FIU Officially Eliminated From Bowl Contention After Loss to UTEP


Photo by Gaby A. Velasquez

El Paso, TX – A 40-6 defeat to UTEP gives FIU its seventh loss of the season and marks the end of their bowl game hopes. Just when you thought this would be a bounce-back game for FIU, knowing what was on the line, it just seemed as if they played even worse. The story of the FIU offense was three and out. No receiver had 3 receptions. No running back reached 20 yards rushing and Grayson James was 6/16 with one interception and was sacked twice. This game also showed that a long season is getting to FIU. The offensive line is banged up and is playing with extremely young and inexperienced players. The only touchdown came from the FIU Defense on a fumble recovery taken in for a touchdown.

From the start of the game, UTEP did not miss a beat with backup quarterback Calvin Brownholts as the starter today. As mentioned in the preview article, I expected the Miners to rely more on the run game and they did exactly that. Senior, Rey Flores rushed for 128 yards, Ronald Awatt rushed for 87 yards and Brownholts got in on the action too and rushed for 36 yards. You would have expected Deion Hankins, the team’s main back to be the main producer but it wasn’t needed with how dominant the rest of the running back core was performing. Brownholts also saw the passing game working in his favor with a total of 190 passing yards. Touchdowns from the air came from Kelly Akharaiyi and Tyrin Smith.

The Rey Flores Game

Saturday’s game marked the final time that the UTEP Football seniors would play in front of their home crowd. It is fair to say that they came in and showed out. The senior that caught the most attention was running back Rey Flores who rushed for 128 yards and scored two touchdowns. Before this past game against FIU, Flores had seen little to no action throughout the season and only had two combined touchdowns.

There is a first for everyone

With the big-time win against FIU, UTEP’s wide receiver Kelly Akharaiyi caught his first collegiate touchdown to go along with his three receptions for 99 yards. This is Akharaiyi’s best game of the season and it came in at the right time when UTEP needed a win the most.

FIU’s Alex Nobles also had his first collegiate touchdown in this game. In fact, it was the only touchdown that FIU scored in the game. It was an 84-yard fumble recovery, but the field goal was unfortunately missed.

What’s next?

With the loss to UTEP, FIU falls to 4-7 on the season and is no longer in bowl contention They go back to the “cage” to face Middle Tennessee on Saturday, November 26th at 6 pm. Middle Tennessee is 6-5 on the season. Some of their wins were against the University of Miami, UTEP, and FAU. Although FIU isn’t playing for anything, it will be the last time that the seniors will play in front of the FIU home crowd.  I will be back in action to cover the final game of the season, so stay tuned for coverage of coach Mike MacIntyre’s weekly press conference and then the game itself.

Photo by Gaby A. Velasquez

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