Football Recap: UTEP vs NMSU Battle of I-10

The UTEP Miners Football team defeated the New Mexico State Aggies, by the score of 20-13 in the 99th edition of the Battle of I-10.

The Miners had to hold off their biggest rival late in the fourth quarter to get the 59th victory against the Aggies.

New Mexico State came back in the second half to make it a ball game after being shut out in the first half. Ultimately a fumble by the Aggies in the red zone with only seconds spare would seal the victory for the Miners giving them their first victory of the 2022 season.

Here’s what happened

  • UTEP scored on their opening drive to open the scoreline in the Battle of I-10. The Miners took the ball 63-yards over 17 plays and came away with a 29-yard field goal to take an early 3-0 lead. 
  • The dream start to the Miners rivalry game continued when the defense forced a turnover in their first defensive effort by way of an interception. Tyrice Knight was the UTEP player on the interception.
  • The Miners scored on two more occasions to take a 17-0 lead into the locker room at halftime. They scored two touchdowns in less than 2 minutes. The first a 9-yard pass from Gavin Hardison to Tyrin Smith. Then Ronald Awatt rushed the ball from 22-yards out.
  • The visiting Aggies got on the board in the third quarter on a 14-yard run by quarterback Diego Pavia.
  • NMSU went on to score a couple of more times in the second half, outscoring the Miners 13 to three in the second half.   

What was said

After the game head coach for both teams spoke with the media. NMSU head coach Jerry Kill said his team played hard and felt that they might have left 14-17 points out on the field. Despite being shutout in the first, the Aggies head coach said his coaching staff didn’t panic and simply asked them to “do their job”. Kill said he told them, “We’ll be fine, we just have to play the second half like we didn’t play the first half and don’t pay attention to the scoreboard.”

At the end of the night, that advice went a long way for the Aggies.

Meanwhile, UTEP head coach Dana Dimel was just happy to get the win even though his team complicated things for itself in the second half. Dimel said, “You never ever sour on a win because they are hard to get but you also critique each and every play and critique everything you’re doing; you figure out what we can do better. So it’s that happy median where you enjoy the victory, have fun with that part and then you get back to work on Monday.”      

What’s next

The Miners will now travel up I-25 to face the New Mexico Lobos. The Lobos are coming off a 31-14 loss at home to Boise State on Friday night. They are 1-1 thus far this season. The game will be televised on the Mountain West Network. 

Author: Joe Rodriguez  – El Paso Herald Post

Rodriguez is a life long El Pasoan. Joe has covered sports locally across the Borderland since 2007 for various media outlet both in El Paso and Ciudad Juarez as a personal passion as he is a professional in the world of healthcare (Physiatry). His favorite sports include soccer, auto racing, golf and horse racing.

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