EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP will travel to the state of Louisiana for the second time in three weeks as the Miners open Conference USA play at Louisiana Tech on Saturday in Ruston.
UTEP will be battling more more than just LA Tech when they take the field at 6:30 p.m. local time — the Miners will also be facing the elements brought on by Hurricane Delta, which made landfall in Louisiana on Friday evening as a category two storm. Officials at both schools tell KTSM the game will be played as scheduled.
LA Tech (2-1) enters the game looking to build on a 1-0 start in league play after a last-second win over Southern Miss on Sept. 19 in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Last week, the Bulldogs were dealt their first loss of the season at BYU, 45-14.
UTEP (3-1) is off to their best start to a season in a decade. The Miners are coming off a bye week after a dominant 31-6 road win at Louisiana Monroe on Sept. 26.
The matchup marks the 17th all-time meeting between the Miners and Bulldogs. LA Tech leads the series, 13-2-1, and has won seven straight games dating back to 2013. The last UTEP win in the series came in 2004 when the Miners took down the Bulldogs, 44-27, in Ruston.
Kickoff is set for 5:30 p.m. MT at Joe Aillet Stadium. The game will be nationally televised on ESPN2 with Dave O’Brien (play-by-play), Mike Golic (analysis), and Eric Wood (sideline) calling all the action.
UTEP (3-1) at Louisiana Tech (2-1)
Date: Saturday, Oct. 10
Time: 5:30 p.m. MT
Location: Ruston, La.
Venue: Joe Aillet Stadium
Twitter Updates: @UTEPFB
TV/Stream: ESPN2 (WATCH)
PxP: Dave O’Brien
Analyst: Mike Golic
Sideline: Eric Wood
Radio: ESPN 600 El Paso (LISTEN)
PxP: Jon Teicher
Analyst: Mike Perez
A MINER WIN WOULD…
- Improve UTEP’s overall record to 4-1, 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 conference road win for UTEP since 2018 when the Miners took down Rice with a 34-26 victory in Houston.
- Snap a 7-game home winning streak for the Bulldogs.
- Mark UTEP’s first win over LA Tech since 2004 and the first since the Bulldogs joined Conference USA in 2013.
- The 2020 UTEP Football team is accomplishing things that haven’t been done in the Sun City in quite some time. The Miners are 3-1 for the first time since the 2010 season. UTEP also has three victories for the first time since 2016, when it finished 4-8. With a 31-6 win at ULM on Sept. 26, UTEP posted a non-conference road victory outside of the states of New Mexico and Texas for the first time since Nov. 8, 2008 at UL Lafayette. The Miners have also posted their best non-conference record since 2011, when they were also 3-1 outside of league play.
- UTEP sophomore WR Jacob Cowing is currently ranked 3rd in the nation and 1st in Conference USA in receiving yards four games into the 2020 season. Cowing leads the Miners with 22 receptions for 377 yards in four games. The Arizona native is averaging 17.1 yards per catch and 94.2 yards per game this season. As for senior WR Justin Garrett, he is currently ranked 14th nationally and 6th in C-USA with 19 catches for 287 yards and a touchdown. He is averaging 15.1 yards per catch and 71.8 yards per game.
- Sophomore QB Gavin Hardison enters this week ranked 11th nationally among FBS quarterbacks in total passing yards. Through four games, Hardison is 57-of-105 passing for 850 yards and a touchdown. His 850 passing yards in four games also ranks second among Conference USA quarterbacks. The Hobbs, N.M., native has a 54.3 completion percentage and is averaging 212.5 yards per game going into Saturday’s conference matchup at Louisiana Tech.
- UTEP redshirt freshman running back Deion Hankins (or “Tankins”) played in just two games in 2019, but Miner fans got just a small glimpse of what the El Paso native could do. One year later, Hankins is punishing opposing defenses left and right and has already earned a plethora of nicknames due to his heavy-hitting running style. Hankins is currently ranked 5th in the country and 1st in Conference USA with 5 rushing touchdowns on the season. He leads the Miners with 50 carries for 265 yards in four games.
- Senior linebacker Stephen Forester came on strong late last season to earn a starting spot and hasn’t looked back since. The Dallas native leads the UTEP defense with 25 total tackles (12 solo, 13 assists), 2.5 tackles for a loss of 9 yards and 1.0 sack (6 yards) through the first four games of the 2020 season.