EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP is looking to get above .500 For the first time all season on Saturday with a win over Middle Tennessee and climb to within one win of clinching a bowl berth with three games left to play.

The Blue Raiders have had an interesting 2022 campaign thus far; they’re 3-4 overall and 0-3 in Conference USA play, with all three losses coming to Western Kentucky, UAB and UTSA.

However, before their three-game conference losing streak, Middle Tennessee also beat the Miami Hurricanes on the road earlier this season. They did it with an offense that has relied on big plays and a defense that is among the nation’s top 20 teams in forcing turnovers.

Against a UTEP offense that is in the bottom five of FBS football in coughing the ball up, Miners head coach Dana Dimel knows that UTEP will have to value its possessions on Saturday.

“Their big-play capability is a dangerous weapon for them. They played a flawless game against Miami and they have that kind of talent level where they can play at a high level and they showed it. So we know what they’re capable of doing,” Dimel said.

In addition to taking care of the football, UTEP’s offense is focused on getting off to a better start than it has all season on Saturday.

The Miners have scored just 16 total points in the first quarter of its eight games this season, being outscored by 46 points in the opening frame. UTEP has emphasized improving its first quarter production the last few weeks, but so far hasn’t been able to. They’ll look to do just that vs. Middle Tennessee.

“We didn’t get touchdowns (vs. Florida Atlantic) those first drives when we had to settle for field goals and we have to score touchdowns to get those fast starts. We just have to execute better,” said Dimel.

UTEP is still a 1.5-point favorite over Middle Tennessee with the game set to kickoff at 7 p.m. MT at the Sun Bowl on Saturday night.