El Pasoan Heads Up Rushing Attack
Aaron Jones has accounted for 45.3 percent (557-of-1,229) of the Miners’ rushing yardage in 2013. He ranks 37th nationally, averaging 92.8 yards per game, and second in the country among freshmen (Arkansas’ Alex Collins averages 99.6 ypg). Jones has two 100-yard rushing games, most by a UTEP freshman since John Harvey -- the school’s all-time leading rusher -- compiled four in 1985. Jones is on pace to run for 1,114 yards this year, which would be a Miner freshman record and the 10th-top seasonal total in the UTEP record book.
Jones Handles the Workload Just Fine
Aaron Jones has a team-leading 99 carries this year, and was on pace for a season-high 28 rushing attempts the last time out versus Tulsa before leaving the game early in the third quarter. Despite playing just a little over a half versus the Golden Hurricane, he still has put up the majority of his production after halftime in 2013. He has compiled 373 of his 557 yards (67 percent) in the second half and overtime. He also averages 4.1 yards per carry (45 carries total) in the first half and 6.9 yards per carry (54 carries total) after halftime. Jones has averaged 7.3 yards per carry in the third quarter and 6.7 in the fourth quarter this season.
Showers Has Been Solid All-Around
With half a season in the books, Jameill Showers is on pace to pass for 2,518 yards and rush for 382 in 2013. Showers would be the eighth UTEP player to throw for 2,500 yards in a season, joining Trevor Vittatoe (four times), Jordan Palmer (three times), Sammy Garza (once), Howard Gasser (once), Pat Hegarty (once), Rocky Perez (once) and Billy Stevens (once). None of the aforementioned players rushed for as many as 100 yards in the year that they passed for 2,500 (Vittatoe came the closest to doing so with 98 yards rushing in 2010). If Showers ends the year with 382 yards rushing, it would be the most by a UTEP quarterback since Shawn Gray compiled 478 in 1994.
Showers the Passer
Jameill Showers’ 129.76 passing efficiency rating this season would rank just outside of the all-time UTEP top 10 (Trevor Vittatoe ranks 10th currently with a 130.07 rating in 2009). Showers’ TD/interception ratio of 2.75 (11-4), if it holds up over the remaining six games, would rank fourth-best by a UTEP quarterback with a minimum of 100 pass attempts. Rocky Perez had a 4.33 ratio (26/6) in 2000. Trevor Vittatoe had a 3.67 ratio (33/9) in 2008 and a 3.57 ratio (25/7) in 2007.
Showers the Rusher
Jameill Showers is UTEP’s second-leading rusher with 191 yards. He has four rushing TDs this season, most by a UTEP quarterback since Orlando Cruz had five in 2003. The last Miner signal-caller with more than five rushing scores in a season was Rocky Perez in 2000 (six). Showers ran for a career-high 74 yards versus Tulsa on Oct. 12. His 20-yard run in the second quarter tied a career long. He also had a 20-yard run against South Carolina State while at Texas A&M on Sept. 22, 2012.
A Responsible Guy
Jameill Showers is tied for 28th nationally in points responsible for (92), having thrown for 11 touchdowns and a two-point conversion and rushing for four TDs this season. He ranks second in the statistical category among Conference USA players behind East Carolina’s Shane Carden (126 points). At his current pace, Showers would be responsible for 30 touchdowns this season, making him one of just three UTEP quarterbacks to reach that number. Trevor Vittatoe was responsible for 34 touchdowns in 2008, Rocky Perez was responsible for 32 in 2000, and Jordan Palmer was responsible for 31 in 2005.
Jameill Showers has already completed a couple of 70-yard passes this season, both to Jordan Leslie (75 yards at Colorado State and 71 yards versus Tulsa). He is the sixth Miner signal-caller to achieve the feat, joining Trevor Vittatoe in 2009 (five), Jordan Palmer in 2006 (four), Vittatoe in 2007 (three), Orlando Cruz in 2003 (two), Brooks Dawson in 1967 (two), Palmer in 2004 (two), Billy Stevens in 1965 (two) and Vittatoe in 2008 (two).
And on the Other End ...
Jordan Leslie is one of eight players in school history with two 70-yard catches. The others are Johnnie Lee Higgins (four), Kris Adams (three), Donald Buckram (three), Jeff Moturi (three), Bubba Garcia (two), Howard Jackson (two) and Lee Mays (two). Leslie had a 75-yard reception at Colorado State on Sept. 28 and a 71-yard catch versus Tulsa on Oct. 12.
Leslie Now Eighth in 100-Yard Games
Jordan Leslie has eight career 100-yard receiving games, tied for the eighth-most in school history with Bob Wallace (1965-67). Ed Puishes (1969-71), Lee Mays (1998-01), Jeff Moturi (2006-09) and Kris Adams (2007-10) are in a four-way tie for fourth place with ten 100-yard games. Leslie has gone over the century mark in four of the last five games, averaging 94.6 yards during that span. He is the first UTEP player to post three 100-yard receiving games in a row since Kris Adams did so in the final three games of the 2008 season. If he can extend the streak at Rice, he will be the first Miner with four consecutive 100-yard games since Chuck Hughes compiled a school-record eight in a row over the course of the 1964 and 1965 seasons.
Leslie Knocking on Receiving List’s Door
Jordan Leslie has 1,888 career receiving yards and needs just 46 more to tie Brian Natkin (1,934 yards) for 10th place in school history. Natkin is currently the Miners’ tight ends coach. Leslie’s 17.64 yards per reception (1,888 yards/107 catches) would rank fifth in the UTEP record book. He has 13 touchdown receptions, putting him one away from tying David Karns (1966-68) and Cedric Johnson (1993-96) for ninth place in school annals. With 485 yards in 2013, Leslie has a chance at becoming only the seventh Miner to hit 1,000 for a season.
Leslie on Pace For Double-Digit TDs
Jordan Leslie has five touchdown catches this season and could become just the ninth UTEP player to reach double figures in a season. The others are Kris Adams (twice), Johnnie Lee Higgins Jr. (twice), Reggie Barrett, Chuck Hughes, David Karns, Lee Mays, Jeff Moturi and Volley Murphy. Leslie is tied for 31st nationally and tied for second in Conference USA with five touchdown receptions. Tulane’s Ryan Grant is the league leader with six and Marshall’s Gator Hoskins also has five.
Leslie Feels at Home on the Road
Jordan Leslie has put up 103 and 130 receiving yards respectively in UTEP’s two road games this season at NM State and Colorado State. In his last five road games dating back to the 2012 season, he has compiled 587 yards (117.4 avg.), including a 218-yard effort at Tulsa on Oct. 11 of last year. He has had at least 95 yards in four of his last five road games.
Golden Moving Up on Kickoff Returns Chart