Jamar Smith picks off his 1st pass as he wins his 1st game as a UTEP Miner

It had been 699 days since former Toombs County Bulldog Jamar Smith had experienced the thrill of victory on a football field. On December 4, 2016 his Holmes Community College Bulldogs rallied from a 21-14 halftime deficit to defeat Iowa Western Community College 28-21 in the Graphic Edge Bowl played in the Uni-Dome in Cedar Falls, Iowa. That game ended his two seasons of junior college ball. Next was the opportunity to play Division 1 ball for the UTEP Miners.

In his first season, in El Paso, Jamar played for two head coaches and endured an 0-12 season. He had 22 solo tackles and 12 assists for a total of 34 tackles playing mostly as a reserve. Smith started off the 2018 season coming off the bench and the losing continued- 30-10 to FCS Northern Arizona and 52-24 at UNLV.

New head coach Dana Dimel made a change at middle linebacker starting Jamar in game three at the University of Tennessee. UTEP dropped that game 24-0, but then after that the scores got closer even though they were losses- 27-20 at home to New Mexico State, a 30-21 at UTSA, 27-24 on Homecoming to North Texas, 31-24 at Louisiana Tech and 19-0 at home to UAB.

At 0-8 in 2018 the Miners possessed the longest active losing streak in FBS football at 20. However, a game at 1-8 Rice seemed like a real legitimate shot at ending the misery. And it was. UTEP raced to a 27-3 at half and 34-3 nearly have way through the third quarter. Although the Owls did real off 23 straight points, the Miners held on to a 34-26 win ending the streak on November 3, 2018.

Listen to highlights

 

Jamar Smith celebrates his interception on the sideline

Jamar played a key role in the fourth quarter. With the Miners leading 34-16 Rice intercepted a pass with 10:37 to play in the game. On the next play Smith dove to the turf and picked off an Owl pass- his first as a Miner. He also broke up and nearly intercepted another pass in the final minutes of the game. Smith finished the game with four total tackles- a solo and three assists.

Jamar Smith (29) makes a tackle for a 1-yard loss in the 1st quarter
Jamar Smith tackles an Owl for no gain in the 3rd quarter
Jamar Smith celebrates his 3rd quarter tackle
Jamar Smith comes in untouched for a TFL for -5-yards in the 4th quarter
Jamar Smith dives for a near 4th quarter pick
Jamar Smith after nearly intercepting his 2nd pass of the game

https://twitter.com/i/status/1060247018277355521

First Quarter

3rd and 3 at RICE17 ESUKPA, E. rush for 1 yard to the RICE18 (SMITH, Jamar)

Third Quarter

1st and 10 at RICE46 ESUKPA, E. rush for no gain to the RICE46 (CHUKWUKELU, D.; SMITH, Jamar)

3rd and 3 at RICE32 WALTER, Aston rush for 5 yards to the RICE37, 1ST DOWN RICE (TUPOU, Sione; SMITH, Jamar)

Fourth Quarter

1st and 10 at RICE25 WALTER, Aston rush for loss of 5 yards to the RICE20 (TUPOU, Sione; SMITH, Jamar)

2nd and 22 at RICE08 GREEN, Wiley pass incomplete to WALTER, Austin (SMITH, Jamar)