September 23, 2014

Kansas State slowed down one of the nation's premier running attacks but couldn't get out of its own way to record one of the program's biggest victories in recent history.

The 25th-ranked Wildcats look to clean things up and stymie another vaunted rushing attack Saturday against Texas-El Paso.

Kansas State (2-1) lost 20-14 at home against then-No. 5 Auburn last Thursday despite limiting the Tigers to 128 rushing yards after they came in averaging 330.0.

The Wildcats' offense was also held in check, however, tallying just 40 rushing yards after totaling 472 in its previous two contests. Quarterback Jake Waters netted minus-seven rushing yards after running for 138 in a win over Iowa State.

He also threw two interceptions, including one in the Auburn end zone, as Kansas State committed three turnovers after having only one in the first two games.

Kicker Jack Cantele missed all three of his field-goal attempts after starting 4 for 5 on the season. The Wildcats converted 2 of 5 red-zone scoring opportunities after going 12 for 12 previously and finished with their lowest point total in their last 41 games dating back to 2011.

"It hurts a lot," said receiver Tyler Lockett, who was held to six catches for 45 yards - 91 fewer than he gained against Iowa State. "We left a lot out there on the field. One of the plays I remember, I dropped a touchdown that turned into an interception. Missed field goals, fumbled the ball. We just made a lot of mistakes today."

Kansas State figures to be a good bet to bounce back - it has won 20 of its last 21 at home against unranked opponents.

"I would like to think that we got good young people that care," coach Bill Snyder said. "I think that it will be painful for them. If all of those things are really in place then I think they will respond well."

The Wildcats' defense is in for another challenge against UTEP (2-1), which ranks ninth in the country with 317.0 rushing yards per game. The Miners were idle following a 42-24 win over New Mexico State on Sept. 13. Aaron Jones ran 25 times for 168 yards, and his 184.0 yard average is the second-highest in the FBS.

UTEP, which has already matched its win total from last season, ran for 344 yards against New Mexico State - its most versus a Division-I opponent since 1991

"We're just going to have to finish blocks," coach Sean Kugler said of establishing the running game against Kansas State.. "... It's going to be a challenge because you saw what they did to Auburn, who's one of the best rushing teams in the country. They shut those guys down. It's going to be an extreme challenge for us but I know our players will be excited about that challenge."

The Miners are one of only six FBS teams with just one giveaway and they've committed 12 penalties - tied for eighth-fewest.

"Those are two things we emphasize with our players everyday with ball security, getting the football, making sure we hang onto the football and the type of accountability we hold in our program carrying over to the discipline with penalties," Kugler said.

UTEP is 1-31 all time on the road against ranked opponents, only winning at No. 14 Arizona State in 1974. The Miners are 0-13 versus Big 12 schools since the conference formed in 1996.

These teams have split two meetings, with Kansas State winning the last matchup 40-7 at home in 1999.

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