EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — UTEP is 3-1 for the first time in a decade and the Miners are relishing their 31-6 win over ULM last Saturday with a bye this week. UTEP will take the field next against LA Tech on Saturday, Oct. 10 in Ruston, Louisiana.
There are a lot of firsts for a program that hasn’t done much winning over the course of the last ten years. The Miners have won more games this season than they had in the previous three seasons. UTEP has the leading receiver in the country (Jacob Cowing) and did not allow a third down conversion on defense in 11 tries against the Warhawks.
UTEP is even receiving national recognition for their 3-1 start. Not only did College Gameday’s Kirk Herbstreit give them a shoutout on social media, the Miners’ game against LA Tech was picked up by ESPN2. It will be the third nationally televised game for the Miners this season.
Something has changed and head coach Dana Dimel believes, while there are still steps to be taken, his team has learned how to win.
“The guys are gaining confidence by getting victories,” said Dimel. “That’s the key, always, when you are trying to turn around a program. Guys are getting a taste of playing winning football and that’s been a big part of what’s going on. Then they’re starting to play really well in all three units.”
Putting together a complete football game with offense, defense, and special teams is something we have not seen at UTEP in a while. From a player’s perspective, the sudden surge in wins has more to do with a change in culture than anything else.
“Right now, guys are more excited for other people who are making plays rather than themselves,” said senior linebacker Stephen Forester. “I think that’s probably the biggest difference. It’s not as much playing for yourself as it is playing for the team.”
The next step for this UTEP football team: expecting to win.
“The winning has really taught them the feeling of playing together and what can happen if you do play together,” said Dimel. “They are gaining a lot of confidence and I feel like, I really do feel like, we are going to go into the LA Tech game with more of a feeling of expecting to win.”