EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP will close out the 2019 season at home on Saturday, as the Miners host Rice at Sun Bowl Stadium on ‘Senior Day.’ Kickoff is set for 1:05 p.m.
The game will be streamed on ESPN3 with KTSM 9 Sports Director Andy Morgan (play-by-play) and Trevor Vittatoe (analysis) calling all the action.
Prior to Saturday’s season finale against the visiting Rice Owls, the Miners will honor 22 seniors before kickoff at the Sun Bowl.
“These seniors have been rock solid for us, the whole group of them,” said head coach Dana Dimel. “They are really good individuals. They are all good students and are going to go out in the community and do a lot of positive things, especially the group who has been here for a while. The ones who have been here the last three years – I am really proud of them because they are a great, solid group of people and that is important to have. It is going to be enjoyable trying to get them a win. We want to get them a win more than anything because they need to get that taste of winning as they leave the program.”
The Miners and Owls have previously met 22 times on the gridiron in a series that dates back to 1996. Rice leads the all-time series, 14-8, over UTEP. However, the Miners got the better of Rice most recently with a 34-26 win over the Owls last season in Houston.
In last season’s meeting between the Miners and Owls, UTEP jumped out to a 27-0 lead in a dominating first half performance, then held off Rice in the second half for a 34-26 win in Houston, the Miners’ first victory since 2016. UTEP (1-8, 1-4 C-USA) stamped out their 20-game losing streak, notched their first win under Dana Dimel and handed Rice (1-9, 0-6 C-USA) its ninth consecutive defeat. It was UTEP’s first triumph at Rice Stadium since 2005, its inaugural year in Conference USA.
- Through the first 11 games of the 2019 season, UTEP has proven to be one of the nation’s best teams when it comes to fourth down success. Entering the week, the Miners are ranked 7th nationally in fourth down conversion percentage (.739) after successfully converting 17 of 23 fourth-down attempts up to this point of the season. UTEP’s fourth down percentage is also ranked first among Conference USA teams.
- Senior running back Treyvon Hughes currently leads the Miners in touchdowns with 12 rushing scores in 11 games, which ranks 2nd in C-USA and 17th nationally. Hughes scored his first two touchdowns of the season in the 2019 season opener versus Houston Baptist, while he followed that performance with another pair of scores in UTEP’s home game versus Nevada. Hughes has scored a touchdown in all but three games this season, including scoring in six of the last seven games.
- Kicker Gavin Baechle enters Saturday’s game 12-of-14 on field goals and a perfect 21-of-21 on PATs, making him second on the team in scoring behind only Treyvon Hughes. Baechle’s 12 field goals makes him the first Miner kicker since 2015 to connect on at least nine field goals in a season. The last UTEP kicker to do so was Jay Mattox, who was 15-of-19 on field goals in 2015. Baechle is ranked second in C-USA and 16th nationally in field goal percentage (.857).
- Defensively, UTEP’s leading tackler this season is senior safety Michael Lewis, who has 93 total tackles (51 solo) to go along with an interception, one forced fumble and a fumble recovery. Justin Rogers leads the Miners with three fumble recoveries this season, while he also had an interception versus LA Tech (10/26) to make it four straight years he has recorded an interception for the Miners. Rogers is ranked second on the team with 68 total tackles (46 solo).
GAME DAY CENTRAL
Pregame Activities: Prior to each home game this fall, team buses will drop off the Miners at the GR2 parking lot off of Glory Road. With the UTEP band, cheerleaders and spirit teams leading the way, the student-athletes will walk to their locker room in the Larry K. Durham Sports Center. Fans are invited to the drop-off point at 11 a.m. this Saturday to cheer on the team as it starts the “Miner Walk.”
Also new in 2019 is a spectacular chrome pick that will be on display in the North concourse of the Sun Bowl Stadium, adjacent to the Durham Center. Fans can take pictures with the pick as a new UTEP game day tradition is forged.