- Associated Press - Saturday, December 20, 2014

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Aaron Jones and UTEP got ground down in the New Mexico Bowl.

Jones, one of the nation’s top runners, was limited to 88 hard yards Saturday and the Miners never developed any offensive cohesion in a 21-6 loss to Utah State.

“We shot ourselves in the foot because we didn’t execute this game at all in the run game,” UTEP quarterback Jameill Showers said. “They had too much penetration up front. That was pretty much the tale of the game.”

Jones was held to 3.5 yards per carry. He came into the game ranked 23rd in the country, rushing for an average of 112 yards a game.

It was an uncharacteristic performance offensively for the Miners, coach Sean Kugler said.

“Penalties, negative plays, drops, those types of things that put you behind the chains, that’s what we’ve been relying on doing well all year and we didn’t do a great job of it today,” UTEP coach Sean Kugler said.

UTEP (7-6) is 0-6 in postseason play since winning the 1967 Sun Bowl. The Miners, coming off their first winning season since 2005, are 5-9 in bowl play.

A pair of errors late in the first half typified UTEP’s struggles.

The Miners faced a second-and-1 at the Utah State 5, but a holding call pushed them back. On fourth down, holder Mike Ruggles dropped the snap on a 25-yard field goal try.

“Then we laid one on the turf and . it should have been 7-6 going into half and it wasn’t,” Kugler said. “We were our own undoing down there in the red zone and we have to do better than that.”

Jameill Showers passed for 126 yards for UTEP, completing 13 of 24. Too often, he said, the Miners couldn’t finish off drives against the Aggies (10-4).

“We got too relaxed in the red zone,” he said.

The offense simply didn’t gel, he said.

“When you don’t have a run game, it’s hard to pass on the team,” Showers said. “Even on the pass game, they were bringing pressure, we didn’t pick it up.”

“Some of that was on me for not getting the ball out on time. I missed a couple reads as far as pulling the ball when I should have, getting the ball out of my hands quicker. We didn’t play well on offense,” he said.

Aggies quarterback Kent Myers broke loose for a 48-yard run at the end of the first quarter and UTEP never really got back in the game.

That was the exact type of play the Miners tried to prevent, middle linebacker Jimmy Musgrave said.

“We knew coming into this game that Utah State, they make big plays,” he said.

“I felt we were playing good the whole game, solid. We allowed a few of those big plays to happen. That’s kind of what kept them alive. That was our goal coming in. We were doing good. Just little mistakes here and there,” he said.

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