EL PASO, TEXAS (KTSM) – Saturday was another unplanned off-day for UTEP, after this week’s previously-scheduled game against UAB in Midland was canceled due to COVID-19 cases at UAB.
The Miners have played just four games in the last nine weeks and haven’t played inside the Sun Bowl since a Sept. 19 win over Abilene Christian, 63 days ago.
It’s something that’s definitely beginning to weigh on the Miners, and it’s shown on the field the last two times UTEP has played. Rust has most certainly been a factor, especially in last Saturday’s loss to UTSA.
However, head coach Dana Dimel said this week that all the adversity of not playing, and especially, not being able to play at home, can help the Miners in the long run.
“I think it’s helping our team to mature and understand what it takes to go get a conference road win because we played well in our first two conference road games well enough to win and then we didn’t play well enough in our last one,” Dimel said. “We have to handle that responsibility.”
With the Miners slated to play at Rice next Saturday, UTEP says it’s all about staying focused on the task at hand.
“We need to stay locked in. For some people, there’s the temptation to get down and not try hard at practice,” redshirt freshman running back Deion Hankins said. “You never know when you’re going play or when the game will be canceled, but regardless you have to keep that mindset of going 100 percent.”
After next week’s game at Rice, the Miners are currently slated to host Southern Miss on Dec. 4 and North Texas on Dec. 12. As of now, they will be played at the Sun Bowl; there has not been any word yet with regards to potentially moving the games out of El Paso, to Midland or elsewhere.