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UTEP Kicks Off 2012 Football Season Against Oklahoma

Mike Price
UTEP head football coach Mike Price wanted a fan attraction to kick off the 2012 season. (Photo by Steve Kaplowitz)

It’s official. Mike Price said he wanted a huge football game for the UTEP home opener and now he has it. The Miners released their 2012 football schedule, which opens up with the Oklahoma Sooners at the Sun Bowl. The game will be played on Saturday, September 1st. Fan reaction has been mixed. Some El Pasoans are already predicting a blowout for the home opener. Those are probably the same people that predicted a similar outcome when the Miners hosted both Texas and Texas Tech. UTEP hung tough in both of those games, and took Tech to overtime in one of the most exciting games of the Mike Price era. I think the announcement is a great opportunity for the UTEP program. The OU game will be a sellout, the team will be fired out, and the Sun Bowl will be a true home field advantage for the Miners. Just imagine how many Longhorns and Red Raiders fans will be there just to root against the Sooners. Here is the official school release with the rest of the 2012 schedule. 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

February 15, 2012

Contact: Jeff Darby

UTEP to Kick Off 2012 Football Season at Home Versus Oklahoma

EL PASO, TEXAS – UTEP’s 2012 football schedule, highlighted by a first-time visit from perennial national power Oklahoma, has been finalized.  The Miners will take on the Sooners on Sept. 1 in the Sun Bowl as they christen their 95th year on the gridiron.  Two weeks later, on Sept. 15, UTEP will host long-time rival NM State as the “Battle of I-10” returns to El Paso.

UTEP will play six games against teams that appeared in bowl games last season – Oklahoma, Wisconsin, SMU, Tulsa, Houston and Southern Miss – with four of the six on the road.  The Miners will face four schools coming off 10-win seasons.

“It’s the opportunity of a lifetime,” said UTEP’s Mike Price, the seventh-winningest active FBS coach and one of two coaches to lead the Miners to three bowl games.  “It’s the most competitive schedule we’ve had since I’ve been here.  It’s where we want to be.  Our players are really jacked up about it, and our fans should be excited.”

In addition to hosting Oklahoma and NMSU, the Miners will also battle SMU, Tulane, UCF and Rice on their home turf this fall.

Oklahoma leads the nation in number of 10-win (33) and 11-win (20) seasons, and the Sooners rank third all-time in winning percentage (.718).  Oklahoma has won seven national championships and made 45 bowl appearances.  OU finished 10-3 last season led by quarterback Landry Jones.  The Artesia, N.M. native enters his final year at the helm of the Sooner offense.

UTEP and Oklahoma have faced one another twice previously, both in Norman during the 2000 and 2002 seasons.

Oklahoma becomes the fourth Big 12 team to play in the Sun Bowl since coach Price’s arrival in 2004, joining Texas Tech in 2006, Texas in 2008 and Kansas in 2009.

“It’s tremendous for our school, our team and our community to play against these types of teams in El Paso,” Price said.  “Our home schedule is just awesome.”

Following the opener versus the Sooners, UTEP will play at Mississippi of the Southeastern Conference on Sept. 8.   The Miners and the Rebels will square off for the first time since the 1967 Sun Bowl, won by UTEP 14-7.

UTEP will return to El Paso for the NMSU clash on Sept. 15.  It will mark the 90th meeting between the Miners and the Aggies.

The Miners will complete their non-conference slate at Wisconsin on Sept. 22 as they face a Big Ten team for the first time since 1986, and Wisconsin for the initial occasion.  The Badgers were 11-3 in 2011 and lost to Oregon, 45-38, in the highest-scoring Rose Bowl ever.

UTEP’s C-USA schedule features home games versus SMU (Oct. 6), Tulane (Oct. 20), UCF (Nov. 10) and Rice (Nov. 24).  The Miners will play at East Carolina (Sept. 29), Tulsa (Oct. 13), Houston (Oct. 27) and Southern Miss (Nov. 17).

For the first time since 2002, the Miners will not play back-to-back home games.  They will be on the road for consecutive contests once, at Wisconsin (Sept. 22) and East Carolina (Sept. 29).  The latter is their C-USA opener.  UTEP will be on the road for three of its first five league games.

The Miners return 45 lettermen and 13 starters from a 2011 squad that fell five points shy of bowl contention.  Among the returnees are senior quarterback Nick Lamaison (1,718 yards passing in ’11) and senior wide receiver Mike Edwards (team-high 657 yards).  The defense will be bolstered by the return of linebacker Jamie Irving, who missed the entire 2011 campaign due to injury.  Irving ranked second on the team with 79 tackles in 2010.

Season ticket information is forthcoming.

2012 UTEP Football Schedule 

Date  Opponent                2011 Record

Sept. 1     Oklahoma                10-3

Sept. 8     at Mississippi                2-10

Sept. 15    NM State                4-9

Sept. 22    at Wisconsin                  11-3 

Sept. 29    at East Carolina*       5-7

Oct. 6      SMU*                    8-5

Oct. 13     at Tulsa*               8-5

Oct. 20     Tulane*                 2-11

Oct. 27     at Houston*             13-1

Nov. 10     UCF*                    5-7

Nov. 17     at Southern Miss*       12-2

Nov. 24     Rice*                   4-8

* Indicates Conference USA game

All dates subject to change

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