The 2011 UTEP Football season begins tonight at the Sun Bowl with the Miners and Stony Brook. Expect close to 30,000 fans tonight to watch the season opener for both teams. Here are some keys to victory for UTEP.

 1. New quarterback Nick Lamison. The 6-1, 190 pound junior begins his first season at UTEP after two different stints at Mount SAC junior college in California. Lamison has a strong arm, good instincts, and has shown strong leadership skills despite only being at UTEP for a little more than 6 months. Lamison will need to get off to a strong start to get his confidence going. The good news is that Stony Brook is a small unit defensively.

2. The Miners offensive line will need to stay healthy. This should probably be the number one key for UTEP each game. Mike Price's offensive line lacks depth and is banged up to begin the season. In order for Lamison to get comfortable, he will need time to operate under center. The O-Line is also crucial for UTEP's running backs to control the game on the ground.

3. Keep the Miners' defense off the field. Depite being a 1-AA opponent, Stony Brook is a very big team on offense, and their line could give UTEP some trouble. Defensive coordinator Andre Patterson has done a good job with his unit, but they usually tire late in games. Aslong as UTEP's offense can establish time of possession, their defense should be fine. 
Steve's prediction: I would not be surprised if UTEP starts slow tonight, especially considering all of their newcomers. I do think the Miners will wear down their weaker opponent from Long Island in the second half, and win easily 31-13.