Alpine, TX — Jameill Showers completed 9-of-15 passes for 150 yards and two touchdowns, and UTEP compiled 500 yards of offense (344 passing, 156 rushing) in its first scrimmage of the season on Saturday morning in Alpine, Texas.
Showers connected with freshman and El Paso native Aaron Jones on a 14-yard touchdown pass on the first series. The Miners would go on to score nine more TDs – eight of the offensive variety – with many coming in red zone situations.
“I thought the offense came out and went down the field,” UTEP coach Sean Kugler said. “Jameill did a great job leading that drive. And I thought the defense responded. The 1 defense stopped the 1 offense. From that point on it was kind of back and forth, which is what you look for. There was a lot of good competition and the kids played physical.”
Mack Leftwich (4-for-7, 28 yards), Blaire Sullivan (5-for-10, 79 yards) and Garrett Simpson (5-for-11, 87 yards) all took substantial reps at quarterback. Sullivan and Simpson each threw interceptions. One was returned 95 yards by linebacker A.J. Ropati for six points. Natanael Rodriguez had the other interception.
UTEP defenders registered a total of seven sacks on the day, including two by junior college transfer Maurice Chavis.
“I thought the defense did a great job down in the red zone today,” Kugler said. “Jameel Erving made some plays. Traun Roberson made some plays.
“I was happy with how the defense bounced back [after the first drive]. They are expected to do that. They are well coached by [defensive coordinator] Scott Stoker. He gets those guys flying around.”
Freshman defensive back Raleigh Johnson led the Miners with five tackles. Senior linebacker Horace Miller added four, and four players (Trey Brown, James Davidson, Nick Gathrite, Roberson) chipped in with three apiece.
Josh Bell was UTEP’s leading rusher with five carries for 66 yards and had the longest run of the scrimmage (45 yards). Autrey Golden ran for 45 yards on nine carries and LaQuintus Dowell rushed nine times for 21 yards.
Three Miners compiled 50 yards receiving, including tight ends Eric Tomlinson (three catches) and Craig Wenrick (two catches), and receiver Jim Jones (three catches).
“L.A. Dowell ran real physical, and so did Autrey Golden,” Kugler said. “Jameill was in control. He threw the ball well and made good decisions. He led us into the two-minute drive well.
“There were a lot of positives on both sides of the ball.”
Showers hooked up with Jordan Leslie for a 33-yard touchdown pass. Sullivan and Leftwich also threw for two scores. Sullivan found Hunter Nix (19 yards) and Wenrick (21 yards) in the end zone, while Leftwich threw TD passes to Katrae Ford (four yards) and Brandon Moss (five yards).
Sullivan, Simpson and Golden all had short scoring runs.
The Miners will conclude Alpine camp on Tuesday and return to El Paso, where they will begin final preparations for the season opener against New Mexico. UTEP will face the Lobos three weeks from tonight in the Sun Bowl.