EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – Parkland High School product and El Paso’s all-time leading rusher Deion Hankins announced himself to the college football world on Saturday night, as UTEP opened the 2020 season with a 24-14 win over Stephen F. Austin.
Hankins rushed a team-high 17 times, for 113 yards and his first two collegiate touchdowns in the Miners’ victory, which snapped an 11-game losing streak dating back to week 1 of 2019. The Miners opened the season with a win for the second year in a row for the first time since 2010-2011.
“A lot of learning moments for our team tonight,” said UTEP head coach Dana Dimel. “We did a great job of hanging in there and staying with the fight.”
New starting quarterback Gavin Hardison was 17-of-28 passing for 212 yards and tossed a 4-yard touchdown pass to Just Garrett that pulled the Miners to within 14-10 late in the second quarter.
After the UTEP defense forced one of its two turnovers on the night, Hankins ran for a 10-yard touchdown with 20 seconds remaining before halftime, and added a 4-yard scoring run with 3:50 left that capped a nine-play, 80-yard drive.
Sophomore wide receiver Jacob Cowing did not score, but led the way with seven receptions for a 116 yards for UTEP.
Trae Self threw a 17-yard touchdown pass to Lawton Rikel for the Lumberjacks. Da’Leon Ward added a 1-yard TD run to put Stephen F. Austin up 14-3 early in the second quarter, but did not score again. Self finished 14 of 21 for 133 yards passing.
UTEP defensive back Duron Lowe intercepted Self in the fourth quarter in the end zone as it appeared the Lumberjacks were driving in to take the lead. Lowe’s pick led to Hankins’ second score of the night.
The attendance was 6,047 at the 51,500-seat Sun Bowl. There was no general admission seating. Tailgating was prohibited and masks inside the stadium were required.
Next up for UTEP is a trip to Austin on Sept. 12 to face the mighty Texas Longhorns. Kickoff is slated for 6 p.m. MT.