UTEP football is 0-25-1 all-time in eastern time zone games.

This has to be one of the most bizarre records that UTEP holds in any sport. The Miners are historically awful when it comes to traveling against teams in the eastern time zone. This week, the Miners (6-1, 3-0 C-USA) will get a chance to snap this streak when they face Florida Atlantic (4-3, 2-1) on Saturday with a 4 p.m. kickoff.

So before fans get ahead of everything and look at the UTSA game next Saturday as a potential marquee Group of 5 matchup (College Gameday possibilities, anyone?), the Miners must focus on a tough FAU squad.

Opening betting line

The Miners-Owls opening line pins the visiting UTEP squad as 12-point underdogs. The total points is set at 47.5 points.

FAU has scored 47.5 points in three of their seven games, while UTEP games have gone over 47.5 points only twice this year. The Miners have five wins against the spread this year. However, they haven’t covered the spread this year when they have been underdogs by 12+ points.

“We love being underdogs,” defensive end Praise Amaewhule said. “UTEP’s been the underdogs their whole life. We embrace that and let us motivate us during the week of practice. Love being the underdog.”

Early notes on UTEP 

The Miners will enter Saturday’s contest following a bye week. Most recently, the Miners topped LA Tech 19-3 at home to become bowl eligible for the first time since 2014. The defense has been UTEP’s strongpoint all year long. They allowed LA Tech to put up just 278 yards of offense, including four team sacks (3.5 by Jadrian Taylor), forced three interceptions and didn’t allow a single touchdown in the win.

UTEP wide receiver Jacob Cowing (775 receiving yards) is 8th in FBS for most receiving yards and second in C-USA. The Miner defense is ranked 9th in the country (297.4 yards per game) for total defense and the defense is ranked fourth in red zone defense (17-of-27 scoring rate by opponents).

First look at FAU 

After dropping a tough game to UAB (31-14), the Owls rebounded in a forceful way with a commanding 38-9 win at Charlotte. Saturday’s home game against the Miners will be homecoming for FAU.

The team averages 263 passing and 173 rushing yards per game (436.9 total yards per game). Teams are averaging 372 yards of offense against the FAU defense. Quarterback N’Kosi Perry, who spent three seasons at Miami, is the leader of this group. He has thrown for 1,696 passing yards and 14 touchdowns, with four interceptions and a 61% completion percentage. Johnny Ford (403 yards) and Malcolm Davidson (240 yards) pace the Owls on the ground. They have three receivers that have over 270 yards of receiving on the team—LaJohntay Wester (398 yards, 3 TDs), Je’Quan Burton (341 yards, 2 TDs) and Brandon Robinson (278 yards, 2 TDs).

Against Charlotte, the 49ers led the Owls at the half, 9-7. Out of halftime, FAU scored touchdowns on back-to-back offensive series. Their 21 points in the third quarter helped to separate themselves over Charlotte. The defense pitched a shutout to close the game, giving the Owls a 38-9 win. Perry had an 81.8% completion in the win, going 9-for-11 for 225 yards and three touchdowns. They had 10 different rushers that combined for 202 yards. The FAU defense held Charlotte to only 98 yards in the second half, including eight total tackles for losses and forced three turnovers.

Kickoff between the teams is set for 4 p.m. MT in Boca Raton. The game will be seen on ESPN+ and can be heard on 600 ESPN El Paso, with MinerTalk following the game.

UTEP Beats LA Tech 19-3 to Become Bowl Eligible