Low in the Standings, But Not in the Stands: UTEP Ranks 1st in CUSA Attendance
Despite having the second-worst record in the conference, the UTEP football team is leading CUSA in average attendance through week four of the season.
The Sun Bowl recorded 28,042 fans on Saturday, a game in which the Miners entered at 1-3 on the season against UNLV. The Rebels handed UTEP its first home non-conference loss since their 2019 defeat to Nevada with a 45-28 win.
"We have some opportunities to win games, but we're not making the plays that turn a game," said head coach Dana Dimel at his weekly press conference ahead of LA Tech on Friday. "Our opponents are making the plays, or we're making the mistakes that turn a game that are fine line mistakes."
The Miners are second-worst in CUSA in scoring offense (17.4 points per game) and third-worst in total defense (403.2 yards allowed per game). They have the worst turnover margin in the conference (-7) and rank near the bottom in the league for sacks against (14), penalties (69 penalty yards per game) and opponent third down conversions (49%).
CUSA average attendance through four weeks:
- UTEP: 29,390
- Sam Houston: 25,121
- Jacksonville State: 20,075
- Liberty: 19,467
- Middle Tennessee: 18,206
- Western Kentucky: 18,075
- LA Tech: 17,628
- FIU: 16,690
- NM State: 16,650
Yet, the fans showed up last Saturday and witnessed the disappointing loss to UNLV, a game that could've put UTEP in a better position heading into the full stretch of CUSA play. The Miners have an upcoming Friday home matchup against LA Tech (Sept. 29), a game that could see a sharp decline in fan attendance.
Then, UTEP has a winnable October slate at FIU (Oct. 11), home against NM State (Oct. 18) and away at Sam Houston State (Oct. 25).
But is it too late for the fans to care?
Following the loss to UNLV, fans took to MinerTalk to voice their frustrations on the program. Most blamed the coaching staff and called for a change in leadership. Other fans pointed the finger of blame at quarterback Gavin Hardison, who had three interceptions in the loss. Even some Miner faithful said they are completely checked out for the remainder of the season.
UTEP hosts LA Tech Friday at 7 p.m. 600 ESPN El Paso will have the MinerTalk pregame show live at The District West (3233 N. Mesa) ahead of kickoff starting at 4 with Happy Hour specials leading to the game. At 6, our coverage of UTEP football begins with the countdown to kickoff show. Following the game, we will have MinerTalk on 600 ESPN El Paso.