COLLEGE STATION — For first-year UTEP head coach Sean Kugler, there were plenty of things that went wrong for the Miners in their 57-7 blowout loss to No. 12 Texas A&M on Saturday at Kyle Field.
But the most disappointment came earlier this week when it became official that UTEP quarterback and former Shoemaker standout Jameill Showers would not lead the Miners (1-7) against the Aggies (7-2).
“I’m pretty sure he was disappointed deep down, but he never showed it,” Kugler said. “I’m sure it was pretty emotional for him not to go out there and compete tonight, and to be honest with you, it hurts me knowing that kid didn’t get the opportunity because I felt bad for him.”
The loss was UTEP’s third all-time to Texas A&M.
The game was an anticipated one for Showers, who played in 11 games for Texas A&M before transferring to UTEP after Johnny Manziel solidified himself as the Aggie starter and became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy in 2012.
Showers missed his return to College Station due to an injured right shoulder he sustained in a loss to Rice on Sept. 26.
UTEP did not make Showers available to the media, but did provide a statement from the quarterback prior to the game.
“Even though I’m out for this game, I’m still going to be on the sideline doing everything I can to help my teammates,” Showers said.
Showers has completed 107 of 188 passes (56.9 percent) for 1,263 yards and 11 touchdowns this season while serving as UTEP’s second leading rusher with 286 yards and four touchdowns on 61 attempts.
Blaire Sullivan started in place of Showers and went completing 9 of 17 passes for 71 yards while being sacked twice and throwing three interceptions.
Although Sullivan had a tough task ahead of him facing a ranked team in front of 87,126 maroon-clad Aggie fans on the road, Showers used his familiarity with the A&M secondary to help Sullivan prepare for the game.
“He helped me out with that throughout the week and helped me prepare for it,” Sullivan said.
When looking for a new school to play for, Showers chose UTEP over Arizona State and Houston because he felt UTEP would allow him to concentrate on football more than the other schools.
While playing for Shoemaker, Showers was an all-state honorable mention as a junior in 2008, a preseason National Army All-American, Rivals Top 250 recruit, District 12-5A first-team member and earned a spot on Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Super Team.
Although it’s unknown if Showers will return for the Miners this season, he has made a comeback before after being sidelined by a long-term injury.
As a high school senior, he sustained a broken collarbone during a Shoemaker scrimmage and missed the rest of the season before making his way to College Station.
For Kugler, there is no doubt Showers will be back in Miner orange and blue in 2014.
“I have no concern that Jameill will come back stronger, better than ever,” Kugler said.
“He’s a quality kid. I know the people here at Texas A&M loved him and I can see why. He’s a great kid and I love having him in our program.”