EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP enters its week 1 road trip at No. 9 Oklahoma with the deck predictably stacked against it.

The Miners are currently 30-point underdogs to the Sooners on Saturday, after losing their week 0 season opener to North Texas, 31-13 last weekend at the Sun Bowl.

Simply put, very few – if any – people expect UTEP to go into Norman and emerge with a victory. If they do, it would arguably be the biggest win in program history.

UTEP will receive a $1 million payout from Oklahoma for playing the game, sources confirmed to KTSM this week. They’ll get a $1.3 million guarantee when they return to Norman to play the Sooners in 2026.

That payout alone is enough to make the trip somewhat of a success, so long as no one important gets injured. But UTEP is looking to take some more positives away from their trip to Oklahoma than just a nice check. Ultimately, they think the game could make them better, even if they don’t get the win.

“In all sincerity, playing this level of competition will make us better,” said UTEP head coach Dana Dimel. “It will help us next week and the week after that because we’ll playing at the highest pace and the toughest environment you can play in. I’ve thought a lot about how this game can help us improve.”

The Miners are playing a tough early-season schedule and last week vs. North Texas, UTEP’s offense struggled to run the football and to finish drives in the red zone. Seeing an improvement in either of those categories would be nice against what may be an improved OU defense under first-year head coach Brent Venables, who has won multiple national championships as the defensive coordinator at both OU and Clemson.

Defensively, UTEP struggled to stop the run; if they can keep the Sooners offense and Central Florida transfer quarterback Dillon Gabriel somewhat in check, that would also be seen as a positive for the UTEP coaching staff.

“It’s a great opportunity for us to go there and play in such a great stadium vs. a team with a great legacy,” said UTEP defensive end Praise Amaewhule. “We just have to do our jobs up front and stop the run, they’ll run the stretch a lot. They’re a great team with a great quarterback and we just have to go and do our jobs one play at a time.”

UTEP and Oklahoma will kickoff at 1:30 p.m. MT on Saturday in Norman. The game will be televised by FOX.