EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP is 3-1 for the second year in a row and for the first time in half a decade, a bowl game is a legitimate possibility for the Miners.
One of the biggest reasons for the Miners hot start has been Jacob Cowing, statistically ranked as one of the top wide receivers in the country. Cowing is a driven individual, who is chasing his dreams for more than just himself.
He was UTEP’s leading receiver as a sophomore a season ago, but that wasn’t enough for Cowing.
“I struggled getting in and out of my breaks so that’s what I focused on in the offseason. It paid off and I’m having a great season so far,” said Cowing.
The redshirt sophomore spent a lot of time in the offseason in the weight room and working on his agility, to add to his yards after catches this season. It’s paid dividends; in four games, Cowing has made 20 receptions for 467 yards (116.8 per game) and four touchdowns.
Those numbers have the Arizona native atop Conference USA and ranked fourth in all of FBS college football in receiving yards through the first portion of the season. When UTEP needs a big play, Cowing is frequently the guy.
“I’m extremely happy and blessed to be able to show off my talent to the nation and make a name for myself,” said Cowing.
He’s coming off of a career-best 7-catch, 174-yard, 1-touchdown performance over the weekend in UTEP’s win over New Mexico that was the biggest thus far of Dana Dimel’s tenure with the Miners. Cowing made three catches over 34 yards, including a 55-yard touchdown in the third quarter that gave UTEP the lead for good.
Cowing began the play in the slot, before meandering up the sideline and crossing with teammate Justin Garrett, who ran a post route. The Lobos defensive back got caught in Garrett’s jet wash, allowing Cowing to release up-field unabated for a wide-open score.
His hot start to the season has caught the attention of NFL teams. Dana Dimel compared Cowing to Tyler Lockett, the Seattle Seahawks wide receiver who Dimel coached at Kansas State.
“He’s a lot like Tyler Lockett and people are starting to see that at the next level,” said Dimel. “With another year in our system and the maturity he’s bringing, he could be that kind of a player at the next level. He’s starting to catch people’s eyes now.”
The accolades have been nice, but when Cowing hits the field, he never forgets who he’s doing it for. Cowing’s son, Chase, was born in November, 2019, when he was a freshman at UTEP.
Whenever Cowing scores a touchdown, he points to the tattoo on his left forearm that bears his son’s name, then makes a heart with his hands.
“Having a kid has grown me up and put me in the perfect position to be mature and humble,” said Cowing. “I love fatherhood, so this is awesome.”
Chase still lives in the Phoenix area with his mother – Cowing made sure to commend her on how well she’s raising their son – but Cowing is very involved from El Paso with daily FaceTime calls, as well as bye week visits home. He also spends much of the summer back home to be with his son.
His family also brings Chase to every UTEP home game, complete with his own custom Cowing jersey with the number 6 on the back.
“That’s super special to me that he’ll remember that stuff, that his dad played college football,” said Cowing. “He knows that’s dad on the field, he points sometimes and I see it, so that’s great.”
With UTEP off to a 3-1 start, Cowing and the Miners are thinking bowl game and beyond. He’s already day-dreaming about getting to play in front of his son on an even bigger stage.
He’s become a leader on and off the field for the Miners and he’ll do whatever he can to make it happen.
“We have the team to go far, make it to a bowl game and make it to a conference championship,” said Cowing. “We just have to keep that mindset and keep going.”
UTEP is currently a five-point favorite heading into their Conference USA opener against Old Dominion. Chase will be in attendance, ready to watch dad shine once again.
UTEP and Old Dominion will kick off at 7 p.m. at the Sun Bowl on Saturday. If the Miners win, they’ll be 4-1, which would be the highest win total UTEP has had since 2016.