Nov. 6 UTSA-UTEP football game set for evening kick on ESPN2; Miners prep for FAU


EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP’s home football game against No. 23 UTSA at the Sun Bowl on Nov. 6 will be broadcast on national television, KTSM has learned.

Sources told KTSM on Sunday night that the game had been flexed from a 2 p.m. kickoff to an 8:15 p.m. kickoff to accommodate an ESPN2 broadcast. UTEP officially announced the change on Monday morning, bringing the national spotlight to El Paso.

“We’re excited to play on ESPN2,” UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel said. “It’s an honor to play before a national television audience. It’s an opportunity to bring a lot of exposure to our community and football program. We want to encourage Miner Nation to get their tickets, come out and show the rest of the country what an unbelievable environment we have when we’re playing before a packed house in the Sun Bowl.”

Rumblings of the change in kickoff time began on Saturday night as UTSA (8-0, 4-0 Conference USA) was polishing off a road win over Louisiana Tech. JJ Perez, who covers UTSA for 24/7 Sports, tweeted that the game would be moved to a night game to accommodate a national broadcast.

The game is currently setting up to be arguably the biggest home game in 16 years for UTEP (6-1, 3-0 C-USA). The Miners will go on the road to face Florida Atlantic on Oct. 30; win that game, and they’ll be 7-1, 4-0 in league play, tied with the Roadrunners atop the West Division.

The FAU trip won’t be easy for UTEP, though. The Owls (4-3, 2-1 C-USA) are currently tied atop C-USA East, having just knocked off Charlotte last Thursday on road, 38-9.

What’s more, the Miners have never won a game in the eastern time zone in their entire existence as a football program. UTEP was a 12-point underdog on Sunday afternoon as a result of that.

A win would not only help UTEP’s C-USA title hopes; it could also make the school more attractive for universities that might want to join the remnants of Conference USA, which was decimated by conference realignment last week.

“We have to try to put the best product we can out there to help UTEP’s national brand,” said UTEP head football coach Dana Dimel in an interview with KTSM on Friday. “That’s what we have to do. I’m not a part of that and have no control over that. (UTEP president Heather Wilson and director of athletics Jim Senter) are working side by side on this and they’re ahead of the game on this. They’re working the best angles for UTEP and we’re going to be fine.”

Kickoff for UTEP-FAU is slated for 4 p.m. Mountain time in Boca Raton, Fla., on Oct. 30. KTSM sports reporter Colin Deaver will be traveling to the game to bring full coverage of the showdown.

If the Miners can get past the Owls, there has been a grassroots social media campaign to get ESPN’s College Gameday program to El Paso for the UTSA-UTEP game on Nov. 6. While no announcements have been made, UTSA itself was pushing for the Gameday crew to head to El Paso; Reddit College Football joined in, as did ESPN reporter Adam Rittenberg and Brian Davis of the Austin American-Statesman.

Regardless of whether or not Gameday makes a trip to the Borderland, the next month of UTEP football is setting up to potentially be one of the most exciting times for Miners fans in recent memory.

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