377 ypg). Manziel completes 73 percent of his passes, third-best in the FBS, and also rates third nationally in total offense (386.4 ypg). Evans is second in the country in receiving. The Texas A&M defense has picked off 11 passes on the year, with Nate Askew, Deshazor Everett and Tommy Sanders accounting for two picks apiece.
UTEP vs. the SEC
The Miners are 1-7 against SEC opponents since the formation of the league for the 1932 season. The lone victory came in the 1967 Sun Bowl, when the Miners topped Mississippi 14-7. UTEP is 1-1 against Ole Miss, 0-2 versus Tennessee, 0-1 against Alabama, 0-1 versus Arkansas, 0-1 against Kentucky and 0-1 versus LSU. UTEP is 0-7 all-time in road games versus SEC competition. The Miners have been outscored by a combined 339-74 in the seven road games.
UTEP vs. the BCS
The Miners are 0-17 all-time in road games versus BCS conference teams (lost 35-3 at Texas Tech in 1998, lost 47-28 at Oregon in 1999, lost 40-7 at Kansas State in 1999, lost 34-21 at Arizona in 1999, lost 55-14 at Oklahoma in 2000, lost 45-17 at Texas A&M in 2000, lost 56-7 at Alabama in 2001, lost 77-17 at Kentucky in 2002, lost 68-0 at Oklahoma in 2002, lost 42-7 at Arizona in 2003, lost 41-9 at Arizona State in 2004, lost 45-31 at Texas Tech in 2007, lost 64-7 at Texas in 2009, lost 58-21 at Arkansas in 2010, lost 52-24 at USF in 2011, lost 28-10 at Ole Miss in 2012, lost 37-26 at Wisconsin in 2012).