Photo by Ruben R. Ramirez – El Paso Herald Post
The UTEP Miners football team suffered their third defeat of the 2021 season losing to the nationally ranked UTSA Roadrunners by the score of 44-23 Saturday night in the Sun Bowl.
As a result, the Miners fall to 6-3 overall and 3-2 in C-USA play, while the undefeated season for the Roadrunners continues (8-0,4-0).
A crowd of 31,658 packed the Sun Bowl for what was billed as the biggest game of the year for UTEP, but it was not meant to be as UTSA proved to be too much for the Miners over the course of 60 minutes of football.
The Miners did have their sparks at times throughout the night and looked more than competitive but it was not nearly enough to overcome the quality the Roadrunners displayed from beginning to end.
Here’s what happened
- UTSA scored on the second play of the game from scrimmage when Sincere McCormick broke a run for a 75-yard touchdown run only 17 seconds into the game. The Roadrunners tacked on three field goals (from 51, 41, and 33 yards out) before the first quarter came to an end.
- The only response UTEP had for UTSA was a touchdown of their own with 5:21 left in the opening quarter. Gavin Hardison connected with Tyrin Smith for a 35-yard TD pass with. The extra point attempt from Gavin Baechle was no good. The score was 16-6 to end the first quarter.
- The Roadrunners extended their lead in the second quarter by scoring twice as UTEP could only muster up a field goal making the score 30-7 at halftime.
- The second half got off to a promising start for the Miners as they took the ball 71-yards in 12 plays to the UTSA 4 yard line but came up empty on a fourth & goal attempt. UTEP would eventually score on the ensuing possession when Hardison once again found Smith, this time for a 42-yard touchdown pass. UTSA only scored once in the third quarter on a touchdown pass.
- UTEP scored one more time in the fourth quarter when Hardison connected with Justin Garrett for a 7-yard touchdown pass. The Roadrunners added a touchdown of their own to close out the game.
What was said
After the game, UTEP head coach Dana Dimel was proud of the effort his team gave against a top 20 team in the nation.
Dimel said, “UTSA played really well, the Miners did not play well enough to match what they brought to the table tonight. But again, I thought when you watched us play with our physicality, we were still flying around and playing with great physicality, but they just seemed to be making the plays.”
“As we leave this game I feel we got a lot better. We played against a very good team, we’re a good team as well and we got better for the loss, we learned and there are things to gather from it and things we can look at and get fixed and move on to the next game,” he said.
Dimel finished by saying, “I think our team got more mature and learned from the loss and got better because of it.”
What’s next for the Miners
The Miners will now turn the page on this defeat and look forward to facing North Texas in Denton next weekend. UTEP will be looking to pick up its seventh win of the season against a team that is 2-6 overall and 1-3 in conference play.
This matchup shapes up, on paper at least, to be a game where UTEP can get back on the winning track.
The game is scheduled for Saturday, November 13. Kickoff is scheduled for 2 p.m. MT and will be televised nationally via streaming on ESPN+.
Author: Joe Rodriguez | Photos by Ruben R. Ramirez – 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.”