POSTED: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 3:24pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, March 16, 2010 - 6:52pm
El Paso - The UTEP football team has announced its 2010 schedule, with two long-time rivals and a quartet of teams that played in bowl games a year ago highlighting the slate.
“I think it is a great schedule,” UTEP head coach Mike Price said. “We have some great home games for us and our fans. I like the balance of the schedule in terms of not having a bunch of home or road games in a row. We always want to pick a high profile school to play in non-conference play, and we will do that this year by going to Arkansas.”
The Miners will continue the longest running series in program history when they play host to New Mexico State (Sept. 18) in addition to traveling to New Mexico (Oct. 2) for the 76th meeting all time between the programs.
Three of the four match-ups against squads which went to bowl games last year will be on the road. The Conference USA opener will pit UTEP against Houston (Sept. 10) while the Miners travel to the Eastern Time Zone to face Marshall (Oct. 30). In addition the Orange and Blue will venture to Southeastern Conference country to battle Arkansas (Nov. 13). The lone 2009 bowl participant to take on UTEP in El Paso will be SMU (Nov. 6), which will serve as the “Senior Night” opponent.
The 2009 C-USA West Division champion Cougars are coming off a 10-4 year, which culminated by qualifying for their fifth straight bowl game. After falling to UTEP in the regular-season finale (52-21), the Thundering Herd (7-6) recovered to knock off Ohio, 21-17, in the Little Ceasar’s Bowl.
The Razorbacks capped a eight-win campaign by toppling C-USA champion East Carolina, 20-17 in overtime, in the Autozone Liberty Bowl. The Mustangs (8-5) made their first postseason appearance in 25 years a memorable one by routing Nevada, 45-10, to claim the Hawai’i Bowl.
UTEP will open its 92nd season of action when it welcomes Arkansas-Pine Bluff to the Sun Bowl on Sept. 4. It will be the first time the Miners have played back-to-back season openers at home since a five-year stretch (1987-92).
Three of four and four of the initial six contests will be held in El Paso, with Memphis (Sept. 25) and Rice (Oct. 9) joining the Golden Lions and Aggies during the stretch. Tulane (Oct. 23) and SMU will round out the home ledger.
For the second straight season UTEP will face both UAB and Marshall, but this time doing so in hostile territory. The Miners will play their final two tilts of the year on the road, squaring off against the Razorbacks before battling Tulsa (Nov. 20) in the regular-season finale.
UTEP finished the 2009 campaign with a mark of 4-8, including 3-5 in C-USA action. The Miners won their season finale for the first time in 22 years, in addition to earning the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl National Team of the Week following a triumph against No. 12 Houston.
The offense was the best in school history (5,144 yards of total offense) and UTEP was among the top-25 nationally for passing offense, net punting, and total offense. The Miners will return both record-setting QB Trevor Vittatoe and Doak Walker semifinalist Donald Buckram.
UTEP’s defense will have a new look to it with recently-hired defensive coordinator Andre Patterson calling the plays.
2010 UTEP Football Schedule
Sept. 4- Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Sept. 10- at Houston
Sept. 18- New Mexico State
Sept. 25- Memphis
Oct. 2- at New Mexico
Oct. 9- Rice
Oct. 16- at UAB
Oct. 23- Tulane
Oct. 30- at Marshall
Nov. 6- SMU
Nov. 13- at Arkansas
Nov. 20- at Tulsa