UTEP running back and El Paso product Deion Hankins powered the Miner rushing attack and the UTEP defense posted a second-half shutout to propel the Miners to their first win of the 2020 season over Stephen F. Austin on Saturday night at the Sun Bowl.
Hankins, a redshirt freshman running back for the Miners, set career-highs with two touchdowns and 113 rushing yards in UTEP’s 24-14 victory over Stephen F. Austin, on Saturday night.
Hankins’ two twenty-plus yard rushes, averaging 6.6 yards per carry, helped the Miners to 367 all-purpose yards.
A four-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Gavin Hardison to Justin Garrett with 2:08 left in the second quarter cut the Lumberjack lead to four points, 14-10. UTEP’s defense then returned the favor to give the Miners the momentum for the rest of the game.
Senior safety Dy’vonne Inyang punched the ball out of SFA receiver Jeremiah Miller’s mitts which was then picked up by safety Justin Prince and dashed sixteen yards to the UTEP redzone.
Hankins then rammed through two defenders on a 10-yard power run for six points, completing the 14-point unanswered comeback to
give UTEP a 17-14 lead at the end of the second quarter and the lead for the rest of the contest.
Inyang also racked up a career-high in tackles (6) to go alongside his forced fumble.
Redshirt senior cornerback Duron Lowe then eased the Lumberjack comeback with an interception with eight minutes left in the fourth quarter in SFA’s endzone – the first pick of his career.
In the fourth, following a 29-yard Hardison pass to Garrett, Hankins barreled downfield for career-long 41-yard rush to put the Miners on the six-yard line. Two more rushes later, Hankins found paydirt and UTEP scored the final seven points of the day.
In his first career game as a starter under center, Hardison completed passes to five receivers for a career-high 212 yards. Overall, Hardison was 17-for-28 passing for 212 yards and a touchdown.
After a record-breaking freshman season, sophomore wide receiver Jacob Cowing hauled in seven receptions for a career-high 116 yards. Garrett also added five catches for 52 yards and a touchdown on the night.
Hankins and Cowing were the first receiver-running back duo to go over the century mark, respectively, since 2013 when running back Aaron Jones (186) and wide receiver Ian Hamilton (108) accomplished the feat against Rice.
UTEP returns to action next Saturday, Sept. 12, when the Miners travel to take on the Texas Longhorns in Austin. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. MT.
Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta – El Paso Herald Post