UTEP football (2-1) secured its second win of the year in a 17-13 victory against Abilene Christian (0-1) on Saturday night, moving to 2-1 for the first time since 2014.
The Miners turned defense into offense in the second quarter following a fumble recovery by junior defensive back Dennis Barnes.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Gavin Hardison unloaded a 51-yard pass to sophomore wide receiver Jacob Cowing to set up senior running back Josh Fields for a touchdown – his first since 2017 – giving the Miners the lead for the first time in the game, 7-3. Cowing also set a career-high with eight receptions in his third career 100-yard game.
A 13-play, 7:46 drive beginning at the end of the third quarter, extending into the fourth quarter, led by Hardison and a methodical Miner rushing attack, set up redshirt junior Ronald Awatt for his first career rushing touchdown to make it 17-10. UTEP dominated the time of possession in the second half for 19:53 as opposed to just 10:04 in the first half.
On that drive, Hardison was 5-7 passing for 64 yards including a 35-yard bomb to redshirt senior wide receiver Justin Garrett. After being held scoreless on 1-7 passing in the first quarter, Hardison went 14-18 for 180 yards to finish the night.
The UTEP defense stood tall in the red zone on the ensuing ACU drive with a sack from redshirt sophomore defensive end Praise Amaewhule which inevitably held the Wildcats to three points.
Awatt and Fields traded rushing duties on the final drive, splitting seven carries between them to ice the game for the Miners
Fields, who ran for a total of 78 yards on 17 carries, averaged 7.3 yards on his final six rushes for 44 yards in crunch time.
Defensively, redshirt sophomore defensive end Praise Amaewhule picked up his first sack of the season. Linebacker Stephen Forester led the Miners with 7 tackles on the night (5 solo) and one tackle for loss.
UTEP returns to action on Saturday, September 26, as the Miners travel to Monroe, Louisiana, to take on ULM at Malone Stadium. Kickoff is set for 1:30 p.m. MT on ESPNU.
For complete coverage of UTEP Football, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPFB (Twitter/Instagram) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.
Author: Vinny Lavalsiti – UTEP | Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – El Paso Herald Post