Rivalry renewed: UTEP to host UNM in 79th all-time meeting

UTEP

EL PASO, Texas – UTEP will take on long-time rival New Mexico for the first time in seven years when the Miners (2-1) host the Lobos (2-1) on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. in the Sun Bowl Stadium.

“I think it’s a big game for us because we just see what a win can do for us right now,” UTEP head coach Dana Dimel said. “A win could put us at 3-1 again opening up another season. It would be gigantic for us. It would get us heading to [Conference USA] play with a big, a big momentum swing. So, I think it’s a big game that way. But more important, it’s fun to get back at home and play at home.”

UTEP is coming off a bye week, as its last game was at Boise State on Sept. 10. New Mexico is coming off a loss at No. 5 Texas A&M, 34-0, on Sept. 18.

UTEP defeated UNM, 31-24, in the last meeting on Aug. 30, 2014 in Albuquerque. The Miners last hosted the Lobos on Sept. 7, 2013.

Honoring Texas Western

Alumni from the vintage Texas Western era will be returning to campus to cheer on the Miners. The current UTEP football team will don throwback Texas Western uniforms (orange helmet, orange jersey with white numbers, white pants).

“We’re really excited about the Texas Western uniforms that we’re going to be able to wear and pay tribute to some of the very good Miner football teams in the past,” Dimel said. “I think they’re really a cool model of uniform that we showed to the players today. I know they are we’re excited about it.”

UTEP (2-1) vs. New Mexico (2-1)

Date: Saturday, Sept. 25

Time: 7:00 p.m. MT

Location: El Paso, Texas

Venue: Sun Bowl Stadium

Stream: ESPN+ (Watch)

Radio: KLAQ 95.5 FM

Notables

The Series History With UNM

UTEP and New Mexico will be meeting up on the gridiron for the 79th time when they do battle in the Sun Bowl Saturday night. The Miners are 32-43-3 all time against the Lobos, including staking a 31-24 triumph the last times the two foes locked up in 2014 season opener (8/30/14).  UTEP has won three of the past four match-ups in the Sun Bowl, but UNM did come away with the 42-35 victory in its last trip to El Paso in 2013 (9/7/13). The Miners own a 21-17-2 record against the Lobos in El Paso.

About New Mexico

The Lobos are 2-1 after their loss at no. 5 Texas A&M, 34-0, on Sept. 18. UNM opened its 2021 campaign with victories over Houston Baptist, 27-17 (Sept. 2) and NM State, 34-25 (Sept. 11). The Lobos are averaging 20.3 points and 329.7 yards per game. The UNM defense is giving up 25.3 points and 320.3 yards per contest. UNM starting QB Terry Wilson, a senior transfer from Kentucky, has tossed six touchdowns to only one interception. He’s 58-of-88 (65.9 percent) for 592 yards. Each of Terry’s six TDs have gone to six different players. Bobby Cole leads the team in rushing (166 yards), while Mannie Logan-Greene leads in receptions (12) and receiving yards (132). Tavion Combs leads the way with 28 tackles and two interceptions. Joey Noble has tallied 2.0 sacks and 14 stops.

Talking 3-1 Starts

UTEP is aspiring to start 3-1 on the season for the second straight year, something that hasn’t happened since the final two years (1987, 1988) of the Bob Stull era. Additionally, the Miners are vying for their seventh 3-1 start since 1966. The Orange and Blue also previously did so in 2020, 2010, 2005, 1991, 1988 and 1987.

Cowing Crashing the End Zone

Wide receiver Jacob Cowing has picked up where he left off, becoming the first Miner in the modern era (post 1965) to catch a touchdown in each of the first three games of the season. Johnnie Lee Higgins did have scoring grabs in his first five tilts of 2005, but he missed the season opener that year. Dating to last year, he has now hit paydirt in five straight games. That the longest streak since Kris Adams hauled in TD passes in the final six games of 2008. If Cowing were to match Adams with a score against UNM, his next target would be a 10-game surge from Jeff Moturi in 2007.

Where Cowing Ranks Nationally

Jacob Cowing has 293 yards on 13 receptions and three touchdowns in three games played. Cowing ranks 23rd nationally in yards (293), 24th in yards per reception (22.5), tied 15th in touchdowns (three) and 19th in receiving yards per game (97.7).

Cowing Reaches the Century Mark for Seventh Time

Jacob Cowing hauled in six receptions for 112 yards at Boise State on Sept. 10. He added a 48-yard score against the Broncos. It was Cowing’s seventh 100-yard receiving performance in his career. He ranks 10th the program’s all-time list. Chuck Hughes (1964-66) leads the program with 13.

Protecting Hardison

UTEP’s offensive line has only yielded three sacks this season, ranking tied 15th nationally in sacks allowed per game (1.0). The Miners rank tied second with WKU, LA Tech and FIU in Conference USA behind Marshall (.67 sacks/g).

Third-Down Conversion Defense

The UTEP defense leads Conference USA and ranks 18th nationally in conversion percentage (28.6). The Miners have allowed only 10 of 35 third-down conversions. Boston College leads the nation with a 15.6 conversion percentage.

Red Zone Conversions

The UTEP offense ranks fourth in Conference USA and tied 31st nationally in red zone conversions. The Miners have scored 92.3 percent (12 scores on 13 attempts) of the time. UTEP has converted six touchdowns and six field goals when in the red zone. ODU, WKU and UAB lead C-USA at 100 percent conversion rate.

C-USA Leaders in Rushing

UTEP leads Conference USA in rushing yards (596) and rushing yards per game (198.7). The Miners rank 31st nationally in rushing.

Ball Control

UTEP ranks second in Conference USA and 11th nationally in time of possession (34:13.00). Charlotte leads C-USA (34:55.00) and Wisconsin leads the nation (40:57.00).

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