EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – Saturday’s game between UTEP and New Mexico State will be the 99th edition of the Battle of I-10 on the gridiron.
It will also be the last time UTEP and New Mexico State will meet as non-conference opponents for the foreseeable future.
Back in November, it was revealed that New Mexico State would be bearing a new conference flag after a 20 year affiliation with the Western Athletic Conference. The Aggies accepted an invitation to join Conference USA beginning in 2023-24.
That is the same conference that UTEP has been a part of since 2005 so that means next year’s meeting between the Miners and Aggies will be a conference one.
For now, Saturday is set to serve as an appetizer for both programs when it comes to what to expect next year.
“It is really a cool game for the people of Las Cruces, El Paso, and Juarez to have these two teams playing each other,” said UTEP head coach Dana Dimel. “It is going to become a conference game after this year which will be really neat for everybody so there is always a lot of excitement in the area to have this game. The pride between the two schools is there and the competitive edge between the two schools is there and that is what people like. That is what people like about college football.”
The Aggies are also ready to walk into Saturday’s game against UTEP to see what conference play will be like next year.
“I tell our kids we are in Conference USA on Saturday,” said NM State head coach Jerry Kill. “We got to get after it early. We can’t sit around and wait. I am sure they [UTEP] are saying we got to get off to a great start and we are saying the same thing they are.”
Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. at the Sun Bowl Saturday night. UTEP is currently a 17-point favorite over NM State.