UTEP set to tangle with Southern Miss in C-USA road game

UTEP

EL PASO, Texas – UTEP will play its first road game in almost a month when the Miners take on Southern Miss in Hattiesburg on Saturday night. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. CT/5 MT at M.M. Roberts Stadium.

The Miners and Golden Eagles can be heard on “The Home of UTEP Football” ESPN 600 El Paso with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher calling the action, former UTEP quarterback Mike Perez providing analysis and Mando Medina roaming the sideline. The contest will be streamed on ESPN3.

The Miners (4-1, 1-0 Conference USA), off to their best start in 11 seasons, are coming off a 28-21 triumph against Old Dominion in the Sun Bowl on Oct. 2, while the Golden Eagles (1-4, 0-1 C-USA) dropped their league opener at Rice 24-19 on Oct. 2.

UTEP won its first C-USA opener in 12 seasons, while also looking to win its first league road game since the 2018 campaign. And speaking of ending streaks, the Miners haven’t won at Southern Miss since the 2012 season.

“We have to find ways to get on the road and be competitive, find ways to win games on the road. That’s our challenge this week. The challenge starts with great practices,” UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel said. “Preparing for a Southern Miss team that has good athletes. They have a first-year coach, good speed at the receivers, good running backs. Their defense has a ton of speed and athleticism on it. It’s going to be a tough road game for us to get a victory.”

Southern Miss boasts one of the better rushing defensing in the country, ranking 18th and second in C-USA (94.2 ypg). The Golden Eagles’ Frank Gore has rushed for 360 yards, ranking fifth in the league.

UTEP (4-1, 1-0 C-USA) at Southern Miss (1-4, 0-1 C-USA)

Date: Saturday, Oct. 9

Time: 5:00 p.m. MT/6 CT

Location: Hattiesburg, Miss.

Venue: M.M. Roberts Stadium

Twitter Updates: @UTEPFB

Stream: ESPN3 (Watch)

PxP: Jason Baker

Analyst: Dustin Almond

Radio: 600 ESPN El Paso

PxP: Jon Teicher

Analyst: Mike Perez

Sideline: Mando Medina

Miners Notables

Series vs. Southern Miss

The Golden Eagles own an 8-4 record after winning the last five meetings against the Miners. UTEP last defeated Southern Miss on Nov. 1, 2014, 35-14, in El Paso. The Miners’ last victory in Hattiesburg was on Nov. 17, 2012 by the score of 34-33. The last meeting was on Sept. 28, 2019 in Hattiesburg – USM 31, UTEP 13.

Improved UTEP D

UTEP is ranked 31st nationally and second in Conference USA in total defense (310.0 ypg allowed). The Miners also rate 26th nationally and second in C-USA in third-down conversion percentage (31.9), and 37th nationally and third in the league in fourth-down conversion percentage (40.0). UTEP’s rush defense ranks 29th in FBS and third in C-USA (108.8 ypg allowed). The Miners’ scoring defense (23.8) ranks third in C-USA.

Protecting Hardison

UTEP ranks 15th in FBS and first in Conference USA in sacks allowed per game (1.20). The Miners are tied with Marshall and UTSA, while SMU leads the nation with no sacks allowed.

Gavin Going Deep

Gavin Hardison has averaged 10.16 yards per attempt through five games in 2021, a huge jump from his average of 7.1 in 2020. The effort leads Conference USA and is fifth in the country. He also has eight touchdown tosses, the most he’s thrown in a season as a Miner.

One of the Top WRs in the Nation

Jacob Cowing leads Conference USA in receiving yards (585) while ranking fifth nationally in that department. Cowing’s 117.0 yards per game ranks second in the league and sixth nationally. Cowing’s yards per reception (24.4) ranks second in C-USA and third in FBS. WKU’s Jerreth Sterns (136.5) leads the nation and C-USA in yards per game. USC’s Drake London leads the nation in total receiving yards (670).

Cowing Reaches Century Mark for 9th Time

Jacob Cowing hauled in four receptions for 118 yards against Old Dominion. He added a 51-yard reception versus the Monarchs. Cowing also hit the century mark for the ninth time during his career. He ranks eighth on the 100-yard games’ list. Chuck Hughes (1964-66) leads the program with 13 100-yard games.

Deion “Tankins”

Deion Hankins scored his third touchdown of the season on a three-yard rush in the fourth quarter against Old Dominion. It was his 12th career score, while it was the sixth consecutive game he’s found pay dirt dating back to the 2020 season. The six-game streak is the longest by a UTEP player since Aaron Jones had a seven-game string to end the 2016 season. As far as rushing scores in consecutive games, Donald Buckram scored rushing TDs in six consecutive games in 2009.

Inyang’s Takeaways

Dy’vonne Inyang produced two takeaways against Old Dominion. He recorded a fumble recovery during the first quarter, while he intercepted his second pass of the season during the fourth. Inyang is the first Miner to record two takeaways since Dashone Smith (two INTs) did so at NM State on Sept. 14, 2013.

Sack Attack

UTEP ranks fifth in C-USA with 11 sacks in five games this season. It’s two away from matching last season’s total of 13 in eight games, and one away from matching 2019’s total 12 in 12 games. UTEP tallied 20 sacks in 2018 and 11 the season prior. Praise Amaewhule leads the Miners with 3.0 sacks, while Keenan Stewart has 2.0.

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