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Dimel Doubles Down on Decision to go for it on Third and Fourth Down

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- In their season opener the UTEP Miners suffered a 17-14 loss to Jacksonville State.

Dana Dimel said Monday they know they should have won that game and many Miner fans think they didn't because of Dimel.

24-yards out from the end zone, with less than 1.30 left in the game and two plays to grab 1-yard for a first down, Dimel decided to throw it on both third and one and fourth and one.

"I was playing to win, I wasn't playing to tie, I wanted to go win that game and that's aggressiveness," Dimel said. "If I was playing for the tie I would have run the ball. I've thought it over but I wouldn't do it any other way if I had the chance." 

The players also backing Dimel's choice to go the air.

"At the end of the day the play calls were right we just didn't execute so it's on us," quarterback Gavin Hardison said.

"I trust my coach, I trust coach dimel, I feel like he's a great coach," running back Deion Hankins said.

When you take a look back at the video, the winning touchdown was there on both downs, but the Miners couldn't pull it off.

"When it works you win the game and when it doesn't you lose," Dimel said.

Whether you agree or disagree with the calls, those finals two plays highlight a large blemish in this team - an inability to convert.

The Miners out-gained the Gamecocks 364 to 275 in total yards and had the ball for an extra nine minutes. But in their 11 drives on Saturday, just two of them translated to points. 

In large part because they couldn't finish drives - The miners converted on just 3 of 12 3rd downs and 1 of 3 fourth downs. 

"That's the learning we've gotta do," Dimel said. "We've got to get precise in certain situations on the field at a higher level to win the close games." 

It's also important to note that Dimel said he didn't want to put their freshman kicker in Buzz Flabiano in a position where he had to kick a field goal to tie the game and thought it was best to lean on his seniors and most-skilled players to get it done.

Dimel said on Monday they've been putting a real emphasis on finishing drives this week ahead of their clash with Incarnate Word on Saturday at 7 p.m. at the Sun Bowl.

Article Topic Follows: UTEP

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Rachel Phillips

Rachel Phillips is the weekend sports anchor and reporter


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