Turnovers doom Miners in 57-7 loss to Aggies
UTEP got off to a solid start and was leading No. 12 Texas
A&M early on Saturday night.
Turnovers on three straight possessions in the second quarter
helped the Aggies build a big lead and cruise to a 57-7 win.
”Second quarter the turnovers really killed us,” UTEP coach
Sean Kugler said. ”Really put our defense in a tough spot.”
Johnny Manziel threw four touchdown passes and ran for two more
scores in less than three quarters to lead A&M to the
The Aggies trailed by five points early before scoring 55
straight to roll to the victory against the overmatched Miners,
losers of six straight.
”I really felt the defense up to that point was really
competing well,” Kugler said of the second quarter. ”It’s tough
when you give an offense that good a short field, and we did it
more than once.”
Manziel threw touchdown passes of 44, 15, 17 and 26 yards and
had TD runs of 10 and 49 yards before putting on his baseball cap
with 7:39 left in the third quarter.
The Miners were done in by four turnovers, including two
interceptions by A&M’s Howard Matthews.
UTEP’s Blaire Sullivan was making his first start with Jameill
Showers, a transfer from A&M, out with a shoulder injury.
Sullivan threw for 71 yards with three interceptions.
”We have a lot to learn from this game and move on for the rest
of the season,” Sullivan said. ”There were just a lot of mental
mistakes on my part and I can do better.”
Despite Sullivan’s struggles, Kugler saw some positives from his
”He made a few plays with his legs and made a couple of nice
throws,” Kugler said. ”He’s just got to be more consistent and
sometimes his decision-making has got to be a little bit better
with his throws.”
The Aggies finished with 564 total yards for their eighth
straight game with at least 500 yards.
Manziel had with 273 yards passing and 67 yards rushing. Two of
his touchdown passes went to former walk-on Travis Labhart, who had
four receptions for 83 yards.
The Aggies were up 36-7 at halftime and picked up where they
left off in the third quarter. Manziel zig-zagged down the field
with a bevy of defenders trailing him on a 49-yard touchdown run to
push the lead to 43-7.
Manziel connected with Mike Evans for a 26-yard touchdown later
in the third to make it 50-7 and end his night. A 57-yard reception
by LaQuvionte Gonzalez the play before set up the score.
Texas A&M’s Floyd Raven blocked a punt on UTEP’s first
possession that rolled out of the back of the end zone for a safety
to make it 2-0. It was A&M’s first blocked punt for a safety
The Miners forced a three-and-out on A&M’s first drive to
end a streak of seven straight games with a touchdown on the first
possession for the Aggies. It was only the second time since coach
Kevin Sumlin took over for the 2012 season that the Aggies went
three plays and punted on the game’s first possession.
UTEP took a 7-2 lead when Aaron Jones ran 4 yards for a
touchdown on the ensuing drive.
Manziel and the Aggies got going after that, taking the lead on
a 44-yard touchdown reception by Labhart. Labhart was wide open on
the play and waltzed into the end zone untouched to make it
The Aggies had to punt on their next two possessions before Tra
Carson’s 1-yard touchdown run extended the lead to 15-7. Drew
Kaser’s run for a two-point conversion failed.
De’Vante Harris gave A&M the ball right back when he
intercepted Sullivan on the next play.
Manziel’s 50th career touchdown pass came when he found Malcome
Kennedy on a 15-yard score that left A&M up 22-7.
UTEP’s Leslie Jordan fumbled on the next possession and Darian
Claiborne recovered for the Aggies. Manziel dived headfirst into
the end zone at the end of a 10-yard run to give A&M a 29-7
UTEP’s turnover woes continued on the next drive when Sullivan
was intercepted by Matthews. The Aggies cashed in on the miscue two
plays later when Manziel found Labhart ridiculously open again on a
17-yard touchdown reception to leave them up 36-7 at halftime.
After Manziel went to the bench, freshman Kenny Hill took over
and led a drive that ended with a 14-yard touchdown run by Trey
Williams that made it 57-7.