UTEP 19 – LA Tech 3: Miners Become Bowl Eligible in a Huge Win
Rejoice Miner fans. UTEP is bowl eligible for the first time since 2014.
They did it in an impressive fashion by dominating LA Tech, 19-3, in front of 18,468 spirited fans at the Sun Bowl on Saturday. UTEP is now 6-1, 3-0 C-USA heading into a bye week with a ton of momentum.
“The performance by the defense might be the best I’ve ever seen in a football game that I’ve been involved in,” UTEP coach Dana Dimel said. “I’m excited for the guys. LA Tech had two weeks to prepare for us, and we overcame all of that.”
The defense for the Miners played its best performance in years.
Following a 14-0 lead by the Miners in the first quarter thanks to a pair of Deion Hankins rushing touchdowns, the UTEP defense was tasked to keep the lead intact. They did more than enough to secure the win for the Miners tonight.
The defense held LA Tech to just 278 yards of total offense. Despite driving into UTEP territory on five separate occasions, LA Tech failed to score more than a field goal on all of those drives. UTEP finished with three interceptions, a safety, one turnover on downs and held LA Tech to just 3-of-14 on third downs. LA Tech's three points were the fewest points in a C-USA game throughout the program's history.
Credit defensive end Jadrian Taylor and his 3.5 sacks on Saturday night. He helped lead the charge for the defense. The trio of players that snagged interceptions included linebacker Tyrice Knight, cornerback Torrey Richardson and safety Tyson Wilson.
“I’m really proud of the defense and really proud of the way the offense took it to them early,” Dimel said. “We had 36:43 of possession time. That’s who we are and what we do.”
To wrap up the first half, Jalen Rudolph was able to tackle Bulldogs running back Marcus Williams Jr. for a safety to put UTEP up 16-0. LA Tech hit a field goal before the end of the half to make it 16-3 at the break.
Then, UTEP was able to extend its lead thanks to a 41-yard field goal at the end of the third quarter. The Miner defense closed out the game in a commanding fashion, holding LA Tech scoreless in the second half.
Quarterback Gavin Hardison finished 19-of-29 for 283 yards and an interception. Deion Hankins (2) and Ronald Awatt (1) each fumbled on the night. Jacob Cowing led the way among the receivers with nine catches for a whopping 166 yards.
Up next: UTEP (6-1) will face Florida Atlantic in Florida on Saturday, Oct. 30.