UTEP turns the page on UTSA # 16 in C-USA West Division showdown


EL PASO, TX (KTSM) – UTEP’s 3-point loss to Florida Atlantic last weekend was less than ideal, but don’t expect the miners to linger. In fact, UTEP (6-2, 3-1) have already turned the page of their crucial US Conference West Division clash against No. 16 UTSA (8-0. 4 -0) Saturday at Sun Bowl Stadium.

“What I said to the guys after the game [at FAU] in the locker room is that the loss does not make this match [against UTSA] less important – that makes it more important, ”said UTEP head football coach Dana Dimel. “If we’re going to have a chance at a conference championship, this game becomes really important for us to do that. The challenge is there with them being an undefeated team. They have played very well all season. They’ve been very consistent with what they’ve done and they’re playing really good football with what they’ve done.

The loss to FAU did not suit UTEP, and the team’s consensus following their first practice of the week on Monday was that they still had something to prove to the college football world.

“We come into this week with a big chip on our shoulder,” said junior running back Ronald Awatt. “After that [FAU] game, we have people saying, “UTEP is not all that”, and we have one of the best teams in the country coming up. We need to take this next step. We have to learn from the mistakes we made in the last game.

Saturday’s game will be televised on ESPN2 and the Miners expect their biggest crowd of the season. UTEP last hosted a ranked team in 2012 when the No.4 from Oklahoma arrived in town. The Miners last beat a ranked home opponent in 2009 when they beat No.12 Houston at Sun Bowl Stadium.

“It’s a fun game for us, but it’s a big challenge,” said sophomore quarterback Gavin Hardison. “We’re really excited for this, and I hope we have as many people as possible for this game. We want to make sure it’s noisy. It’s an exciting challenge for us, but I think we’ll be ready.

The Sun Bowl kicks off at 8:15 p.m. MT.

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