UTEP vs. Texas: Miners Prepare for Tough Task in the Longhorns
Picking up a $1.4 million check and staying healthy.
Those are the top two priorities for the UTEP football team going into Saturday's matchup against Texas. Granted, head coach Dana Dimel would probably completely disagree.
As a former offensive coordinator for Kansas State, Dimel knows the Texas Longhorns all too well. But as the Miners (1-0) prepare for their first road game of the season, there is a lot of unfamiliarity about the Horns given the circumstances that lie ahead.
It's simple too. The Miners have a full 60 minutes of film out that Texas can dissect, plan and scout for. But the Longhorns haven't kicked off their season yet. They have a new-look defense under first-year defensive coordinator Chris Ash, making it extremely difficult for UTEP to gameplan for.
The No. 14 ranked Longhorns enter Saturday's contest as the 42.5-point favorites against UTEP. Texas head coach Tom Herman is undefeated against Group of 5 schools as a head coach (8-0). The last time the two teams met was in 2016 when the Longhorns beat the Miners 41-7. They are 5-0 all-time against UTEP.
Texas is coming off a 38-10 against Utah in the Alamo Bowl, which puts Herman at 3-0 in bowl games with the Horns.
The Miners (1-0) are coming off their 24-14 win over Stephen F. Austin (FCS) for their season opener. The Miners fell behind 14-3 against the Lumberjacks in the opening half but put together three unanswered touchdowns to close out the game.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Gavin Hardison made his first start as a Miner against SFA, where he completed 17-of-28 passes for 212 yards, a touchdown and an interception. The Hobbs, NM. native was one of just 14 quarterbacks in the country who made their first start this season.
Hardison's weapons put up some good numbers on offense too. Redshirt freshman running back Deion Hankins raced away with 113 rushing yards and a touchdown in the game. Dynamic wideout duo in sophomore Jacob Cowing (116 receiving yards) and senior Justin Garrett (52 receiving yards, one touchdown) combined for 12 catches for 168 receiving yards.
Defensively, senior cornerback Duron Lowe (interception) and Dy'Vonne Inyang (forced fumble) led the way to create a pair of turnovers last Saturday. Inyang led the Miners with six total tackles, followed by linebacker Stephen Forester (5) and cornerback Dennis Barnes (5).
Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. MT at Texas Memorial Stadium and you can listen to all the coverage right here on 600 ESPN El Paso.