Photo credit: Grant Baldwin Photography
The Miners (2-3) are making the trek from El Paso to Charlotte, where both programs are looking to collect their first conference win of the season after dropping Week Zero conference games. Charlotte (1-4) lost their matchup at FAU, and UTEP dropped a home game to North Texas (31-13). Each team concluded their non-conference portion of the schedule last week before hitting the C-USA stretch, but the programs will come in with different energies. Charlotte’s defense has allowed 40 plus points in each of the last 8 games, and UTEP just dominated Boise State.
An opportunity for the defense to get on track?
UTEP averages 3.2 yards per carry on the season, while Charlotte has surrendered 5.7 yards per carry to FBS competition. To go a level further, UTEP’s putting up a total of 340 yards per game on offense. Greg Brown’s defensive unit has given up 562 yards per game, 2nd to last in FBS.
If there was an opportunity to get the defense on schedule, it’s this week.
Is Reynolds a go?
Chris Reynolds is undoubtedly tough as nails, but his body is fragile. He left the game this past Saturday with what looked like a lower body injury. If he does wind up playing versus UTEP, how healthy is he and can he last the entire game? You also have to determine what level of an injured Reynolds is better than Xavier Williams and James Foster. Our offense is at its best this season getting the ball to our Wide Receivers, Reynolds is completing passes at nearly 68% rate, Williams is at 53% and Foster at 46%.
While it’s clear Reynolds isn’t going to run at this point, his ability to deliver the ball to playmakers consistently is what this team needs, even if he’s 75%, I’d feel more confident in our ability to move the ball with his leadership as we try to outpace opposing offenses.
UTEP has never won in Eastern Time Zone
Per an article from 2021 prior to a loss at FAU, UTEP was 0-25-1 these game. I don’t believe they’ve played a game in the ET since, so they are now 0-26-1 prior to this trip to CLT. Charlotte is 2-0 all-time versus UTEP, both wins during Healy’s time here at Charlotte.
Let’s hope this is not a historic performance by the Miners.
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Red is not good, and there’s a TON of it in this one. Charlotte has the better offense, UTEP has the stronger offense. This one could come down to turnovers and special teams execution.
Charlotte’s staff has pitched this as a new season, we’ll see if they can turn the tide and make a push for the programs second bowl bid, which would need to have a similar late-season surge like the 2019 team had.
The weather is shaping up to be great football, we hope you’re able to join us at JRS. If not, catch this on on ESPN3 here or listen live on ESPN 730AM.