EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP is set to close out non-conference play on Saturday when the Miners travel to the Bayou State to take on the ULM Warhawks in Monroe, Louisiana.
This weekend’s game at ULM marks the first ever meeting between the Miners and Warhawks on the gridiron. UTEP is 5-0 all-time against teams in the Sun Belt Conference.
ULM (0-2) enters the game looking for their first win of the season, while the Miners are in search of their first 3-1 start to a season since 2011. UTEP (2-1) is coming off a 17-13 win at the Sun Bowl over Abilene Christian, while the Warhawks will be looking to bounce back following back-to-back losses at Army (L, 7-37) and Texas State (L, 17-38).
The Miners are 2-1 for the first time since 2014 and 2-0 at home for the first time since 2010. Needless to say, it has been a much different feel at practice throughout the week.
“When you lose, you come in Monday and you’re like, ‘damn.’ You don’t feel good. Being 2-1 and the way we came out today — it just feels better,” said junior offensive lineman Bobby DeHaro. “We’re 2-1 and the next step is to go win another game.”
“There’s definitely a little big of swagger, but we aren’t thinking about that. Week-in and week-out, we are just trying to go 1-0 every week,” added senior wide receiver Justin Garrett.
For the first time this season, the Miners will be playing a team that is not opening the season against them. Stephen F. Austin opened the season against UTEP on Sept. 5, as did Texas and Abilene Christian.
“We are finally playing a team that hasn’t had three or four weeks to prepare just for us. That’s been the big thing,” said head coach Dana Dimel. “Texas didn’t miss a practice all of fall camp and had every day to prepare for their opening game against us and an extra week of preparation over us. Abilene Christian had their whole camp plus two extra weeks to prepare for us. At least this week we are going against someone who has had the same amount of time to prepare.”
Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. MT at Malone Stadium on Saturday and the game will be nationally televised on ESPN2.
UTEP (2-1) at ULM (0-2)
Date: Saturday, Sept. 26
Time: 1:30 p.m. MT
Location: Monroe, La.
Venue: Malone Stadium
TV/Stream: ESPN2 (Watch)
PxP: Clay Matvick
Analyst: Rocky Boiman
Radio: ESPN 600 El Paso (Listen)
PxP: Jon Teicher
Analyst: Mike Perez
A MINER WIN WOULD…
- Improve UTEP’s overall record to 3-1, marking the best start for the Miners since the 2010 team started the season 5-1.
- Give UTEP the most wins in a single season since 2014 when the team tallied four wins on the season.
- Be the first non-conference road win for UTEP since 2015 when the Miners took down NM State with a 50-47 overtime win.
- With last Saturday’s win over Abilene Christian, the UTEP Miners improved to 2-1 overall on the season and a perfect 2-0 record at the Sun Bowl in 2020. It marks the first time since 2014 that the Miners have started a season 2-1, while the 2-0 start at home marks a first for the program since the 2010 campaign. In the win over Abilene Christian, UTEP outscored the Wildcats, 17-6 after falling behind 7-0 early in the game.
- UTEP sophomore WR Jacob Cowing is currently ranked 2nd in the nation and in Conference USA in receiving yards three games into the 2020 season. Cowing leads the Miners with 19 receptions for 275 yards in three games. The Arizona native is averaging 14.5 yards per catch and 91.7 yards per game this season. As for senior WR Justin Garrett, he is currently ranked 12th nationally and 3rd in C-USA with 12 catches for 167 yards and a touchdown. He is averaging 13.9 yard per catch and 55.7 yards per game.
- Sophomore QB Gavin Hardison enters this week ranked 5th among FBS quarterbacks in total passing yards. Through three games, Hardison is 44-of-80 passing for 548 yards and a touchdown. His 548 passing yards in three games also ranks second among Conference USA quarterbacks. The Hobbs, N.M., native has a 55.0 completion percentage and is averaging 182.7 yards per game going into Saturday’s game at ULM.
- The Miners will take on a familiar face on Saturday with former UTEP defensive coordinator Scott Stoker taking on the same role with the Warhawks. Stoker went to ULM as the LB coach following three seasons as the defensive coordinator at UTEP (2013-15). Stoker recently took over as ULM defensive coordinator on Sept. 2 after the resignation of Mike Collins.
- In UTEP’s two wins this season, the Miners have had to come from behind twice to clinch the pair of victories. In the opener, Stephen F. Austin jumped out to a 14-3 lead before UTEP shutout the Lumberjacks 21-0 the rest of the way for a 24-14 win. In the second home game of the season, UTEP fell behind 7-0 to Abilene Christian in the first quarter, but the Miners once again rallied to outscore the Wildcats, 17-6, the remainder of the game to secure a 17-13 victory at the Sun Bowl, the team’s second home win of the season.