EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – UTEP football will tackle the part of its schedule where the games matter a bit more than others. The Miners will resume Conference USA play when they take on Louisiana Tech on Friday night at the Sun Bowl.
UTEP heads into its game against LA Tech on a three-game losing streak. The Miners are off to a disappointing 1-4 start to the season. It’s the Miners’ first 1-4 start to a season since the 2019 campaign. After a week one win over FCS program Incarnate Word at the Sun Bowl, UTEP has lost to a pair of power five programs in Northwestern and Arizona on the road in back to back games, and most recently, suffered a defeat to UNLV at home last Saturday.
Despite a way less than ideal start to its season, UTEP is looking at this point of the season, the resumption of Conference USA action, as a new start to the season. UTEP’s remaining seven games on its schedule will all be CUSA contests, and they feel a win over LA Tech on Friday can get them back on track.
“We’re excited to be back into conference play because it gives us a new start. Like I said to the team, which I thought was a big message, when we had Wendell, our PA announcer, give the chapel to our team. He gave a wonderful message about looking at things through the windshield and not through the rearview mirror, and that’s where we are right now,” UTEP head coach Dana Dimel said. “All of a sudden, we get some wins to start the conference season off and we’re back to square one with where we want to be. So, we can endure these six games in a little over a month by getting a win and getting back to even in conference.”
“We are just going to take it one week at a time,” UTEP quarterback Gavin Hardison said. “If we can continue to win week in and week out, we’ll end up where we want to be at the end of the year.”
UTEP is hoping to have more hands-on deck after injuries plagued the Miners in its last game against UNLV last weekend.
Injuries may haunt the Miners again in Friday’s matchup. Starting quarterback Gavin Hardison’s status for Louisiana Tech is in flux, per sources.
Even with more hands-deck, those hands will be full as LA Tech is a program that has historically given UTEP problems on the gridiron. LA Tech leads the all-time series with a 15-3-1 record and has won nine of the last 10 meetings. UTEP’s last win over LA Tech came in 2021 when the Miners beat the Bulldogs to punch their ticket to a bowl game.
LA Tech has lost a pair in a row after coming up a few touchdowns short at Big Ten program Nebraska 28-14 on Sept. 23.
The big question right now surrounding LA Tech on Friday night is ‘who will start at quarterback?’.
LA Tech had Jack Turner make his first career start at QB in its last game against Nebraska after starting quarterback Hank Bachmeier left the North Texas game on Sept. 16 early due to an injury.
Per multiple reports, Bachmeier suffered a right shoulder injury.
LA Tech head coach Sonny Cumbie provided an update to media on Bachmeier on Tuesday saying the team will see how he throws on Wednesday night and Thursday, and we’ll figure out what’s next as they go through the week.
Regardless of who starts at QB for the Bulldogs, UTEP is preparing for both and are aiming to snap its three-game losing streak.
UTEP will look to get back even when it comes to its CUSA record this season. Meanwhile, LA Tech will look to grab its first win on the road in three years. LA Tech’s last road game win came on Dec. 3, 2020 against North Texas.
UTEP and LA Tech will face off against each other at the Sun Bowl on Friday, Sept. 26. Kickoff is slated for 7:00 p.m. MT. You can listen to the game on 600 ESPN El Paso. The game will also be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.