EL PASO, Texas – UTEP football will kick off in Sun Bowl Stadium for the first time in 350 days when it hosts Bethune-Cookman in the 2021 home opener on Saturday, Sept. 4 with kickoff set for 7 p.m.
The Miners last played in the Sun Bowl on Sept. 19, 2020. UTEP won its two games in El Paso last year, and is looking for its first three-game winning streak in Sun Bowl Stadium since the 2014 season.
The Miners (1-0) are also looking for their first 2-0 start since the 2005 season, while the Wildcats (0-0) are playing their first game since Nov. 23, 2019.
The Miners and Wildcats can be heard on KLAQ 95.5 with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher calling the action and former UTEP quarterback Mike Perez providing analysis.
“It’s a very difficult preparation for us because [Bethune-Cookman] hasn’t played since the 2019 season. So, we don’t have a great understanding of what they will be doing schematically,” fourth-year UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel said. “We can go back to its 2019 film, but they had an interesting development. They let their offensive coordinator go, and hired a new one on July 31. Basically, what we’re going to do for this game is go in a play our stuff that we do. We’ll do what we do and react to what we see and play base-sound football on both sides.”
UTEP is coming off a convincing 30-3 victory over I-10 rival NM State on Aug. 28. The Miners’ defense stymied the potent Aggies’ offense, holding them to 190 yards of total offense. The Miners also registered 4.0 sacks on the night. UTEP gained 452 yards of total offense. Jacob Cowing tallied a career-high 158 yards on five receptions, including a 59-yard touchdown to open the second half. Ronald Awatt rushed for a game-high 74 yards on 11 attempts (6.7 avg.) and a career-long 34-yard score.
Bethune-Cookman finished 7-4 in 2019 after defeating Florida A&M, 31-27, in the final game of the season.
Saturday’s contest will mark the first meeting between UTEP and Bethune-Cookman.
Members of the El Paso Association of Contractors will be in attendance and recognized for their efforts in helping to build and enhance the community. The UTEP Spirit Squads will also host youth cheerleaders and dancers who will have a special performance.
UTEP (1-0) vs. Bethune-Cookman (0-0)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 4
Time: 7:00 p.m. MT
Location: El Paso, Texas
Venue: Sun Bowl Stadium
Stream: ESPN3 (Watch)
Radio: KLAQ 95.5 FM
- Gavin Hardison threw for 249 yards on 11-of-16 passing and a score at NM State on Aug. 28. It was the second-most passing yards in his career (302 yards at ULM last season), while his 59-yard scoring toss is a career-long touchdown pass. Hardison, after starting 4-of-8, got hot and finished the game 7-for-8 (88.0 percent). Hardison now has 2,003 yard passing in 10-career games.
- Jacob Cowing hauled in five receptions for a career-high 158 yards. He averaged 31.6 yards per catch, including a career-long scoring reception of 59 yards at NM State on Aug. 28. Cowing also hit the century mark for the sixth time during his career. He’s tied with JJ Rowlett (1991-94) and Volley Murphy (1967-68) for 10th in the 100-yard games’ list. Chuck Hughes (1964-66) leads the program with 13 100-yard games.
- Ronald Awatt bruised up and barreled over NM State defenders on his way to a game-high 74 yards on 11 attempts (6.7 avg.) and a career-long 34-yard scoring run. Awatt’s total was the second most during his career. (79 yards versus North Texas last season) Awatt’s touchdown was the fourth of his career after finding pay dirt three times last season.
- Jadrian Taylor, Deylon Williams and James Neal each recorded their first career sacks at NM State on Aug. 28. Taylor, who is in his second year, registered his takedown during the first quarter. Neal, playing in his first game as a Miner, got to the quarterback in the fourth quarter for a loss of 13 yards.
- UTEP football, after its 30-3 win at NM State on Aug. 28, is looking to go 2-0 for the first time since the 2005 season. The Miners opened that campaign 3-0 with wins at NM State (34-17), versus Houston (44-41 2ot) and New Mexico (21-13).
- The UTEP defense, under the guidance of new defensive coordinator Bradley Dale Peveto, allowed only three points and 190 yards of total offense at NM State. The points and yards allowed are the lowest during the Dana Dimel era, and least amount since shutting out UTSA and allowing only 70 yards of total offense on Oct. 25, 2014.
- UTEP won six consecutive games in the Sun Bowl from Sept. 13, 2014 thru Sept. 26, 2015. The Miners won their last five home games in 2014, while picking up a win in 2015’s home opener.
- UTEP won its 400th game in the program history after its 30-3 win at NM State on Aug. 28.