Sports Notebook

Wednesday, October 10, 2001


UTEP limps into town
for another road game

By Dave Reardon

A whipping from Alabama's Crimson Tide produced a wave of green for Texas-El Paso.

The Miners absorbed a 56-7 drubbing in Birmingham last Saturday, but limped away with a check for around $450,000.

"I think where the program is right now, we still have to play big-time teams," UTEP coach Gary Nord said. "But I believe in two years, when we come down here to Alabama again, we'll match up a lot better."

The Miners continue their schedule of tough road trips (they've also lost at New Mexico and Boise State) by coming to Hawaii for a game Saturday.

The last time UTEP won here was in 1991, when Miner defensive coordinator Bob Wagner was the UH head coach -- since then, Hawaii has won three meetings at Aloha Stadium.

Conversely, UH has also lost three consecutive games at UTEP, including 39-7 last season.

No distractions: The Miners arrive tomorrow, practice at Aloha Stadium and then head to the North Shore. Like Rice did two weeks ago, UTEP will stay at the Turtle Bay Hilton.

"We want to go up to the north side and get away from Waikiki," Nord said. "I think it was a distraction for us last time."

Warrior hurts: Mike Iosua's chronic left shoulder problems arose again in the SMU game, but the senior defensive tackle will likely play against UTEP.

Freshman running back Mike Bass' sprained ankle also appeared to be nearly healed yesterday, and he is expected to start.

Sophomore cornerback Hyrum Peters has a hamstring injury, but will probably play.

Miner hurts: Nord said he took senior receiver Lee Mays out of the Alabama game early so he wouldn't aggravate an ankle sprain.

"Lee Mays wouldn't have made a difference in the outcome of this game," Nord said. "We got him out because the game was out of reach. It hasn't swollen up much."

Running back Chris Porter is out with a dislocated elbow.

Second-string tight end Jonas Crafts broke a bone in his right foot against Alabama and the highly regarded redshirt freshman may be lost for the season.

Also, junior linebacker Camar Jackson left early in the Alabama game with chest pains, but is still listed as a starter on the Miners two-deep chart.

Getting cornered: For the second week in a row, Hawaii will be going up against capable cornerbacks.

Last week, it was Southern Methodist's Kevin Garrett and Jonas Rutledge, who each intercepted a Nick Rolovich pass.

On Saturday, UTEP's Crance Clemons and Weldon Cooks test their skill against the Warriors' run-and-shoot. Clemons has started the last 30 games for the Miners and was consensus All-WAC first team as a junior last season. Cooks, a junior this season, was chosen first-team All-WAC by The Sporting News in 2000.

Junior free safety D.J. Walker has 10 interceptions in 27 games.

Short yardage: Volume Services, which has the Aloha Stadium food contract, has donated 20,000 ponchos to be distributed at Saturday's game. ... Roberts Hawaii School Bus is offering shuttle services from three Oahu areas to and from Aloha Stadium on game day for $5. Call 832-4886 for information. ... The father of UTEP freshman linebacker Tevita Fifita is WWF wrestling star "Haku" (Tonga Fifita). ... Miner quarterback Wesley Phillips is the son of former Buffalo Bills coach Wade Phillips and the grandson of former UTEP, Houston Oilers and New Orleans Saints coach Bum Phillips.

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