The UTEP Miners stared their 2021 season in an impressive fashion as they dominated the New Mexico State Aggies 30-3 Saturday Night at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
The talk during camp is that this Miners team was going to be better than any other during Dana Dimel’s tenure and this is the first time the team has depth at every position.
UTEP was even favored to win by 10 points, so with expectations high on this game for the Miners to deliver the question was would the Miners deliver?
The Miners answered that question 10:37 into the game when RB Deon Hankins scored on a 5 yd TD run that gave the Miners a 7-0 lead. That capped a drive that included a 72 yd pass form QB Gavin Hardison to Jacob Cowing.
The Miners took advantage of a NSMU fumble and added a Gavin Baechle FG giving them a 10-0 lead.
UTEP added more points to the board when RB Ronald Awatt scored on a career long 34 run. The touchdown gave the Miners a 17-0 lead after the first quarter.
In the second quarter, the Aggies would score their first points of the season on a 27 yd FG by Ethan Albertson.
For the Miners the only points the scored in the 2nd quarter was a Baechle FG right at time expired for the half.
The Miners had a 20-3 halftime lead, both the offense and defense playing well, so the thing to do was to continue to dominate in the 2nd half and that’s exactly what UTEP did.
On their first drive of the second half, they continued being aggressive on offense as Hardison connected with Cowing for a 59 yd TD pass making the score 27-3. That score would be the one that would force the Aggie fans to start to file out of the stadium.
Another Baechle FG would give the Miners a 30-3 lead and that would be the final score of the game. In the fourth quarter the Miners continued to stop the Aggies from scoring any point and they turned to the running game to eat up the clock.
The Miners had a 452 yards of total offense and the defense held the Aggies to 190 of total offense.
As good as the Miners played they still had a lot of penalties. That’s one thing that Coach Dimel will have the team work on.
Here’s what Dimel said after the game:
“Obviously, I am pleased get to get a win in our first game,” head coach Dana Dimel said. “I think it’s really important to play an archrival in an opening game. I like the outcome of what happened. Anytime you get a road victory, you’re super happy as a coach. For a first game, it was frenetic but it wasn’t frenetic in the way that really worries you as the head coach. It wasn’t like we’re having personnel issues or we’re doing silly mistakes or turnovers, it wasn’t like we were giving up a lot of big plays defensively and then just turning guys scot free. We did a time or two, but I have a lot of respect for NM State’s offense. They do a great job and they are a hard team to keep from scoring points.”
With the Miners wining the Battle of I-10 they claimed the Brass Spittoon and Silver Spade traveling trophies for the first time since 2016.
Next Saturday, Sept. 4 the Miners have their home opener versus Bethune-Cookman at the Sun Bowl and will kick off at 7 p.m. MT