EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP football put together one of their best performances against Boise State in a 27-10 win at the Sun Bowl last Friday.
The Miners’ 27 points was the most in a single game so far this season. UTEP collected 199 rushing yards on 54 rushing attempts, both season-highs five games into the season. The trio of Ronald Awatt, Deion Hankins, and Rey Flores in the backfield spearheaded the Miners’ run game. Hankins collected 86 yards on 21 carries, Awatt had 52 rushing yards on 17 carries, and Flores recorded 41 rushing yards on nine attempts and one rushing touchdown.
“What we did in the Boise State game was really what we had done a lot last year,” said UTEP head coach Dana Dimel. “We just tried to control the clock and then take the things that were there for us. We ran the ball probably better in this game against Boise St. than we did any time last year.”
UTEP’s run game opened up a lot of things for quarterback Gavin Hardison. Hardison was efficient on Friday night, completing 10-of-11 passes for 123 yards and a TD. He was the first Miner since 1999 to have only one incompletion (minimum 10 pass attempts) in a single game.
“We do want to run the football and so when we can, we will and so that is when Gavin [Hardison] really started getting to be able to pick people apart and we were able to pick and choose our shots and obviously we hit the shots that we needed to hit and that converted some really good third downs as well. And so that part of it was good identity for us.”
The Miners now hope to emulate their offensive performance against Boise State as the season continues.
“We’d love to do what we did all year. I mean, that’s obvious when you have a big win like this, you’d like to emulate that as much as you can. And I think more like anything as a team morphs through a year, you kind of figure out what’s their identity, what do we do best?” said Dimel. “And like we’ve talked about before our package is so expansive that we can do whatever fits our personnel. And so, if we have personnel that throws the ball well; last year, second half the year, we threw the ball well and threw the ball more than we ran it because that fit the personality of that team. And this year this might be the best thing for us to do this year is just run the ball more and control the clock more and do the things that we did Friday. So, obviously it was successful for them and we’ll see how it goes for the rest of the year.”
UTEP will open up Conference USA play when they play Charlotte on Saturday, Oct. 1. Kick off is set for 6:00 p.m. Mountain Time at Jerry Richardson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina.