New Mexico Non-Conference Preview: UTEP Miners

Jeff Hanisch-US PRESSWIRE

New Mexico goes on the road to take on UTEP in their second non-conference game.

The New Mexico Lobos head on the road to face a formal WAC rival at the Sun Bowl on Saturday Sept. 7 at 8 p.m. ET, and the game will be broadcast on Fox College Sports, good luck finding the game.

Coach: Sean Kugler (0-0, first year)

2012 Record: 3-9 (2-6 in Conference USA, fifth in C-USA West)

2012 Season in Review: UTEP had a poor 2012 season, one that resulted in them firing head coach Mike Price and also offensive coordinator Aaron Price. While the wins were not there, they did have some reasonable close games against Ole Miss, Wisconsin and Oklahoma. They also had four games where they lost by 11 points or less, so they were fairly competitive in most games.

Returning Offensive Starters: 7

Returning Defensive Starters: 4

Key Returning Starters: RB Nathan Jeffery, QB Blaire Sullivan, WR Jordan Leslie, RB-KR Autrey Golden, DL Horace Miller, DL Germard Reed, OL Brander Craighead, OL Jerell Watkins

2013 Strengths: UTEP welcomes in former Texas A&M quarterback Jameill Showers who is a three-star quarterback who transferred since he would be stuck behind Johnny Manziel. Showers will help bring an explosiveness to the offense as the Miners will be returning top rusher Nathan Jeffery and receiver Jordan Leslie in the fold.

The Miners also have a strong offensive and defensive lines to make some noise in the Conference USA West division this season.

2013: Weaknesses: Having a new head coach could take some time for the offensive unit to gel and get used to Sean Kugler's new system. The defensive took a hit in the secondary and that could cause them problems this season. Also, while UTEP has some size up front on the defensive line they did lose their top two tacklers. That does not bode well for a unit that gave up 200 yards per game on the ground and almost 30 points per game last season.

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