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Home | Tag Archives: utep football (page 9)

Tag Archives: utep football

Diego Sanchez: My View of the UTEP Miners and the City of El Paso

The Sun City, out west in the great state of Texas is making some noise in C-USA. With probably the most disappointing season behind them. The Miners went 0-12 in 2017. They saw their Coach Sean Kugler step down, and not even the almighty Mike Price could bring them back from the dead. UTEP ranked #130 out of 130 FBS Division-1 schools.

With that being said, why is El Paso so excited for the 2018 season? There hasn’t been such big hype like this for Miner football in a long time,

At the beginning of last season, it was clear that the QB battle was between Zack Greenlee and Ryan Metz. That battle quickly gassed out throughout the season when Greenlee posted 47.7% completion rate compared to Metz 48.9% completion rate in 2017. Yard comparison wasn’t much better with Zack racking up a total of 818 and Ryan with 652. The numbers were not good, and the miners record showed it.

RB Joshua Fields a freshmen from Americas High School in El Paso Texas. Younger brother of Boise States RB Jack Fields. Joshua had an interesting season, with not alot of touches at RB but clearly the first option, Fields ended up with 359 yards on 88 attempts with only 2 rushing TDs. If Joshua wants to continue being the star running back, he has some big shoes to fill.

Compared to Aaron Jones freshmen season stats of 811 yards on 155 attempts and 4 touchdowns. Fields has some improvements to make, but some help is on the way for UTEP regarding the offensive line. This can make Joshua Fields very happy. Look for Fields to have a huge 2018 season

The Miners made alot of noise this off-season when – surprisingly – Kai Locksley, JUCO QB from Iowa Western committed to UTEP. Kai numbers at Iowa Western were great. Passing yards: 2,238 with a average of 186.5 per game. Also adding 705 rushing yards in the season, and a total of 40 touchdowns. He was a former ESPN top 300 QB in the class of 2015 and had big dogs like Florida State, Texas, Alabama, Auburn, Ohio State, Ole miss, Clemson and more knocking at his door.

After committing to Florida State, he switched over to Texas, were his lack of playing time and disagreement when moved over to WR reached it’s limit, he didn’t even see a snap on the field. He decided JUCO was the best choice, committed to Arizona Western were again didn’t see much playing time and transferred over to Iowa Western were he found his grove in 2017, being named the Offensive MVP in the Graphics Edge Bowl win over #5 Northwest Mississippi, posting 274 yards and adding 34 rushing and a TD. He gives UTEP something to look forward at QB, were they need a lot of improvement.

Somebody that’s gonna be protecting Kai is JUCO standout from Tyler, Texas. His name is Tres Barboza. Offensive tackle standing at 6’5″ 295 lbs, I had a chance to speak with him and ask him some questions:

1)Utep is coming off one of its worst seasons, yet Coach Canales and Coach Dimel have been able to get the fans intrigued and excited about recruits like yourself. What are your expectations for the 2018 season?

Tres: “Coach Dimel and the new staff all came from great programs and they bring an energy that UTEP fans have been waiting for and I know with a QB like Kai and the rest of the recruits. UTEP fans are in for a surprise!

2)Utep is a beautiful campus, what was your favorite part?

Tres: My favorite thing about UTEP is the way the Buildings are designed brings out a Mexican culture vibe and myself being from that culture that was something I noticed off the top.

3) Fans and Miner insiders are predicting huge attendance numbers for the opening game of 2018, what do you think is a major key to get fans back into the SunBowl on a regular basis?

Tres: Win Games.

Win games, that’s all it takes. Tres Barboza will be a good addition to the offensive line in 2018, with Will Hernandez leaving for the NFL Draft.

Will Hernandez, most have him as the top Guard prospect just behind Quenton Nelson of Notre Dame. Hernandez is a monster standing at 6’3″ and 330 lbs. His power and strength overshine the competition. Will is on all 32 teams draft boards according to NFL draft insiders, but the team that has been making the most noise, and who Hernandez recently spoke with is the Dallas Cowboys. The Cowboys have an opening coming up in 2018 at left guard with Jonathan Cooper headed for free agency. Will was asked what it would mean to play for the Cowboys in a recent interview after a Senior Bowl practice, his response:

“I’d love to. I’d be 100 percent in, loyal to the bone. It’d mean everything to me. It’d be a complete honor. I look up to those guys [on the Cowboys’ offensive line]. Those guys are awesome to watch. I know I’d learn so much from them and become a better player just by playing next to them.”

UTEP has had some of there graduates have some success at the NFL level, most recently RB Aaron Jones, who got a chance as a starter after the injuries to the Packers starting RB. One of his most memorable start for him was against his home state team, the Dallas Cowboys were he ran for 125 yards and 1 TD. The most exciting TD for him came in week 13 against Tampa Bay which was a game winning 20 yard touchdown. Aaron Jones can make his case to be the started in 2018 with a strong off-season and a hot preseason start

There are good things happening at UTEP, recent years of losing records won’t show that on paper, but the people of El Paso, Texas are excited for the 2018 season, rooting for the hometown boys is a tradition, but with attendance down the last recent years, let’s see if they can pack a Sun Bowl stadium that seats 50,000 plus. Conference USA, look out for the Miners.

Will Hernandez Invited to NFL Combine

Former UTEP All-American left guard Will Hernandez has impressed scouts following the 2017 season as he received an invite to the 2018 NFL Scouting Combine. The combine is set for March 2-5 at Lucas Oil Stadium, Center Township, Indiana.

Prospective offensive linemen will get the opportunity to show off their skills on the first day, Friday, March 2. Fans can watch the action on the NFL Network.

The 6-foot-3, 330-pound lineman, who just recently showcased his talents at the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl, has been on multiple NFL franchises’ draft radar.

The Las Vegas, Nev., native will also hope to enhance his resume as he’ll compete at the 2018 State Farm All-Star Football Challenge on Feb. 2 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.

According to CBS Sports Network, Hernandez is the 39th best pro prospect, while he’s ranked the second best offensive guard.

The NFL Draft is April 26-28 and will be held at AT&T Stadium. Hernandez has been projected as being a first-round draft pick.

Hernandez, who was supposed to play on the defensive line at UTEP prior to his 2013 redshirt season, earned multiple accolades on the offensive side of the ball. He started all 49 games during his four-year career (2014-17), protecting the blind side for UTEP quarterbacks.

Hernandez earned All-American honors in back-to-back seasons (2016, 2017) and was also named All-Conference USA first team during those years. Hernandez was named to the 2014 All-C-USA freshman team following UTEP’s winning season and New Mexico Bowl appearance.

2018 Miner Football Schedule Released

Tuesday morning, Conference USA officials released UTEP’s 2018 Football schedule, featuring six home games.

“Our staff and players are really looking forward to the challenge ahead with our 2018 schedule,” said head coach Dana Dimel. “Eight teams on our schedule were bowl-eligible last season as well as a Northern Arizona team that qualified for the FCS playoffs.”

The Miners, coming off their 0-12 record, kick off the Dana Dimel era with a home game against Northern Arizona, then hit the road to Vegas to take on UNLV.

Things heat up by week 3, as the Miners will be taking on another one of college football’s perennial powerhouses – Tennessee – before settling in to take on long-time rival and Arizona Bowl victors New Mexico State in the Sun Bowl.

The rest of the regular season for UTEP  features CUSA match-ups, with a bye week on October 13th.

The full schedule is below


Sept. 8 at UNLV

Sept. 15 at Tennessee


Sept. 29 at UTSA


Oct. 13 Bye

Oct. 20 at Louisiana Tech

Oct. 27 UAB

Nov. 3 at Rice


Nov. 17 at Western Kentucky


**Home games in BOLD

***note from UTEP: It is important to take under consideration that all game are subject to date changes and some dates are expected to move in the coming weeks in order to accommodate national television.

“This is a tremendous schedule for our fans. We have two home games each month,” said Dimel. “I really think our fans will enjoy watching our team compete from start to finish, whether we’re hosting Northern Arizona in the season-opener, playing in Knoxville against Tennessee, or battling down the stretch in November against an exciting C-USA slate that ends with Southern Miss in the Sun Bowl.”

According to the CUSA Website, the 2018 alignment will feature seven teams in the East Division and seven teams in the West Division.  Charlotte, FIU, Florida Atlantic, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion and WKU comprise the East Division, while Louisiana Tech, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, UAB, UTEP and UTSA make up the West Division.

Each school will play every team in its division once for six games, while playing two cross-over opponents from the opposite division.  Each team will reverse the location of its 2017 conference opponents, both inter-division opponents and intra-division foes.

The conference is in the second year of a rotation between cross-division opponents that will rotate every two years until 2024, when each school has played every opponent in the opposite division once home and away.

Dimel Adds Four More to Staff; Will Unveil First Recruiting Class at Signing Day Luncheon

UTEP football head coach Dana Dimel announced the addition of running backs coach Reggie Mitchell, inside wide receivers coach Jake Waters, defensive line/defensive tackles coach Mike Tuiasosopo and cornerbacks coach Remington Rebstock to the staff on Wednesday.

Mitchell brings over 30 years of coaching experience, he previously spent two seasons as Arkansas’ running backs coach. Over his career, Mitchell has coached/recruited 33 players who have been selected in the NFL Draft, including six first round picks.

Prior to Arkansas, Mitchell spent six seasons (2010-15) at Kansas where he was the running backs coach and recruiting coordinator. Mitchell also made three Big Ten stops at Illinois serving as a assistant head coach, recruiting coordinator and running backs coach (2005-09), Michigan State as the wide receivers, running backs and recruiting coordinator coach (2000-19) and running backs coach at Minnesota (1997-98).

“Reggie [Mitchell] brings a wealth of experience and recruiting savvy to our program,” Dimel said. “He’s well versed and well recognized as an outstanding recruiter here in the state of Texas. He’s well known as an excellent coach and developer of running back talent at the highest level of college football.”

Waters comes to UTEP from Iowa State where he served as a graduate assistant for the offense.

The Cyclones finished 7-5 during the regular season, while they averaged 29.9 points per game and 389.3 yards of total offense per contest. Prior to Iowa State Waters spent two seasons as a volunteer quarterbacks coach at Iowa Western CC. Waters played quarterback at Kansas State and was a two-year starter (2013-14) under Dimel.

“Jake [Waters] will bring high energy to our recruiting efforts and has a well-recognized name across the country from the things he’s accomplished as a player in our system,” Dimel said. “He’ll be a great mentor to the players in our program.”

Tuiasosopo brings 20 years of division I football coaching experience to UTEP, he previously served as the special teams quality control assistant at USC which claimed the Pac-12 Conference title for the first time in nine years. Before serving as the special teams quality control assistant, Tuiasosopo served as an offensive consultant for USC in 2016. Prior he was a volunteer football analyst for the Trojans for one season.

Prior to USC, Tuiasosopo coached at UCLA in 2014 as the outside linebackers and special teams coach. He returned to the Pac-12 after coaching at Colorado (defensive line, 2011-12) and the University of Arizona (defensive tackles/line, 2004-10).

“Mike [Tuiasosopo] is a very experienced coach and has been successful developing defensive line talent at various program,” Dimel said. “He’s also well recognized in the recruiting circles across the country and will bring a lot to our program in recruiting efforts throughout Texas, Arizona and the West Coast.”

Rebstock comes to El Paso from Oklahoma State University, where he assisted coaching the defensive secondary as a graduate assistant. During his tenure at Oklahoma State, the Cowboys accomplished three consecutive 10-win seasons for the first time in school history. Rebstock helped guide the Cowboys to three straight post-season bowl games, including wins in the 2017 Camping World Bowl and Alamo Bowl in 2016.

Prior to his time in Stillwater, Rebstock spent five seasons coaching defense in a variety of roles at Kansas State. These roles include assisting with the defensive ends as a student-assistant in 2010 and 2011, working with the Wildcat defensive backs as graduate assistant in 2012, 2013, and 2014, and co-director of recruiting for the Wildcats.

“Remington [Rebstock] will bring great energy to our recruiting efforts and is already established himself in the coaching world as a very talented and very well-rounded coach,” Dimel said. “He’ll assist our program in many aspects will being a mentor to the players in our program.”

The coaching staff will be on the road recruiting from Jan. 12 – Feb. 3. National signing day is slated for Wednesday, Feb. 7.

It also announced on Wednesday that Dimel will introduce his first UTEP football recruiting class at the Miners’ 2018 Signing Day Luncheon on February 7 in the Larry K. Durham Center Hall of Champions.

Fans can come meet coach Dimel and his staff, while getting an exclusive first look at the future of the UTEP football program.

Doors will open at 11:30 a.m., with the program to follow at noon. Tickets are on sale now.  A table of eight is $200, and individual tickets are just $25.  Lunch is included. Call (915) 747-6787 to RSVP by January 31.

Reservations will also be accepted by e-mail (  For more information, please visit

Twenty-Three UTEP Student-Athletes to Graduate on Saturday

Twenty-three past and present UTEP student-athletes will walk across the graduation stage on Saturday and receive their diplomas from the university.

The list includes 11 representatives from the football program, four from men’s track & field, three from women’s track & field, two from softball, and one apiece from men’s basketball, soccer and tennis.

Graduating this weekend will be All-Americans Samantha Hall (track & field) and Will Hernandez (football).

Seventeen graduates hail from the United States, while two come from Jamaica, one from American Samoa, one from Australia, one from Kenya and one from Nigeria.

Ten of the graduates (Adebola Akomolafe, Christian Buckingham, David Jackson, Johnny Jones, Alan Luna, Ademiju Oyebanjo-Odofin, Orion Prescott, Israel Ramsay, Matilda Tench, Trey Touchet) earned placement on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Roll during their careers for posting grade point averages of 3.0 or better.

Touchet was a three-time recipient of a Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal for achieving a GPA of 3.75 or higher.

Adebola Akomolafe (Women’s Track & Field)

Part of the team that won the first indoor and outdoor conference championship in school history … helped the Miners to three consecutive indoor conference titles … registered the eighth-best mark in program history in the hammer throw with 52.22m (171-04) … captain of the women’s team for two seasons … finished her college career with bests of 46.13m (151-4) in the discus, 17.66m (47-11.25) in the weight throw and 52.22m (171-04) in the hammer throw … earned a spot on the 2017 C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Biological Sciences major.


James Bias (Men’s Track & Field)

Part of the team that won the 2014 Conference USA Indoor Championship … ran the anchor leg on the 4x400m relay that took second at the 2014 C-USA Indoor  Championships … part of the 4x400m relay that qualified for the 2017 NCAA Championships, clocking in with a time of 3:03.15 which ranks second in school history … finished his career with personal bests in the 60 (6.87), 100 (10.51), 200 (21.06) and the 400m (47.24) … two-year team captain … Computer Science major.


Christian Buckingham (Football)

The transfer from El Paso Community College played for the Orange and Blue during the 2017 campaign … defensive lineman saw action in the first four games before suffering a season-ending injury … notched four tackles and one quarterback hurry … member of the 2017 Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll …Biology major.


Kristopher Christian (Football)

Member of the Miner football team for three seasons … saw action in eight games during the 2015 season … recorded a tackle on special teams versus UTSA …Criminal Justice major.


Devin Cockrell (Football)

Played and started in 47 games for the Miners … tallied 247 tackles during his career … also totaled 15.5 tackles for loss, 11 pass breakups, eight quarterback hurries, three sacks, three interceptions and one fumble recovery … led all UTEP defensive backs in tackles during the 2016 and 2017 seasons … was named the 2016 Top Gun Player of the Year, awarded to the best special teams performer … as a true freshman, led the team in tackles with 76 … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Zack Greenlee (Football)

Played two seasons for the Miners after transferring from Fresno State … saw action in 17 games, making 11 starts at quarterback … threw for a total of 1,513 yards on 124-of-254 passing with nine touchdowns … during senior campaign, rushed for 114 yards and a pair of scores … threw for over 100 yards in eight contests … opened his UTEP career by throwing for three touchdowns on 15-of-27 passing, with 229 yards and no interceptions during a start and victory over rival NM State … Leadership Studies major.


Miranda Gutierrez (Softball)

Played in 22 games for the Miners … made six starts during her senior season … scored five runs … went 2-for-2 and scored a run during game one against Florida Atlantic … drew a walk and crossed the dish during UTEP’s victory over FAU … scored three runs and connected on three hits against the Owls on Senior Weekend … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Samantha Hall (Women’s Track & Field)

Part of the team that won the first indoor and outdoor conference championship in school history … helped the Miners to three consecutive indoor conference titles … competed at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2015 and 2017 … won the discus throw at the C-USA Outdoor Championships in 2015 and 2017 … set a school record in the discus throw in 2015 with a mark of 58.50m (191-11) … completed her college career with bests of 14.90m (48-10.5) in the shot put and 34.38m (112-9.5) in the javelin … earned All-C-USA First Team honors for the 2015 season … garnered second team All-American accolades during her final season … Economics major.


Will Hernandez (Football)

Started at left guard in every game played (49) since his freshman season in 2014 …

the first Miner offensive lineman to receive Associated Press, CBS Sports and FOX Sports All-American honors … two-time Pro Football Focus First Team All-American … also the first UTEP offensive lineman since 2009 to earn All-Conference USA first team recognition … one of 11 Miners ever to be invited to the prestigious Senior Bowl … appointed the 2016 Pro Football Focus Pass Protector of the Year … named to the 2017 Outland Trophy Watch List … Kinesiology major.


David Jackson (Football)

Member of the Miner football team for three seasons … saw action in 10 games on special teams in 2016 … played in the Miners’ last home game versus LA Tech in 2017 … listed on the 2016 C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll …Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Johnny Jones (Football)

Played in 22 games for UTEP … saw action on defense and special teams … notched a total of 26 tackles, three tackles for loss and one forced fumble … during junior campaign recorded a season-high four stops against Army … two-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Evans Kiprono (Men’s Track & Field)

Competed in both cross country and track and field for UTEP … part of the team that won the 2014 Conference USA Indoor Championship … helped the Miners capture back-to-back conference cross country titles (2015, 2016) … garnered All- Conference USA third team honors in the 10,000m in 2014 … notched an All-C-USA second team honor in the 10,000m in 2015 … finished his career running a personal best 10,000m time of 31:09.16 … helped the Miners finish 11th in the nation at the 2015 NCAA Cross Country Championships … Biological Sciences major.


Alan Luna (Football)

The former walk-on played in 36 games for the Miners … finished collegiate career ranked third on the program’s all-time list for career punts (206) and punt yards (8,910) … 79 punts in 2017 rank tied for fifth on the program’s single-season list, while his 3,483 yards rank fifth on the school’s single-season list … a two-time member of the Ray Guy Award Watch List … during senior season ranked second in Conference USA and fifth in the FBS in punt yards (3,483) … two-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … International Business major.


Brian Madunezim (Football)

Was a two-year football letterwinner, seeing action in 20 games … notched a total of

36 tackles, four quarterback hurries, one forced fumble, one tackle for loss and two

assisted sacks … during the 2016 season played in all 12 games, making six starts

and totaling a career-best 32 tackles … registered a career-high eight tackles against

Army … Computer Science major.


Tommy McCoy (Men’s Track & Field)

Captain of the track and field squad for two seasons (2015, 2016) … helped the men

finish second at the 2014 and 2015 C-USA Outdoor Championships … registered six

top-10 finishes during the 2015 outdoor season … finished his college career with

bests of 53.38 in the 400m hurdles and 51.14 in the 400m … History major.


Ademiju Oyebanjo-Odofin (Men’s Track & Field)

Notched 11 top-10 finishes in the 400m hurdles in his career at UTEP … helped the

Miners to a second place finish at the 2015 C-USA Outdoor Championships … clocked

in with a personal-best time in the 400m hurdles at the Brutus Hamilton Challenge

during his final season, with an effort of 55.39 seconds … finished his career with

personal bests in the 200m (22.71), 400m (51.03) and the 600m (1:26.08) … three-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Construction Management major.


Kiki Pepi (Softball)

Played in 155 games, making 153 starts in three seasons with the Miners … became

the seventh Miner to reach the 100-RBI mark with 103 … ranks second on the

program’s all-time list with 331 career assists … 134 assists in 2016 set a school

record, while her nine assists at FIU in 2016 is a single-game standard … led the

Miners in RBI her last two seasons … Organizational & Corporate Communication



Orion Prescott (Football)

Saw action in all 12 games during the 2016 season … rushed for 14 yards on three

carries … ran for 11 yards on two attempts with a long rush of 10 yards during a

victory over Houston Baptist … tallied a three-yard run during a season-finale win

versus North Texas … two-time member of the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic

Honor Roll … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Israel Ramsay (Women’s Track)

Part of the team that won the first indoor and outdoor conference championship in

school history … helped the Miners to three consecutive indoor conference titles …

team captain for two seasons … competed at the 2015 NCAA West Preliminary

Round in the high jump, long jump and 4x100m relay … competed at the 2017 NCAA

West Preliminary Round in the 4x100m relay … part of the C-USA champion

4x100m relay teams in 2015 and 2017 … finished her college career with bests of

1.76m (5-9.25) in the high jump and 5.95m (19-6.25) in the long jump … earned a

spot on the 2017 C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … Multimedia

Journalism major.


Matilda Tench (Tennis)

Appeared in 111 singles and 103 doubles matches for the Miners, tallying 94 wins …

ranks sixth in UTEP’s all-time record book for career singles wins with 46 … had a

career-high 14 singles wins and 15 doubles victories during the 2014-15 season …

two-time member of the Conference USA Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll …

Kinesiology major.


Bri Thomas (Soccer)

Evolved into one of the top scoring threats in Conference USA while starring for her

hometown Miners … a three-year starter who was used as a defender, midfielder

and forward, she recorded 13 goals and eight assists for 34 points in more than

4,500 minutes of playing time … saved her best for last with eight goals and four

assists for a 20-point senior season in 2016 … Multidisciplinary Studies major.


Trey Touchet (Men’s Basketball)

Has appeared in 69 games for the Miners, making five starts … has collected 224

points, 84 rebounds, 66 assists and 23 steals … scored in double figures five times

during his sophomore season (2016-17) … three-time recipient of a Conference USA

Commissioner’s Academic Medal … three-time member of the C-USA

Commissioner’s Academic Honor Roll … on a Presidential Scholarship at UTEP …

Kinesiology major.


Augie Touris (Football)

Played for the Miners for three seasons as a blocking tight end … saw action in 16

games, making five starts … played in all 12 games during the 2017 season, seeing

the field on offense and special teams … recorded his first career catch, a five-yard

snag during the first quarter against WKU … Creative Writing major.

Hernandez Earns Spot on CBS Sports All-America Team

Left guard Will Hernandez continues to receive post-season recognition earning a spot on the 2017 CBS Sports All-America second team on Tuesday.

This is Hernandez’s fourth honor; he previously was named to the AP All-America second team, Conference USA first team and Pro Football Focus All-American first team.

The senior is the only C-USA student-athlete to earn a spot on the CBS Sports All-America team.

The All-American started in all 49 games played during his career at the left guard position. Hernandez also just accepted his invitation to the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl on January 27 at 1:30 pm CT in Mobile, Al.

Hernandez protected the blindside allowing zero sacks against WKU and UTSA and only allowed one sack at no. 7 Oklahoma and at C-USA West Division Champions North Texas.

UTEP’s Hernandez Named to AP All-America Team

Senior Will Hernandez was named to the AP All-America second team for the second consecutive year on Monday.

The left guard is the first UTEP student-athlete to receive back-to-back AP All-America honors. The Las Vegas, Nev., native is one of six Miners to earn AP All-America honors (Ed Bunn ‘92, first team, Baron Wortham ‘93, second team, Brian Natkin ‘00, first team, Johnnie Lee Higgins ‘06, second team, Aaron Jones ‘16, third team).

Hernandez is also one of two Conference USA student-athletes to be named to the AP All-America teams (Devin Singletary, FAU).

The captain previously was named to the 2017 Pro Football Focus All-American first team and All-C-USA first team. The All-American started in all 49 games played during his career at the left guard position. Hernandez also just accepted his invitation to the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl.

Hernandez protected the blindside allowing zero sacks against WKU and UTSA and only allowed one sack at no. 7 Oklahoma and at C-USA West Division Champions North Texas.

UTEP Names Dana Dimel Head Football Coach

Dana Dimel was named the 26th head coach in UTEP football history by University President Diana Natalicio and Director of Athletics Jim Senter on Wednesday.

Dimel, 55, was previously the head coach at the University of Wyoming and the University of Houston.  He most recently served as the offensive coordinator, running backs coach and tight ends coach at his alma mater, Kansas State University, where he has worked since 2009.  He also spent three seasons on the staff at the University of Arizona.

UTEP and Coach Dimel are working on a mutually agreeable start date following completion of his coaching responsibilities with Kansas State in the Cactus Bowl on Dec. 26 in Phoenix.

 “We welcome coach Dimel, his wife Julie, son Winston and daughter Josey to El Paso,” UTEP President Diana Natalicio said.  “We look forward to an exciting new era of UTEP Football under his leadership.  His prior experience as a head coach at Wyoming and Houston and as offensive coordinator in the turnaround at Kansas State make him a great fit for UTEP and the El Paso community at this time.”

“We are very pleased to find a coach with the talent, expertise and experience of Dana Dimel,” UTEP Director of Athletics Jim Senter said.  “He has strong ties to the state of Texas.  He will immediately impact recruiting in the state of Texas and he is a proven winner.”

“I’m greatly looking forward to the opportunity at UTEP to build a program utilizing a ‘1-0’ concept,” Dimel said.  “I would like to thank President Natalicio and Jim Senter for the opportunity.  We will work diligently to elevate UTEP football to the highest level in Conference USA.  Having been a part of a major turnaround at Kansas State and having the success we did at Wyoming, I’m just really excited about the leadership challenge that’s ahead.”

Dimel is completing his third tour of duty with the Wildcats, including a year (2005) continuing work on his graduate degree.  Working under legendary coach Bill Snyder, he has been a part of 12 bowl teams during 19 seasons in Manhattan.  

The Wildcats have posted an 11-win season (2012), two 10-win campaigns (1995, 2011) and five nine-win seasons (1993, 1994, 1996, 2014, 2016) during that span, and have finished in the top-18 of the national poll on three occasions (2011, 2012, 2014).  They won the Big 12 championship in 2012.

Dimel has the most wins of any active offensive coordinator in college football since 2011 (60), and has been a part of eight straight bowl appearances including in 2017. The 2016 Wildcats defeated Texas, Texas A&M, Texas Tech, Baylor and TCU.  With Dimel calling the plays over the last seven seasons, the Wildcats have averaged 33.4 points per game and 6.2 yards per play. 

They have ranked third nationally in fewest turnovers per game behind LSU and Alabama over the last seven years.   

During Dimel’s tenure as offensive coordinator, Kansas State has routinely ranked among the nation’s best teams in red zone and third down efficiency.

In 2014, Kansas State led the nation in scoring efficiency (scoring drives/total drives) while shattering the school record for passing yards (3,736) and completion percentage (65.3).

Dimel’s play calling helped wide receiver Tyler Lockett leave K-State with the school’s career receptions, receiving yards and receiving touchdown records, while quarterback Jake Waters broke the school marks for single-season passing yards (3,501) and total offensive yards (3,985).

In 2012 Dimel coached Heisman Trophy finalist Collin Klein, who passed for 2,641 yards and 16 touchdowns while rushing for 920 yards and 23 scores.

In 2011, Dimel led a rushing offense that saw Klein set a new Big 12 record and NCAA record by a quarterback with 27 rushing touchdowns while rushing for 1,000+ yards.

Dimel started his career at K-State as a graduate assistant from 1987-88 prior to being elevated to offensive line coach in 1989.  He took over as offensive coordinator in 1995.  Overall Dimel spent 10 seasons in Manhattan (1987-96) prior to accepting the head coaching position at Wyoming.  At the time of his hire, he was the youngest Division I-A head coach in the nation at the age of 34.

Wyoming’s three seasons at Wyoming (1997-99) produced a record of 22-13, with one eight-win season (1998, 8-3) and two seven-win campaigns (1997, 7-6 and 1999, 7-4).  In 1998, Wyoming was 6-2 in the WAC’s Mountain Division (second place).  Dimel coached three Academic All-Americans at Wyoming.

Dimel spent 2000-02 as the head coach at Houston.  Spearheading a major rebuilding effort, he led the Cougars to five wins in 2002 following a 0-11 campaign in 2001.  In Dimel’s final game with the Cougars, Houston upset conference champion Louisville.  Dimel brought in the top-ranked recruiting class in Conference USA in both 2001 and 2002.

He continued work on his graduate degree at Kansas State in 2005 prior to taking over as Arizona’s tight ends coach and, eventually, run game coordinator from 2006-08.  In 2008, he added running backs to his list of responsibilities as he was promoted to Associate Head Coach with the Wildcats.

The 2008 Arizona squad finished 8-5 while posting a bowl victory (Las Vegas Bowl) for the first time in 10 years.  Among Dimel’s protégés at Arizona was Rob Gronkowski, who has emerged as one of the top tight ends in NFL history with the New England Patriots.

During his initial tenure at K-State, Dimel coordinated an offense that established school records for touchdowns, points and yards in 1995. He mentored 11 offensive linemen who went on to sign NFL contracts over those 10 years, as well as three All-Americans.

During his career as a head or assistant coach, Dimel has coached 37 players who have gone on to play in the NFL.

Dimel was a two-year letterman as an offensive lineman at Kansas State.  He was a member of the Wildcats’ All-Decade Team for the 1980’s.  He signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings and attended training camp in 1987.

He received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Marketing from Kansas State in 1986.

Dimel and his wife, Julie, have a son, Winston and a daughter, Josey.  His son is a junior fullback on the Kansas State football team who has scored 25 touchdowns over the last three seasons.  He is a three-time All-Big 12 player, garnering first team honors in 2015 and 2016.

Gallery+Story: UTEP’s Offense Comes to Life, but LA Tech Comes Out on Top 42-21

UTEP gained over 400 yards of total offense, true freshman running back Joshua Fields rushed for a career-high 137 yards with a touchdown and senior linebacker Alvin Jones racked up 15 more tackles to add to his career total, but LA Tech used a 28-0 first half to get past UTEP, 42-21, on ‘Senior Day Saturday’ in the Sun Bowl.

 The Miners (0-11, 0-7 Conference USA) outscored the Bulldogs (5-6, 3-4 C-USA), 21-14 in the second half, but it wasn’t enough as LA Tech’s Jaqwis Dancy and Boston Scott each hit over 130 yards rushing in the contest.

Fields, a native of El Paso and a graduate of Americas High School, rushed for 97-yards in the first half on his way to his first 100-yard game in his young career.

The Miners registered a season-high 424 yards of total offense – while hitting over 300 for the first time in 2017 and most since 555 yards of total offense against North Texas during the 2016 season finale. UTEP tallied a season-high 19 first downs and threw for a season-best 261 yards on 12 completions.

With the score 28-0 in third quarter, Fields got the Miners on the board when he found the end zone on an 11-yard rush with just over five minutes left in the third quarter. On the drive, junior Ryan Metz hooked up with Andress High School teammate sophomore Eddie Sinegal on passes of 18, 13 and seven yards. Another key play was a LA Tech offsides penalty on a fourth-and-3 that kept the drive going.

“I think Ryan [Metz] and [Eddie] Sinegal had a real good flow going with the play selection and knew what they were trying to do against us defensively and called the plays accordingly,” interim head coach Mike Price said. “We were able to run the football and that was really good to see. Then we executed and made some spectacular catches and runs with the ball, that was fun to see. I think that was the only difference. I don’t think our offense played a heck of a lot better in the second half than the first half, but we scored. We were able to run the ball in the first half and making those really spectacular catches and stuff. They guy competed the whole game, sixty minutes, which I mean, come on fellas we haven’t won a game all year.  I don’t know if you guys have ever been in sports on a team or anything like that that’s gone through that, I haven’t. It’s real difficult to stick in there and stay in there and so I’m proud of the players for that. They stuck in there and they made a game of it in the second half and it could have been worse.”

The touchdown was his second of Field’s young career and the first second-half offensive touchdown since Mark Torrez went six yards for a score during the third quarter against Arizona on Sept. 15.

With just over a minute left in the third, senior Tyler Batson made the score 28-14 after a catch-and-run down the sideline that went for a career-long 83 yards from Metz, who also got credit for a career-long pass completion. The drive went 87 yards on only three plays.

LA Tech answered though when it drove 75 yards on 13 plays that ended with a J’Mar Smith to Teddy Veal nine-yard touchdown toss that made the score 35-14.

In the back-and-forth second half, the Miners made it another 14-point game when Metz threw his second score of the contest – a 33-yard pass to junior Kavika Johnson. Metz, on the play, was about to get sack, but rolled out of it to his right and found Johnson on the catch-and-run, while breaking a pair tackles in the process on his way to pay dirt with just over nine minutes remaining in the contest. 

But LA Tech chewed up over six minutes of the clock on a 69-yard scoring drive on 11 plays that resulted with a Smith nine-yard scoring dash to make the score 42-21 and out of reach for the Miners.

The Bulldogs’ Amik Robertson intercepted a Metz pass with just over two minutes remaining in the game that sealed the win.

Back to the first half, the UTEP defense got the crowd of 16,597 excited as it opened the first quarter with two fumble recoveries on the Bulldogs’ first two possessions. Junior Kahani Smith recovered the first after senior Lawrence Montegut forced the fumble from Rhashid Bonnette. The second recovery came from senior Dante Lovilotte when sophomore Justin Rogers forced the ball out of Kam McKnight’s hands.

 The Miners, however, couldn’t capitalize on the forced fumbles.

“It was 28-0 at the half, and that happened so fast,” Price said. “We were in that game at seven-zip there and all of a sudden three touchdowns in six minutes, bang, bang, bang, an interception and being down twenty-eight to nothing was a difficult situation for our players. We had three scoring opportunities; three drives in the first half. We missed a fumble, we missed a field goal then we got stopped on downs. We were down there, where we moved the ball in a situation where we had a chance to get at lease a couple of touchdowns, which would have made it a little bit different. I don’t know if it would have changed what they [LA Tech] did in those six minutes, but it certainty would have put us a lot closer, fourteen to twenty-one at that point. Even in the third quarter I felt like, ‘Hey, maybe the defense will get a pick and run one in’ but they did a good job of really running the football in the fourth quarter and really kind of took us out of the game.”

LA Tech, after forcing a three-and-out on UTEP’s second possession, went 80 yards on 12 plays, capped by a Scott 23-yard scoring pass from Smith. The Bulldogs converted three third downs on the drive to keep the ball moving.

Kickoff returner junior Terry Juniel put his squad in great position after returning the kickoff 53 yards (second longest of his career) to the LA Tech 44-yard line. The Miners had a chance to get on the board with their third possession, but three penalties and a missed 38-yard field goal attempt kept them scoreless. The original field goal attempt was going to be a 33-yard attempt by junior walk-on Jason Filley before a five-yard false start penalty by senior offensive lineman Logan Tuley-Tillman moved the ball back.  

The Miners had another chance of getting on the board in the first half on their fourth possession. Senior Zack Greenlee had a ‘free play’ after a defensive offsides and found senior wide receiver Nesly Ovincy on a 41-yard reception – his first of the season – to the LA Tech 35-yard line. Fields followed with a 21-yard gain to the opponent 14-yard line, but then fumbled the ball on his ensuing possession.

LA Tech then took a 14-0 lead after recovering the fumble at its own 15 and responded with a five-play, 85-yard drive that resulted in a Jaqwis Dancy 54-yard touchdown with just over six minutes left in the first half.

UTEP’s first-half offensive woes continued on its fifth possession. After Fields gained 26 yards to the Bulldogs’ 36-yard line, Metz threw a pick-six to DaMarion King, who took it back 71 yards for a score and a 21-0 lead with just over three minutes left in the half.

After another UTEP three-and-out, the Bulldogs then took a 28-0 lead in the final two minutes of the first half on six-play, 72-yard scoring drive that ended with a 10-yard touchdown rush with 30 seconds remaining in the half.

Batson led the way with 94 yards on a pair of receptions, while Sinegal led the squad with five receptions for a season-high 69 yards. Johnson hauled in a pair of passes for 48 yards.

Metz, who replaced the starter Greenlee, threw for a season-high 202 yards on 9-of-17 passing and two touchdowns. Greenlee completed three passes for 59 yards.

Jones, along with his 15 stops, added half a sack with a tackle for loss and a pass breakup. Lovilotte registered eight tackles, while Smith and senior Devin Cockrell recorded seven tackles each. Senior Sky Logan was credited with half a sack and sophomore Kalaii Griffin registered his first career sack.

“We made some really great individual plays in this game and showed some explosiveness for the first time since I’ve been here so that was good. There’s no give-up on this team. Nobody gave up, I didn’t see anybody give-up, really moping.” Price said. “We just made some stupid mistakes, too many penalties and too many errors. I said the team that makes the least amount of mistakes wins the game and we certainty had our share of mistakes, penalties, interceptions, and then not capitalizing in the first half in the red zone when we had the opportunity to.”

The Bulldogs rushed for 343 yards and three scores led by Dancy’s 135 yards. Veal led the way in receptions (six) and yards (66), while Scott added a receiving score. Smith threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns. Dae’Von Washington led the LA Tech defense with eight tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss.

UTEP will conclude the 2017 campaign when it travels to Birmingham, Ala., to take on UAB. Kickoff is set for 11 a.m. MT/Noon CT at Legion Field.

The Miners and Blazers will meet for the first time in since 2010. UAB leads the all-time series 3-1.

Photos by Andres Acosta, Chief Photographer, El Paso Herald-Post

UTEP Football’s Hernandez Invited to 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl

MOBILE, Al. – UTEP senior left guard Will Hernandez was recently invited to play in the 2018 Reese’s Senior Bowl on Jan. 27, 2018 in Mobile, Ala. Kickoff is set for 12:30 p.m. MT in Ladd-Peebles Stadium. The contest will be televised on NFL Network.

Hernandez is the first Miner to receive an invite since the 2008 Senior Bowl. The Las Vegas, Nevada, native has started at left guard in every game played (47 games) since his freshman season in 2014.

Since Hernandez made his first start on Aug. 20, 2014 at New Mexico, UTEP has boasted one of the better offensive lines in, not only Conference USA, but the nation.

The Miners ranked tied for eighth in FBS following the 2014 season, allowing only 13 sacks in 13 games. In 2015, the Miners moved up a few spots, ranking tied for sixth (12 sacks allowed in 12 games). Last season, UTEP ranked tied for third in C-USA (22 sacks allowed).

Hernandez was also instrumental in paving the way for current Green Bay Packers’ rookie running back Aaron Jones to become UTEP’s all-time rushing leader. Jones capped his career with a 301-yard output against North Texas in last season’s finale, as Hernandez and company helped open up big holes.

Hernandez joins 10 other Miners who have played in the prestigious bowl game. The list includes LB Fred Carr (1968), WR Reggie Barrett (1991), LB Keith Powe (1991), RB Toraino Singleton (1996), TE Brian Natkin (2001), LB Thomas Howard (2006), QB Jordan Palmer (2007), WR Johnnie Lee Higgins Jr. (2007), OL Oniel Cousins (2008) and DB Quintin Demps (2008).

Go to for more information.

North Texas Pulls Away in Second Half, Tops UTEP 45-10

DENTON, Texas – North Texas quarterback Mason Fine threw four scores, Jeffery Wilson rushed for 144 yards with a touchdown and North Texas (7-3, 6-1 Conference USA) took care of UTEP (0-10, 0-6 C-USA), 45-10, on a chilly Saturday night at Apogee Stadium.

The Miners’ offense struggled again, gaining 231 yards and 15 first downs to the Mean Green’s 472 yards of total offense and 27 first downs.

But after the Miners battled in the first half, finding themselves down 14-7, the Mean Green outscored their opponent 31-3 in the second half.

“I thought we, particularly on defense, played really well in the first half,” interim UTEP head coach Mike Price said. “But again, we couldn’t get anything going on offense. We still had a chance at halftime, but we aren’t a very good second half football team.”

The contest started positive as the Miners took a 7-0 lead early in the first quarter when senior Alvin Jones forced his third fumble of the season. Junior Kahani Smith scooped up the loose ball and returned it 45 yards for a touchdown to quiet the raucous crowd of 26,108. It was Smith’s second touchdown of the season and the third overall for the UTEP defense in 2017.

The Mean Green, however, answered as Fine and Jaelon Darden gave the Mean Green a 14-7 lead. The first score came with 48 seconds remaining in the first quarter when Fine tied the contest on a 13-yard pass to Darden. After a tight second quarter, UTEP was called for a passing interference that put the ball at the two-yard line. Fine hooked up with Darden for a second time on a short toss with just over two minutes remaining the in the first half.

The UTEP defense got off to a sluggish start in the second half as North Texas opened the half with a 75-yard scoring drive on eight plays that resulted in a Wilson one-yard touchdown to make the score 21-7.

The Miners helped the Mean Green with 31 penalty yards on the drive. The first penalty came on a facemask after Wilson gained 10 yards on the first play of the drive. Two plays later, the Miners were called for a roughing the passer that moved the ball to the UTEP 31-yard line. Prior to Wilson’s score, a passing interference was called in the end zone to set up the short run.

“We started out the third quarter on defense and got three penalties and gave up 75 yards,” Price said. “The defense wore down in the second half and we didn’t make any plays on special teams. It was a tough loss to a good team.”

The offense showed signs of light after UTEP scored on its first possession of the second half. Zack Greenlee, on a first-and-10 from the UTEP 39, threw up a jump ball as he was being rushed only for Warren Redix to come down with it against a pair of defenders for a gain of 34 yards to the North Texas 27-yard line.

Following an incomplete pass, Greenlee used a career-long 15-yard dash to get to the 12-yard line after almost being sacked. But the Miners could only muster up three more yards and settled for a Jason Filley 27-yard made field goal attempt (21-10).

With the score 28-10 after a Rico Bussey 60-yard touchdown pass from Fine, the Mean Green put the game away to begin the fourth quarter after Fine completed his fourth touchdown pass, this time to Jalen Guyton on a two-yard toss, giving North Texas a 35-10 lead.

Smith had a nice game as he registered a career-best nine tackles to go along with his touchdown.

“Smith has played well the whole year,” Price said. “He made some big plays for us.”

Senior Devin Cockrell recorded eight tackles, while Julian Jackson and Jones had seven stops each.

Eddie Sinegal, who entered the game with five catches, led the Miners with six receptions for 38 yards. Terry Juniel tallied four receptions for 38 yards.

Fine was effective as the sophomore finished 23-of-35 passing for 213 yards (154.5 rating) and Wilson racked up another 58 yards on seven receptions to go with his 144 rushing yards. Bussey led the Mean Green with 65 yards on three catches.

UTEP will host LA Tech on ‘Senior Day’ to close out the home portion of its schedule. The Nov. 18 kickoff is set for 1 p.m. in the Sun Bowl, as 22 seniors will play their final contest in the Sun Bowl.

The Miners will close out the 2017 season at UAB on Nov. 25.

Middle Tennessee Defeats UTEP 30-3

MURFREESBORO, Tn. – True freshman running back and El Paso native Joshua Fields produced a career-high 87 yards on 17 carries (5.1 avg.), but Middle Tennessee halted a two-game skid after getting past UTEP, 30-3, on Saturday night at Floyd Stadium.

The Miners (0-9, 0-5 Conference USA) struggled on offense, gaining 137 yards and six first downs, while the Blue Raiders (4-5, 2-3 C-USA) registered 400 yards of offense and 18 first downs. 

“I thought our defense at times played very well, kept us in the game for a while,” UTEP interim head coach Mike Price said. “We just couldn’t do anything on offense. The first half they blitzed us and we couldn’t get a ball off. It was a miserable effort on offense.”

Brent Stockstill, who was a game-time decision, made his first start since Sept. 9 at Syracuse. The junior threw for 190 yards on 13-of-30 passing and three scores. Nik Needham intercepted one of Stockstill’s passes, as it was Needham’s first of 2017 and second in his career.

Middle Tennessee got on the board first after Canon Rooker connected on a career-long 51-yard field goal.

The Blue Raiders then took a 17-0 lead after a pair of Stockstill touchdown tosses. The first came with 16 second left in the first quarter, a 25-yard hookup to Ty Lee, while the second was five-yard pass to Jimmy Marshall in the second quarter at the 4:35 mark.

After a Tavares Thomas two-yard touchdown run to put MT up 24-0, UTEP walk-on kicker Jason Filley got the Miners on the board with his first career field goal, a 26-yard kick with over six minutes to play in the third quarter. The drive went 67 yards on 15 plays (6:46) as Fields gained 61 of those yards on eight attempts.

Fields, on the scoring push, got the Miners past midfield after he gained a career-long 27-yard rush to the Middle Tennessee 48-yard line and hit a first down on a three-yard run on a fourth-and-2 play in the red zone to keep the drive going.

Alan Luna gathered a career-high 414 yards on nine boots (46.0 avg.), while Dante Lovilotte led the defense with seven tackles, while Needham recorded six tackles. Terry Juniel ran a kickoff back 49 yards, the third longest of his career and averaged 29.0 yards on three kickoff returns. Juniel also gained 13 yards on three receptions.

Warren Redix led the offense with 19 yards on a trio of catches.

UTEP will head to Denton to take on bowl-eligible North Texas (6-3, 5-1 C-USA) on Nov. 11 (3 p.m. MT). The Miners last visited Apogee in 2015 and prevailed 20-17 in the season finale.

Gallery+Story: Roadrunners Down UTEP 31-14

Jalen Rhodes rushed for two touchdowns, and Devron Davis had a crucial interception for a touchdown early in the fourth quarter as UTSA beat UTEP, 31-14, on Saturday night in the Sun Bowl.

For the fifth time in as many games in the series, the visiting team was victorious as UTSA moved to 5-2 overall (2-2 Conference USA) and UTEP fell to 0-8 overall and 0-4 in league play.

“That wasn’t very good,” UTEP Interim Head Coach Mike Price said.  “We played hard.  We certainly didn’t play real smart.  The team that makes the least mistakes in this game usually wins, and no question about it, we made not very smart plays and it came back to hurt us.”

The Miners fell behind 17-0 midway through the second period, but rallied with back-to-back touchdowns to make it a three-point game at halftime.  Zack Greenlee finished off a seven-play, 70-yard drive with a six-yard touchdown run.  Then the Miners capitalized on an interception by Roadrunner quarterback Dalton Sturm, as El Paso native Joshua Fields scored his first college touchdown on a five-yard scamper to cap a 40-yard drive.  Justin Rogers picked off the pass, tying him for team-high honors with two interceptions this season.

“I thought we had a real chance in the first half,” Price said.  “The defense, at times, is playing well enough to win in this league.  They didn’t have that many yards.  They were well below their average against us.”

The 17-14 score held up until late in the third quarter, when Rhodes punched it into the end zone from one yard out to put the Roadrunners up by 10.

The Miners fought gamely but wouldn’t score again, and Davis dealt the crippling blow by picking off Greenlee on a third-and-five deep in UTEP territory early in the fourth quarter before running 22 yards to the end zone.

Rhodes ran 14 times for 66 yards, but he was UTSA’s third-leading rusher as Tyrell Clay gained 71 yards and Sturm added 67.  The Roadrunners ended the night with 393 yards of offense, including 205 rushing.  Sturm completed 18-of-30 passes for 188 yards.

Greenlee was 8-of-29 passing for 133 yards for the Miners, who were held to 243 yards by Conference USA’s top defensive unit.  Erik Brown snared three catches for 52 yards, and Tyler Batson had two catches for 45 yards.

UTEP’s all-time leading rusher, native El Pasoan and Green Bay Packers rookie standout Aaron Jones returned to the Sun Bowl on Saturday night.  And his message to the fans, and the team, early in the second quarter appeared to give the Miners the offensive jolt that they needed to get back in the game before stalling in the second half.

“In the second half, we again fell apart,” Price said.  “We’re not a very good second half team.  I don’t know if our adjustments are good as coaches.  They probably aren’t good, if they were good then we’d do a lot better.  But we made some serious mistakes offensively in the second half.  We’ve got to quit making mistakes like that.  It wasn’t pretty.”

Kalon Beverly, Alvin Jones and Nik Needham tied for game-high honors with nine tackles apiece for UTEP.

The Miners will hit the road for consecutive games at Middle Tennessee (Nov. 4) and North Texas (Nov. 11).  Next weekend’s matchup with the Blue Raiders will kick off at 5:30 p.m. MT from Murfreesboro and will be televised on beIN SPORTS.

Complete UTEP Coverage:

Monster’s Musings: Hoping Against Hope as Miners Drop to 0-8

Photo Gallery by Andres Acosta, Chief Photographer El Paso Herald-Post

Monster’s Musings: Hoping Against Hope as Miners Drop to 0-8

On a chilly Saturday night at the Sun Bowl, the UTEP Miners were hoping to get their first victory of the year but, sadly that was not the case. The Miners fell to the UTSA Roadrunners 31-14

The Miners gave fans some hope that they might be able to get a victory when they scored 14 unanswered points in the second quarter to make the game 17-14 at halftime.

If it wasn’t for QB Zach Greenlee throwing an interception at the Roadrunner 5 yard line in the first quarter, the score might have been tied at halftime. But the sad truth is that – once again –  mistakes cost the Miners dearly.

In the third quarter, the Miner team that played so well earlier, couldn’t get anything done offensively and the defense gave up another touchdown making the score 24-14.

Even though the Miners were only down 10 points, it felt like they were down by 30 points.

The 4th quarter only got worse after Greenlee threw a pick six that made the score 31-14. Then, a holding penalty cost the Miners a 82 yard touchdown run by Kevin Dove. The only positive thing that happened in the fourth quarter is that the Miners were able to force a fumble and recover it, stopping another sure-fire score by UTSA.

Now I can bore you with a bunch of stats, I can tell you that the Miners looked like a really good football team in the 2nd quarter, but I won’t.

As painful as it is to write this sentence, the plain truth is that this team is bad, really bad.

The Mike Price experiment worked for one game, just one game, and now UTEP looks like the team that forced Sean Kugler to pack his bags and leave town. And the sad thing is that I don’t know how this team gets fixed.

It’s getting very hard for fans to watch UTEP play this way.

Fans were leaving the game when the score was 24-10; like I said earlier, even though it was only 10 points, the fans knew this Miner team doesn’t have it in them to come back.

The announced attendance was around 19,400 but realistically there were about 17,000 Miner faithful there.

And it’s sad because, as I watched the game from the stands – and not from the sidelines or the press box –  I saw that Miner fans want UTEP to succeed. They cheered for them every opportunity they got and in the end they left disappointed again.

The hope that the Miners gave the fans in the second quarter – and the last time they played in the Sun Bowl –  is starting to fade away. The Miners are now 0-8 this season and it doesn’t look like it’s gonna get any better anytime soon.

I hope I’m wrong though, I hope the Miners prove me wrong and get a victory next week against Middle Tennessee but with the way this team is playing, I’m hoping against hope.


H-P Sports In Depth: UTEP Returns to Action vs UTSA on ‘UTEP Legends Night’

Coming off its bye week, UTEP will host UTSA on Oct. 28. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. in the Sun Bowl. “Legends Night” will be celebrated in the Sun Bowl as the 2017 UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame Class will be recognized. Aaron Jones, former Miner and Green Bay Packers rookie sensation, is also expected to attend, as 1,000 lucky fans will receive a free bobblehead of UTEP’s all-time leading rusher.

The Miners (0-7, 0-3 Conference USA) are coming off a setback at Southern Miss on Oct. 14 in Hattiesburg, as the Golden Eagles prevailed 24-0. The Roadrunners (4-2, 1-2 C-USA) are coming off a 20-7 victory over Rice on Oct. 21 to end a two-game skid.

The Roadrunners have C-USA’s no. 1 ranked defense. These two programs played an epic five-overtime contest (first in C-USA history) last season in San Antonio. The Miners, who overcame a pair of 14-point deficits, came out on top, 52-49 after Ryan Metz found Warren Redix on a six-yard TD pass for the game winner.

From Coach Mike Price’s Weekly News Conference

(On UTEP’s last game at Southern Miss)
“I thought we came out with really good energy and enthusiasm for the first half. The momentum really got squandered when we fumbled on the one-yard line. We made a tremendous play on the interception, and then fumbled the ball back to them and gave them a touchdown, and otherwise it would’ve at least been 7-0 and we would’ve remained in the game with the enthusiasm that we started the game with. But I thought our defense played well again for two weeks in a row with great intensity and enthusiasm and we got three turnovers, which is something we’re striving to do as a defense and continue to improve on. But that fumble did change the momentum of that game, there’s no question about it. Our offense again was very poor. I don’t think we know who we are on offense, or we know who we are on offense and don’t like it. One of those things is where we stand, I think, in our opinion of the offense right now. Special teams are solid, OK. We got another great run from Terry [Juniel] on a kickoff return, he almost broke it for a touchdown. And we had no missed field goals. So those of you that were upset about that, we’re going to change that. You’ll be surprised and pleased with our field goals and PAT attempts in the future. And I think we just got a little worn out in the fourth quarter.”

(On the offense’s struggles)
“Kind of that statement I made about not knowing who we are is kind of where we’re at. I don’t know what kind of offense we are right now. But I don’t like that kind, whatever it is. Nobody does. Players and coaches and fans.”

(On getting a handle on the play caling)
“Coach [Brian] Natkin is working real, real hard, as are all the coaches. Every play is drawn up to be a touchdown in everybody’s playbook. If everyone does their job, you get a touchdown. Every play should be a good play to call, or it shouldn’t be in your playbook. So I don’t see that as being particularly poor. I don’t think it’s the play calling, it’s our execution that is poor.”

(On the quarterback situation for this week)
“Quarterback is still kind of up in the air. I don’t know how Zack [Greenlee] is, I haven’t seen him since Wednesday. He has been in for treatment. I think his groin is fine, but he’s still got a high ankle sprain. We’ll just have to see how that goes. Ryan [Metz] is better every day too. He was kind of a winged warrior when he was in that last game.”

“We’ve got the Roadrunners coming in here. They’re hard to kill, if you’ve seen any cartoons. They are an elusive bird. I think they’ve done a really good job there. Their program has come a long way. Frank Wilson, the new coach, and his associate head coach Jason Rollins, they are guys with really great reputations in the coaching profession. And their players play like it. They are well coached and they’re disciplined and they play well. Their offense is pretty explosive. They are averaging around 460 yards per game. Oh, what we would take for 460 yards a game on offense. They can move the football. They’ve got a really good quarterback. He’s a senior. He is really tough, #14 Dalton Sturm. He has got five or six school records already and he’s chasing all of the other passing records. He is a real good player. They have two running backs. #5 Jalen Rhodes has really been the guy that started the season out for them. He was closing in on all the career records in San Antonio. And then his backup, Tyrell Clay, has had a fantastic last two games. They have four solid receivers, all making about 20 receptions so far. They are really good on offense. Really good.

“On defense, they run a different defense. I kind of like it, a 4-2-5. It’s got five defensive backs. The safeties are kind of interchangeable. They have three safeties in the middle that either support or defend, and they’re active. The corners are pretty much on islands. Four down linemen, two inside linebackers and then these three safeties that roam and are really hitters. #14, #11 and #25 are all really good hitters. Their two inside linebackers, #55 and #31, are solid linebackers. Their best player, and maybe one of the best players we’ll see all season, is #93 Marcus Davenport, defensive end. He is 6-7, 255 pounds. He looks the part, plays the part, is the part. He is someone that you’ve got to know where he’s at all the time. Last game he had 11 tackles, two sacks, broke up a pass, picked up a fumble and ran it in for a touchdown. He is one of the best defensive ends that we have faced and probably the number one defensive end in the conference. Fantastic player, plays really hard, he is really talented and that’s a combination you can’t beat. Their special teams are solid. This is a solid team that we’re playing, and very well coached by a couple of good young coaches in the profession.”

(On Quardraiz Wadley’s status)
“Wadley is a question mark still. I just saw him yesterday and he’s still a question mark. I’m not sure if he’s going to play and how much he would play.”

(On UTEP and UTSA building a rivalry)
“When they first came into the league and they first started up, I thought that’s fine and dandy, because we used to recruit that area pretty good. Let’s not let them get good, because we’ll really have our hands full. I would’ve liked to have kept them a not really good program, and we could’ve gone in and recruited a little bit better out of there. Now they’re 4-2, they’re right in the race for the conference and they’re doing a really good job. Them and North Texas, I wasn’t really excited about having them join the league because it’s two really good recruiting areas and they’re both doing very, very well. It will be, and is, a rivalry.”

(On trying to find an identity on offense)
“I think it’s an evolving process. Like I said before, these players were recruited to a particular type of offense. The terminology is professional in its nature, having come from professional football, and real wordy. It’s a little hard to change horses in the middle of the race, but hopefully, and that’s on my part, what I’d like to do is help the offense produce more yardage and touchdowns and be a more wide open scheme. We’ll see how that goes on Saturday night.”

(On team morale)
“I think team morale is good. I saw everybody yesterday. We had dinner here. They want to win as bad as anybody. But their heads aren’t down, their heads are up. And their heads could be down. It hasn’t been a real fun year. But we’re trying to instill some fun. We had a really good scrimmage here Wednesday afternoon, with all the reserve players and scout team. That was a lot of fun for the players.”

(On what he sees from the players to indicate they’re still fighting)
“I thought we had energy here two or three weeks ago for my first game here and we had energy at Southern Miss. A lot of energy, and we played well in almost all phases against Southern Miss in the first half. We wore out in the fourth quarter, I think. We’re going to have to bring it again. This is a really good team. I’m asking the fans to have faith in us. Faith is belief without evidence. We haven’t given you a lot of evidence. But we’re going to. You wouldn’t want to miss this Saturday night as being the one where the Miners catch on fire. I’m asking more of the players than what they’re giving, but they are definitely responding well to the adversity that they have had. They’re not hanging their head, they’re not pouting, they’re not pointing fingers at other people. None of that. That’s hard to control when you’re going through what they’re going through.”

(On the process of selecting a quarterback for Saturday)
“I don’t know what the process will be. I’ll have to sit down with the coaches and talk about that a little further. The injuries have prevented us from being put in that situation. If they’re both healthy, that’s awesome. Because we’ll probably need both of them. We probably should’ve played Mark Torrez a little more, I would’ve liked to see what he could have done in the last game too.”

***on Saturday’s Game

Antonio Davis (basketball, 1986-90), Seth Joyner (football, 1982-85), Blessing Okagbare (track & field, 2008-10), Cynthia Ruelas (volleyball, 1993-97) and Paul Stankowski (golf, 1987-91) form the 15th induction class into the UTEP Athletics Hall of Fame. The Miner greats will be honored during Saturday’s game against UTSA.

Seth Joyner played football at UTEP from 1982-85. He arrived on campus as an undersized walk-on before hours in the weight room transformed him into a college standout and, ultimately, one of the NFL’s top linebackers. His Miner career produced 324 tackles before he was picked by Philadelphia in the 1986 NFL Draft.

Joyner played for the Eagles for eight seasons, where he was a three-time Pro Bowl selection and the 1991 Sports Illustrated NFL Defensive Player of the Year. He later played for Arizona, Green Bay and Denver, and was a part of the Broncos’ Super Bowl championship run in his final year as a pro (1998). Joyner was credited with 52 sacks and 24 interceptions in 195 NFL games. He is a member of UTEP’s Football Centennial Team.

The Roadrunners, who sports Conference USA’s no. 1 ranked defense, improved to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in Conference USA play after a 20-7 victory against Rice in the Alamodome on Oct. 21. UTSA, after starting 3-0 with a victory over Baylor, dropped its first two league contests (31-29 to Southern Miss, 29-26 to North Texas) before righting the ship versus the Owls. The Roadrunners and Owls played a tight first half, as Marcus Davenport put UTSA ahead in the first quarter on a 34-yard fumble return for a score.

Jared Sackett made the score 10-0 with an 18-yard field goal, but Rice answered with a 50-yard touchdown pass with four minutes left in the first half. But 10 unanswered points in the third quarter by UTSA put the game away as Dalton Sturm hooked up with Brady Jones on a 26-yard touchdown early in the second half and a Sackett made a 20-yard field goal with just over five minutes to play in the third. UTSA ranks third in scoring offense (31.2 ppg) and second in scoring defense (18 ppg) in C-USA.

The Roadrunners’ 458.7 yards of total offense rank third, while they rank first in total defense (303.3). UTSA’s rushing offense (222.3) ranks second and its rushing defense (124.3) ranks third in C-USA. Its pass defense (179.0) and opponent third-down conversions (27.5 percent) are both ranked no. 1 in C-USA. Sturm has thrown only one interception on 155 pass attempts as he ranks first in the conference in passing efficiency (165.2).

Sturm has tossed for 12 scores and 1,375 yards on 103 completions (66 percent completion percentage). Jalen Rhodes (496 rushing yards) ranks fifth in C-USA in rushing yards per game (82.7) and has scored four total touchdowns (three rush, one rec.). Rhodes ranks eighth in all-purpose yards per game (101.0). Josh Stewart leads the team in receptions (21), receiving yards (306) and receiving scores (three).

Sackett has made 11-of-12 field goal attempts and is 17-of-18 on PATs to lead the team with 50 points. His 10.0 points per game ranks second in C-USA. Ka’Kel Bass leads the defense with 35 tackles, while Davenport ranks second in C-USA in tackles for loss (12.0) and sacks (6.5). His tackles for loss per game (2.00) ranks first in C-USA. The UTSA defense has sacked the quarterback 18 times, ranking fourth in C-USA, and has intercepted seven passes.

UTEP sophomore RB Walter Dawn Jr. and UTSA senior S Nate Gaines are from Mesquite, Texas, and played at Poteet High School. UTEP senior DB Devin Cockrell and UTSA junior S C.J. Levine are from Port Arthur, Texas, and played at Memorial High School. UTEP senior QB Zack Greenlee and senior CB Devron Davis are both from Stockton, Calif.

The series is tied 2-2 with the visiting team emerging victorious every time. The Miners won in San Antonio with a historic defensive effort, 34-0 in 2014, and outlasted the Roadrunners in a five-overtime thriller, 52-49, a year ago at the Alamodome. UTSA prevailed in El Paso during the 2013 (32-13) and 2015 (25-6) seasons.

Ryan Metz hooked up with Warren Redix for the game-winning six-yard touchdown as UTEP defeated UTSA, 52-49, in the first five-overtime contest in Conference USA history on Oct. 22, 2016 in the Alamodome. The Miners rallied from a pair of two-touchdown deficits (14-0, 28-14), the last coming early in the third quarter, to secure the victory.

UTEP knotted it at 28 on a 74-yard pass from Kavika Johnson to Walter Dawn Jr. with 1:11 to play in the third period. After neither team scored in the fourth quarter, the overtime sessions produced a total of 55 points – including 24 by UTEP. In the first overtime, Victor Falcon (UTSA) and Jay Mattox (UTEP) traded field goals.

In the second overtime, quarterbacks Metz and Dalton Sturm both threw 25-yard touchdown passes. In the third OT, Dawn scored on a 12-yard run and Metz completed the two-point conversion pass to Hayden Plinke as UTEP stayed alive after UTSA went ahead 46-38. Following a scoreless fourth overtime, Falcon booted a 33-yard field goal to put the Roadrunners ahead 49-46. But on second and five at the UTSA six-yard line, Metz threw a sideline pass to Redix for the winning points.

Metz tied his career high with a trio of touchdown passes, while completing 15-of-23 attempts for 211 yards. Aaron Jones rushed for 113 yards on 21 carries with a rushing score and two receiving touchdowns, while Dawn tallied two rushing touchdowns and a receiving score.

Ito Smith rushed for 120 yards and two touchdowns, spoiling a solid performance by the UTEP defense as Southern Miss shut out the Miners, 24-0, on Oct. 14 at M.M. Roberts Stadium. The Miners allowed 286 yards through three quarters before finally wearing down in the final period, when Southern Miss scored the game’s final 10 points. The Miners finished with six first downs and 147 yards of offense.

The Golden Eagles got on the board with 8:26 remaining in the first quarter when Keon Howard threw a 52-yard touchdown pass to Jaylond Adams. After that, the defense stepped up and limited Southern Miss to 102 yards on its next five drives. The Miners also forced a season-high three turnovers in the first half as Devin Cockrell and Kahani Smith picked off passes, and Sky Logan recovered a fumble.

But the defense was put in a precarious position when Kevin Dove fumbled at the UTEP one-yard line in the final minute of the half. On the next play, Smith plowed into the end zone for his first score (two yards) and the Golden Eagles were up 14-0 at the midway point. The defense continued to shine in the third quarter but finally broke in the final period, when Southern Miss completed a 13-play, 80-yard drive with a 20-yard touchdown run by Smith.

Later, the Golden Eagles tacked on a 38-yard field goal by Parker Shaunfield. Zack Greenlee started at quarterback for the Miners and completed 5-of-10 passes for 63 yards before getting injured. His replacement, Ryan Metz, finished 9-of-17 passing for 67 yards with an interception. Alvin Jones led the Miners with 10 tackles.

UTEP has posted a 9-6 overall mark and a 5-4 home record following a bye week since the 2004 season. During the first Mike Price era (2004-12), the Miners were 6-5, including a 2-0 mark in each of his first two seasons (UTEP had two bye weeks in 2004 [vs. NM State, vs. Rice] & 2005 [vs. Houston, at Tulane]).

Price’s squads tallied wins in 2009 (vs. Tulsa) and 2011 (at Tulane), and losses in 2006 (at New Mexico) and 2007 (vs. Houston). UTEP had another two weeks off in 2008, where it went 0-2 (vs. NM State, vs. Rice). In 2010, UTEP’s bye week fell on the last day of the regular season. The Miners are 3-1 in their last four bye weeks, with victories against UTSA twice (2014 & 2016) and Florida Atlantic (2015).

UTEP will face UTSA for a third time during the last four seasons following a bye week. The Miners are 2-0 is they blanked the Roadrunners, 34-0, in 2014, and won an epic five-overtime game, 52-49 in 2016, both at the Alamodome.

The UTEP kickoff return defense has been solid as it ranks no. 1 in Conference USA and no. 4 in the nation at 14.5 yards per return.

UTEP converted a season-high six third-down conversions (6-of-15) at Southern Miss on Oct. 14. The previous high was a 5-of-13 effort against WKU (Oct. 7) and a 5-of-12 outing at Army (Sept. 30).

Junior WR Terry Juniel, who returned a kickoff for a career-high 59 yards at Southern Miss on Oct. 14, also recorded a career-best five receptions for 46 yards against the Golden Eagles. His previous high was four receptions against Arizona for a career-high 82 yards on Sept. 15. Juniel ranks third on the team in receptions (13) and second in receiving yards (154) in 2017.

True freshman Joshua Fields registered season highs in carries (six) and rushing yards (13) at Southern Miss on Oct. 14. The graduate of Americas High School also hauled in an 18-yard reception against Rice on Sept. 9 in the Sun Bowl. Fields has rushed for 25 yards and has tallied four receptions for 22 yards in 2017.

All three UTEP quarterbacks have rushed for at least one touchdown in 2017. Junior Ryan Metz has scored two – a one-yard score against Rice and a five-yard dash at NM State. Freshman Mark Torrez found the end zone on a six-yard rush against Arizona and senior Zack Greenlee, most recently, ran for a five-yard score against WKU. It’s the first time since at least 1990 that three UTEP quarterbacks have found the end zone with their legs during a single season.

Kavika Johnson recorded his first career touchdown catch against WKU on Oct. 7 as he now joins a rare club of Miners who have scored a touchdown rushing, receiving and throwing. Johnson has thrown for four scores and has rushed for one (2015 at North Texas) during his career. Johnson joins Aaron Jones, Lorne Sam, Marcus Thomas and Omar Duarte as Miners who have accounted for a touchdown three ways since the 1998 season.

Junior WR Kavika Johnson produced career-highs in receptions (six), receiving yards (67) and long reception (40 yards) against Rice on Sept. 9. His previous highs were three receptions for 32 yards and a long of 27 yards at Rice on Nov. 11, 2016. Johnson ranks fourth on the team with 11 receptions for 124 yards (third-most on team) and a touchdown.

Junior transfer WR Erik Brown, who just recently joined the program, made his first start against WKU on Oct. 7. Brown delivered with a pair of receptions for 32 yards. The first was an eight-yard catch for a first down on a third-and-4 in the third quarter. Brown followed with a 24-yard reception during the fourth quarter. Brown, in his second start, followed with a season-best 34 yards on a pair of catches at Southern Miss on Oct. 14. Brown has caught four passes for 66 yards in four games played.

Senior WR Tyler Batson registered a season-high 80 yards on a career-best five receptions at Army on Sept. 30. In fact, Batson’s 80 yards were the second-most in his career for a single game. Batson’s career high was a 143-yard output against Florida Atlantic in 2015. Batson is ranked second on the team in receptions (14) and leads the team in receiving yards (169), while scoring a touchdown against Arizona on Sept. 15 – his first since 2015.

Junior TE David Lucero matched his season high with a trio of receptions (14 yards) against WKU on Oct. 7. Lucero caught three passes for a season-high 31 yards against Rice, while recording his first career touchdown with three receptions (15 yards) at Army on Sept. 30. Lucero currently leads the Miners in receptions (16) for 115 yards.

Senior OL Will Hernandez was named to the AP Midseason All-America team, chosen by a panel of 16 Top-25 poll voters, on Oct. 17. The guard garnered second team honors through seven games and has racked up 44 starts in four seasons for the Miners.

Hernandez is not new to the spotlight, having earned 2017 AP Preseason All-America second team recognition. Last season, the Las Vegas native was the first Miner offensive lineman to receive AP All-American second team and FOX Sports All-American honors. The senior was also the first UTEP offensive lineman since 2009 to earn All-Conference USA first team recognition. Hernandez’s national recognition didn’t stop there, as he garnered Pro Football Focus Pass Protector of the Year. Hernandez is the only Conference USA student-athlete to earn recognition.

Will Hernandez was selected to the 2017 AP All-America second team on Aug. 22 as the senior has racked up multiple preseason honors. Hernandez was announced to the 2017 Outland Trophy Watch List and earned a spot on the 2017 Preseason Conference USA team.

Multiple football publications, including Dave Campbell’s Texas Football, Phil Steele’s College Football Preview and Athlon Sports have Hernandez on their preseason teams.

Sophomore RB Kevin Dove uses his 6-foot, 245-pound frame to bulldoze over defenders as he rushed for a career-high 69 yards on a career-most 15 attempts against WKU on Oct. 7. Dove got stronger as the game went on as he rambled for a career-long 23-yard rush in the fourth quarter against the Hilltoppers.

Dove’s previous high was a 59-yard effort on 10 carries against Houston Baptist in 2016. In 2017, Dove has rushed for 150 yards on 44 carries. Dove also has a team-best 11 first downs gained.

The UTEP defense has shown improvement the last few outings. After allowing 47.8 points per game in the first four contests, the defense has cut it in half, surrendering 24.7 points per contest over the last three games.

The defense also gave up 519 yards of total offense per game during the first four contests and has cut that to 379.3 per game during the last three outings. On Oct. 7 against WKU in the Sun Bowl, the Miners allowed season lows in points (15), first downs (18) and total yards of offense (282).

Senior LB Alvin Jones registered back-to-back games of double-digit tackles after reaching 12 against WKU on Oct. 7 and 10 more at Southern Miss on Oct. 14. It’s his first back-to-back effort since racking up 16 at Rice on Nov. 19 and 12 tackles against North Texas to close out the 2016 season. Back in 2015, Jones recorded 11 stops three games in a row (vs. Rice, at Old Dominion, vs. LA Tech).

Alvin Jones has reached double digits in tackles 12 times during his career after his 10-tackle output on Oct. 14 at Southern Miss. Jones’s first double-digit performance came against UTSA on Oct. 3, 2015 with a 10-tackle outing. Jones racked up 11 tackles in four other contests in 2015 (at NM State; vs. Rice; at Old Dominion; vs. LA Tech).

In 2016, Jones registered double-digit tackles, including his career high of 16 stops, in four contests (12 vs. NM State; 16 vs. FIU; 16 at Rice; 12 vs. North Texas). Jones registered a season-high 15 tackles against Arizona on Sept. 15, his first double-digit effort in 2017 and 12 stops against WKU on Oct. 7.

Alvin Jones registered 10 more tackles at Southern Miss on Oct. 14 after racking up 12 against WKU the week before. Jones currently leads the team in tackles (61) and tackles per game (8.7). Jones ranks sixth in tackles per game (8.7) and seventh in total tackles (61) in Conference USA. Jones has led the Miners in tackles in each of the last two seasons, recording 93 stops during each campaign.

Senior Alvin Jones has 302 career tackles (second-most at UTEP since the 2000 season) after tallying 10 stops at Southern Miss on Oct. 14. Jones has 12.5 career sacks, ranking tied for ninth with Menson Holloway on the program’s top-10 list.

Jones’s 34.5 career tackles for loss rank third on the program’s all-time list as Barron Wortham leads the all-time list with 45.0 tackles for loss and Gonzalo Floyd ranks second (41.0 TFL). Jones’s 14.5 tackles for loss in 2015 rank tied for ninth on the single-season list, while his 5.0 tackles for loss at NM State on Sept. 19, 2015 were the most by a UTEP player since the 2000 season.

Jones has led the Miners in tackles the past two seasons, tallying 93 stops in each campaign, while in 2014 Jones ranked second with 55 takedowns.

Alvin Jones now has over 300 tackles in his career after being credited with 10 stops at Southern Miss. Jones joins Pete Shufelt (385 tackles), Fred Williams (375), Dale Kirry (335), Seth Joyner (325), Brian Young (322) and Richie Rodriguez (322) as Miners who have reached at least 300-plus stops during a career.

Barron Wortham leads the all-time list with 566 tackles. Doug Morgan (523), Tony Perea (459), Raymond Morris (458), Robert Rodriguez (443), Michael Comer (437), Fred Carr (410) and Hal Barnett (407) ranks as the next eight leading tacklers in program history.

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