Once the backup for Johnny Manziel at Texas A&M, UTEP QB Jameill Showers has reinvented himself to the Miner’s benefit.
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The Utah State Aggies face the UTEP Miners in the 2014 New Mexico Bowl.
The Aggies have been one of the most dominant defenses in college football – only giving up more than 30 points twice all season to Tennessee and Boise State. This season the defense has eight games where they have allowed 20 points or fewer – going 7-1 in those games – making them a force to be reckoned with in the Mountain West conference and even a thorn in the side of some ranked teams. In early October they pulled one of the upsets of the season by beating the previously undefeated #18 BYU Cougars in a 35-20 win. The key to beating Utah State will be getting the big plays early and keeping the defense on their toes.
The Miners struggled early in the season, with a 2-3 record that included being outscored 31-113 by Kansas State and Louisiana Tech, but managed to just make it into the Bowl games with a 2-1 record in the final two weeks, culminating in an upset win over Middle Tennessee State to give them a final four ranking in Conference USA. The stellar running of RB Aaron Jones – 1,233 yards and 11 rushing TDs – has been the key to the offense, but QB Jameill Showers is no slouch either. The former Texas A&M Aggies backup has been a two-year starter at UTEP and plays very efficiently with only 5 INTs and 10 sacks on the season. The key to beating UTEP, however, will be to keep the ball out of Aaron Jones’ hands and keep passes contained in the middle of the field.
Prediction: Utah State wins the New Mexico Bowl – This Aggies defense cannot be overstated. They’ve demonstrated the ability to pull the upset and the offense only needs to do just enough for the defense to keep UTEP in 3rd-and-long situations all day. This could actually turn into a blowout if they manage to force turnovers early.