EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Rivalry games with New Mexico State and New Mexico highlight the UTEP football schedule in 2021. UTEP officials along with Conference USA revealing the 2021 slate for the Miners on Wednesday afternoon.
The 2021 schedule features six home games, including contests against Bethune-Cookman, New Mexico, Old Dominion, Louisiana Tech, UTSA, and Rice.
The schedule marks the return of the Battle of I-10 with the Miners scheduled to travel to Las Cruces, New Mexico, to square off against the Aggies on Saturday, Aug. 28 to open the 2021 season. Last year’s rivalry game was canceled after New Mexico State postponing their 2020 season to the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The game will mark the 98th meeting between the two programs with the Miners leading the all-time series, 57-38-2, over the Aggies.
“We are excited at the prospect of playing a complete 12-game schedule for the 2021 season after a tumultuous 2020 campaign,” said UTEP head coach Dana Dimel. “We have a fantastic home schedule this fall and we can’t wait to get to work preparing for the 2021 season. We are excited to renew rivalries with two teams this program is very familiar with in Boise State and New Mexico, a couple of former WAC opponents. It’s also nice to have eight games scheduled in the state of Texas or New Mexico that our fans will have the opportunity to see.”
Following the season opener, UTEP will host Bethune-Cookman in the 2021 home opener at Sun Bowl Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 4.
On Sept. 11, the Miners hit the road for a non-conference game against Mountain West power Boise State before enjoying the first of two bye weeks the week of Sept. 18.
UTEP returns home on Sept. 25 to host New Mexico (UNM) in a non-conference matchup with the Lobos in the first meeting of a home-and-home series that will see the Miners travel to Albuquerque to face UNM in 2022. The last meeting between the Miners and Lobos came back in 2014 when UTEP defeated UNM, 31-24, to open their season. The Miners would return to Albuquerque at the conclusion of the season, making an appearance in the New Mexico Bowl.
The series between UTEP and New Mexico is the second-longest in school history (78 games) next to New Mexico State. New Mexico leads the series, 43-32-3, as the Miners and the Lobos were joint members of the WAC from 1968-98.
UTEP will open Conference USA play by hosting East Division foe Old Dominion (ODU) on Oct. 2 at the Sun Bowl. The Miners and Monarchs have played each other just three times with the last meeting coming in 2016 — an ODU 31-21 win. The Monarchs are 2-1 all-time against the Miners with UTEP’s lone victory coming in 2014, 42-35.
UTEP travels to Hattiesburg, Mississippi, to take on Southern Miss on Oct. 9 before hosting Louisiana Tech at the Sun Bowl on Oct. 16. The Miners did not face the Golden Eagles during the 2020 season due to another COVID-19 cancellation, while LA Tech defeated UTEP, 21-17, last season in Ruston.
The Miners will enjoy a second bye week on Oct. 23 before crossing back over to the East Division for a road game at Florida Atlantic (Oct. 30) the following week. UTEP last faced the Owls in back-to-back seasons in 2015-16. The two teams have split the series with UTEP winning the first-ever meeting, 27-17, in El Paso. In 2016, Florida Atlantic claimed a 35-31 victory over the Miners in Boca Raton.
The month of November will feature three games in the state of Texas, including opening the month with UTEP hosting UTSA on Nov. 6 in El Paso. The Miners will then travel to take on North Texas on Nov. 13 before hosting Rice on Nov. 20, which will serve as Senior Day in the final home game of the 2021 regular season. The season finale is slated for Nov. 27 at UAB.
Conference USA’s 17th Annual Championship Game, pitting the champions of the East and West Divisions, is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 4.
2021 UTEP FOOTBALL SCHEDULE
Aug. 28 at NM State
Sept. 4 Bethune-Cookman
Sept. 11 at Boise State
Sept. 18 BYE
Sept. 25 New Mexico
Oct. 2 Old Dominion*
Oct. 9 at Southern Miss*
Oct. 16 Louisiana Tech*
Oct. 23 BYE
Oct. 30 at Florida Atlantic*
Nov. 6 UTSA*
Nov. 13 at North Texas*
Nov. 20 Rice*
Nov. 27 at UAB*
Home games in BOLD
*Conference USA game