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Home | Tag Archives: utsa

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Friday Night Sweep: Miners Run Down Roadrunners 5-4, 8-5

After struggling the last few weeks, the UTEP softball team rebounded to win two big Conference USA contests.

Kacey Duffield’s walk-off, three-run home run in the ninth downed UTSA, 5-4, after falling behind 4-2 in the top half, while Courtney Clayton’s four RBI led the Miners (13-23, 3-8 C-USA) past the Roadrunners (14-15, 3-5 C-USA), 8-5, in game two to complete the Friday sweep and series win at the Helen of Troy Softball Complex.

“It’s good to get back on track. I know it’s been a rough couple weeks, but I’m just so proud of this team that they haven’t given up,” fifth-year UTEP head coach Tobin Echo-Hawk said. “There’s still a lot of season left and I told them it’s a matter of time when we start hitting the ball again. We did a great job today. We had good at bats and made solid contact. I’m just happy we got the wins and everyone did their job.”

The victories stopped a five-game losing streak, while it was the first time since 2016 UTEP defeated a league opponent in consecutive games. The Miners swept North Texas (April 30-May 1) in 2016.

UTEP last won consecutive C-USA games in 2017, defeating Middle Tennessee on March 19 and then Southern Miss on March 25. The Miners also reached 13 wins in 2018, passing their total from last season’s 12 wins.

UTEP 5, UTSA 4 [9]

After UTSA took a 4-2 lead in the top ninth, the Miners kept their chins up and rallied in one of the most exciting endings in a while. Cortney Smith led off the bottom half by reaching base on a hit by pitch. Taylor Sargent followed by drawing a full-count walk to set up Duffield.

Before Duffield could dig her spikes in, the Roadrunners replaced starting ace Lizzy Fox with Madison Nelson. After a strike and two balls thrown by Nelson, Duffield took the fourth pitch and sent it over center field to lift UTEP past UTSA, 5-4.

“[Duffield] has been hitting the ball well, it’s just a matter of her getting on time and making sure she’s stays through the ball,” Echo-Hawk said. “We worked all week with that and had conversations. She was actually supposed to bunt in that situation and move the runners over, but she didn’t get that done. She stepped in there and knew she still had a job to do. I couldn’t think of a better player to be in that position.”

The Roadrunners got on the board first when leadoff hitter Celeste Loughman singled, then advanced to third on an error on the same play. Leading home run hitter in C-USA Baily Baldwin used a sac-fly to left to plate Loughman for the early 1-0 edge.

Fox took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, while recording the first two outs into the bottom fifth. Then Linda Garcia, who missed all of 2017 due to an injury, came up with UTEP’s first hit. But not only was it the first knock, it left the ball park as Garcia connected on her third home run of the season to tie the ball game 1-1.

After Ariel Blair reached on an infield single, Ariana Valles gave her squad a 2-1 advantage when she tripled in Blair.

UTSA tied the game in the sixth when pinch runner Erica Sanchez crossed the dish on an error with two outs. The Roadrunners then took a 4-2 lead in the ninth off Rylee Rodriguez and Victoria Villarreal RBI’s.

Julia Wright (3-12) threw a career-high 9.0 frames, allowing five hits, four runs (two earned) and tied her career best with seven K’s. Wright earned her first C-USA victory, while winning her first game since Feb. 24.

Kaitlin Ryder went 2-for-3 and drew a walk, while Blair, Smith, Sargent, Duffield and Linda Garcia each scored runs. Valles’s triple in the fifth was her second of the season, tying Clayton for the team lead. Duffield also set her career high with three RBI in the contest.

UTEP turned its C-USA-best 16th double play of the season during the first inning.

 

UTEP 8, UTSA 5

Loughman put her team ahead 1-0 again off a sac-fly, this time by Villarreal, during the first inning.

But the Miners answered with two runs in the bottom half. Clayton tied the game on a RBI double that scored Valles, while Ryder’s RBI double plated Clayton to give UTEP the go-ahead 2-1 lead. Valles’s RBI single in the second inning scored Duffield, giving the Miners a 3-1 lead.

Baldwin, after drawing four walks (three in game one), connected on a solo home run in the third to get the Roadrunners within a run (3-2).

The Miners pretty much put the game away with a four-run fourth inning.

Sargent led off the home half with a single to left. Duffield attempted to bunt Sargent over to second but a throwing error by the pitcher advanced Duffield to second, while Sargent scored from first base to give UTEP a 4-2 lead. Pamala Baber then used a pinch-hit opportunity to put UTEP up 5-2 when she drove home Duffield on a double hit to left. Clayton then got a hold of a 2-2 pitch and sent it down the left field line for a two-run home run, to put her team up 7-2.

The Miners and Roadrunners exchanged runs in the sixth. Celeste Borza drove in a run, while Clayton answered with her fourth RBI off a liner up the middle that scored Blair.

UTSA put up two more runs in the seventh, but Devyn Cretz in a relief appearance and with bases loaded in the final frame, forced the power-hitting Baldwin to fly out to left to end the contest. Cretz threw 2.0 solid innings and tallied three strike outs.

Starting game two hurler Kira McKechnie (7-7), like Wright, won her first C-USA game, while it was McKechnie’s first victory since March 4. McKechnie threw 5.0 frames and recorded two K’s.

“We went ahead, but in the past, we kind of let it go,” Echo-Hawk said. “I kept telling them to keep fighting and stay strong; know that you’re good enough, play with confidence and everything is going to be fine. It didn’t come easy, but not at one point during that last inning did I see them holding their breath or giving up on themselves, they just kept fighting.”

Clayton hit her seventh long ball of the season, tying her career high for home runs hit during a single season. Clayton hit seven her freshman and sophomore seasons. Clayton’s dinger was also her 25th in her career, tying Simone Holland for fourth on the program’s all-time list. Clayton’s four RBI tied her career high, while it was a season high.

Clayton now has 108 RBI in her career, moving past Ashley Ellis (105 RBI) to sixth on the all-time list and one behind Amber Bennett. Clayton’s double during the first was her 48th in her career and is now tied for second on the all-time list with Chelsea Troupe.

The Miners pounded out 14 hits, led by Clayton’s three. Blair and Sargent each went 2-for-3, while Baber, Valles, Ryder, McKechnie, Smith, Duffield and Garcia each connected on knocks. For McKechnie, she doubled in the third for her first career double.

Up Next

Though UTEP won the series after the Friday two-game sweep, the Miners will look to complete the series sweep on Saturday at noon.

UTSA Rallies to Down Depleted Miners 65-61

SAN ANTONIO – Giovanni De Nicolao scored 12 of his 15 points in the second half and made several big plays down the stretch as UTSA rallied to defeat short-handed UTEP 65-61 on Saturday at the Convocation Center.

The Miners (7-12, 2-5 C-USA) only got 10 minutes from Matt Willms before he exited with an injury, and played most of the second half without Paul Thomas who got in foul trouble.  They almost held on for an inspired victory, leading for over 34 minutes of the game, but it was the Roadrunners (10-10, 3-4 C-USA) who came up big late.

“We played really good basketball for about 75 percent of the game and obviously we got into some foul trouble and had to go to our bench a little bit,” UTEP assistant coach Bobby Braswell said.  “Losing Matt is a big blow to us.  A bunch of little things didn’t go our way, but our guys really fought.  Our guys really gave a great effort.  They were locked in, they were tuned in to what we were trying to do defensively and offensively.  I have a lot of respect for our guys for what they did tonight.  Miner fans should be proud.  They showed a lot of heart and played extremely tough tonight against a team that made some big plays down the stretch, and we weren’t able to do that.”

After UTSA opened the game with a three-pointer the Miners scored eight straight points, part of a 21-2 run.  UTEP led 21-5 when Kobe Magee hit a jumper at the 12:21 mark.

“We did just a great job of executing the game plan, and a lot of it had to do with what we were doing defensively,” Braswell said.  “We were able to get some early run outs because we were able to get them to take some shots they’re probably not used to taking.  We defended really well and then offensively we came down and had a really good flow.  Isiah [Osborne] got off to a hot start for us and Kobe played really well at the very beginning of the game.  Those things really helped us.  I thought we played unselfishly and we didn’t turn the ball over.”

The Miners led 26-16 when Willms went out with 10:23 remaining in the half.  Within two minutes, the Roadrunners cut the deficit in half (28-23).  UTEP led 42-38 at halftime.

Thomas had one foul at halftime.  Ninety seconds into the second half, he had four.  He played six minutes in the second half.

“The three fouls Paul got early in the half, and then you take Matt out of the mix, that’s really our inside game right now without Tirus Smith being here,” Braswell said.  “You’ve got to give their coaches credit, a really smart move to not only play a zone but [they] extended their zone out to our shooters and made it really hard for us to get open shots on the perimeter.  We just didn’t have the inside game the way we normally would against that zone.  That was really tough.  But our guys made a great effort.”

The Miners scored 19 points in the second half, when they shot 20.8 percent (5-for-24) from the field and 13.3 percent (2-for-15) from three-point territory.  UTSA only scored 27 and shot 33.3 percent, but it was enough to win.

De Nicolao’s layup with 6:50 to play put UTSA in the lead (54-53) for the first time since it was 3-2.  That was the start of 10 straight points that he scored for the Roadrunners.

Still, the Miners took a 61-60 lead with 41 seconds left when Evan Gilyard fed Thomas for a basket down low.  But Nick Allen gave UTSA the lead for good, 62-61, on a jumper with 24 seconds remaining.  Then Omega Harris turned it over, and Jhivvan Jackson converted the miscue into a layup.  Osborne missed a three, and the game was all but over.

“We ran that play down there at the end and we got it to Paul down on the baseline and he scored and we had a one-point lead and really, all we had to do was get a stop.  We weren’t able to get a stop,” Braswell said.  “We weren’t able to get that stop that we needed.  We’ve been talking about defending better in the second half.  Tonight we did that.  They only scored 27 points in the second half, and they shot 33 percent from the floor in the second half.  So we did our job defensively, we just had a struggle on the offensive end.  It’s going to be great, it’s going to be exciting once we’re able to put the offense and the defense together in one game.”

Osborne led the Miners with 20 points.  Thomas added 12 points.  Keaton Wallace scored 20 points off the bench for UTSA.  The Miners did a bang-up job on the Roadrunners’ top player, Jhivvan Jackson.  Making his first start, he scored 11 points, making 3-of-14 shots and 1-of-9 three pointers.

“Omega did a great job on him tonight,” Braswell said.  “He had a tough assignment and I think people don’t realize when you’re assigned to a tough offensive guy like that, it takes a lot of energy from you.  Omega only got four shots up the entire game.  He’s got to get more shots up than that.  We’re not going to win if Omega is only taking four shots in the game.”

UTEP will continue a three-game C-USA road swing at UAB on Thursday.  Tip-off is 6 p.m. MT and the game will be televised on beIN Sports.

UTEP Hits Road to San Antonio to Take on UTSA & Incarnate Word

The UTEP softball team, after its eight-game home stand, will take the road again as San Antonio is the next destination point for five games.

UTEP will take on Conference USA West Division foe UTSA on April 1-2 and will follow with a two-game set at Incarnate Word on April 3.

The Miners (8-23, 3-6 C-USA) and the Roadrunners (12-21, 2-7 C-USA) will start their two-game set on Saturday, starting at noon MT/1 p.m. CT, while the series finale is at noon MT on Sunday. The Miners will then play their final nonconference contests, facing the Cardinals (5-26) in a doubleheader starting at noon MT.

UTEP is coming off its first home stand of 2017. The Miners tallied a pair of victories against Middle Tennessee, a 7-6 win on March 18 and a 10-7 triumph on March 19. The Orange and Blue registered a run-rule win over Southern Miss, 12-2 (5), on March 25.

Following the San Antonio road trip, the Miners will return to Helen of Troy to host WKU April 8-9 and will hit the road again at LA Tech on Easter Weekend prior to the bye week (April 22-23).

UTEP is coming off a pair of losses to rival NM State. The Miners fell in game one, 8-4, but did gather up 14 hits in the contest. It was tied for second most hits against the Aggies during their rivalry. UTEP then fell in game two, 13-4 (5).

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. UTSA

UTEP is 7-12 all-times versus UTSA dating back to Feb. 11, 2005, but has won the last two of three contests. Last season, the Miners won the first two contest on April 2, 5-3 and 9-2. Lindsey Sokoloski was the game one hero when the Miners were down. With the score 3-1 in favor of the Roadrunners, Sokoloski came up with a pinch-hit inside-the-park grand slam in the sixth that propelled the Miners to a 5-3 victory. Kaitlin Fifield picked up the win, throwing a complete game with three strikeouts.

In game two, UTEP won the series on a 9-2 victory.Hope Moreno finished 2-for-5 with a career-high five RBI. Moreno surged the Miners to victory when she connected on a three-run home run during a five-run sixth frame. UTSA rebounded to win game three, 10-5. Kiki Pepi went 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI in the loss. Prior to the two victories last season, the Miners had lost five in a row and eight of nine contests dating back to Feb. 12, 2010. UTEP defeated UTSA, 7-6, during Tobin Echo-Hawk’s first season (2014).

SCOUTING UTSA

The Roadrunners are coming off a 9-1 (5) loss against Texas on March 29 and have fallen to 12-21 overall on the season. UTSA also came off a sweep at North Texas and is now 2-7 in Conference USA action. The Roadrunners’ two C-USA victories came against UAB on March 17 (6-3, 8-0 [6]). UTSA is hitting .304 to rank third in C-USA.

Rylee Rodriguez (.336 avg.) has provided power, leading UTSA with eight home runs (tied fourth in C-USA) and 33 RBI (tied third in C-USA). Lindsey Stewart leads the team with a .395 batting average (45-114) and ranks tied third in C-USA with 45 hits. Lizzy Fox (9-11) leads the pitching staff in wins, ERA (4.26) and innings (97.0). Nicole Merrill leads the team in strikeouts (44) and walked batters (45) in 84.0 innings. As a team, UTSA ranks second to last in ERA (4.74).

ALL-TIME SERIES VS. INCARNATE WORD

UTEP is 5-1 all-time against Incarnate Word dating back to Feb. 14, 2014 – Tobin Echo-Hawk’s first season. The Miners and Cardinals opened the 2016 campaign with Incarnate Word coming out on top, 4-1, on Feb. 11.

The Miners answered with a game two, 13-3 (5), run-rule victory. Kiki Pepi established her career high with five RBI on a 2-for-4 outing, while Courtney Clayton went 4-for-4 and tying her career best with four RBI. Two days laterin Las Cruces, the Miners clipped the Cardinals again, 5-3, behind a RBI each from Clayton, Danielle Pearsonand Taylor Sargent.

SCOUTING INCARNATE WORD

The Cardinals are currently standing at a 5-26 overall record. One of these wins was over UTSA who the Miners will face in conference play this upcoming weekend. The Cardinals edged their way past the Roadrunners 5-4 in nine innings. Incarnate Word is hitting .228 as a team with senior Danielle Ramirez leading the squad, hitting .400 on 32 hits and three triples.

The Cardinals pitching staff has totaled an ERA of 6.19. Freshman Joanna Valencia has the lowest ERA at 4.87 with two wins and 20 strikeouts.

UTEP Men’s Golf Set to Compete in Border Olympics

Fresh off its highest finish in the spring, the UTEP men’s golf team will lace up their spikes again when they travel to Laredo, Texas, to compete in the Border Olympics March 10-11.
Participants will play 36 holes on Friday and the remaining 18 holes Saturday at the Laredo Country Club (Par 72/7,125 yards). 
 
Last year’s Border Olympics was shortened to two rounds due to rain. Baylor took home the team title after shooting 20-under-par 556 (277-279) and Haraldur Magnus of Louisiana won the individual title at 10-under-par 134 (66-68). The Miners, who tied for 11th with ULM, shot 4-over-par 580 (300-280), with Nicklas Pihl finishing at the top of the Miners’ scorecard in a tie for 8th at 4-under 140 (74-66).
 
UTEP finished in fourth place in the National Invitational Tournament last week in Tucson, Ariz., Pihl was also UTEP’s top finisher in a share of 11th place. 

The Miners will compete in a 19-team field that includes Houston, Bowling Green, Campbell, Houston Baptist, Lamar, Little Rock, Louisiana-Lafayette, McNesse State, Nebraska, New Mexico State, Oral Roberts, Rice, Sacramento State, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, Texas State, ULM and UTSA. 

Now in the meat of their spring schedule, the Miners will send Frederik Dreier (73 avg.), Aaron Terrazas (71.6 avg.), Pihl (73.3 avg.), Andreas Sorensen (74.5 avg.), Charles Corner (74.6 avg.), and Prescott Mann (73.6 avg.) to the links.   

Live scoring will be available at golfstat.com.

Border Olympics quick facts:

Date: Friday, March 10 – Saturday, March 11, 2017

Site: Laredo Country Club • Laredo, Texas (Par 72 / 7,125 Yards)

Format: 54-Hole Tournament • Two Days Friday, March 10 • 36 holes Saturday, March 11 • 18 holes

Live Scoring:Golfstat.com

http://www.golfstatresults.com/public/leaderboards/gsnav.cfm?pg=participants&tid=12037

Teams: 19-Team Field • Golfstat rankings as of March 8 listed
Houston, Bowling Green, Campbell, Houston Baptist, Lamar, Little Rock, Louisiana-Lafayette, McNeese State, Nebraska,

New Mexico State, Oral Roberts, Rice, Sacramento State, Sam Houston State, Stephen F. Austin, Texas State, ULM, UTEP, UTSA

UTEP Falls At UTSA 97-76

UTEP nailed 46 percent from the floor (28-61) and drilled a season-high eight triples but the one-two punch of Tesha Smith (38 points) and Loryn Goodwin (20 points) allowed homestanding UTSA to topple the Miners, 97-76, Saturday afternoon.

Sparkle Taylor (16 points), Lulu McKinney (season-high 15 points, nine assists) and Najala Howell (15 points) all reached double figures in scoring to pace the Miners (5-13, 2-4 C-USA) but the Roadrunners (9-8, 5-1 C-USA) simply had too much firepower.

The Roadrunners piled up 52 points in the paint-while adding 31 more (on 39 attempts) at the free-throw line. UTSA finished at 48 percent (31-64) from the floor, in spite of the Miners holding it to just 4-20 (20.0 percent) from three-point range.

The most damage was done in the second quarter, with Smith (12 points) and Goodwin (11 points) teaming up to power UTSA to a 35-17 advantage in the period. UTEP went toe-to-toe with UTSA in the in the first (18-17), third (23-23) and fourth (18-22) quarters but it wasn’t enough to compensate for that second frame.

There were plenty of whistles, with 29 fouls (third most in the Keitha Adams era) going against UTEP and 20 infractions vs. UTSA. To its credit UTSA took advantage with the 31-39 readout at the line while the Miners finished at 12-23 from the charity stripe.

There were four lead changes and two ties. Both UTSA (10 turnovers) and UTEP (15 turnovers) did well with ball security.

“If we score 76 points that usually would mark a UTEP win,” Adams said. “We are usually pretty good defensively but we weren’t today. You’ve got to tip your hat to UTSA; they’ve got a good ball club.”

After the two sides traded baskets over the first few possessions, the Roadrunners scored five straight to lead, 12-6, with 5:11 to play in quarter. The Miners made some outstanding adjustments, holding UTSA to without a field goal the rest of the period to fuel a 12-5 run to close the frame up one (18-17). The margin would have been bigger, but UTSA did well to get to the line.

The home side found something that worked in the second quarter, opening up the frame on an 11-1 push to vault out to a nine-point cushion (28-19, 6:33 2Q). The differential remained nine (34-25, 3:30 3Q) before an uncommon sequence sparked a big run for UTSA. Carlie Heineman hit a triple that counted, plus a loose-ball foul on UTEP resulted in two free throws (both good) for a five-point possession.

Jessica Barbosa used a strong move on the ensuing UTEP possession but the Roadrunners responded with five straight points to lead 44-27 (2:16 second quarter). The two sides traded scores the remainder of the frame, putting the Orange and Blue in a 17-point deficit (at the break (52-35) at the break.

The Miners had the perfect start to the third quarter, ripping off seven straight points in the blink of an eye to suddenly make it a 10-point game (52-42). McKinney started it with a triple, followed by consecutive stops. Zuzanna Puc and Taylor added baskets to account for the sequence.

To their credit the Roadrunners answered with eight straight points to move back out by 18. UTEP continued to play hard the rest of the way but it could never get closer than 14 the rest of the way.

UTEP will put this game in the rearview mirror and return home to play host to WKU at 7:05 p.m. MST Thursday. There will be free admission to the game as part of the annual “Pack The House” promotion.

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H-P Sports In Depth: Miners Vie For Third Straight Win Versus Rising UTSA

After posting consecutive victories for the first time this season, UTEP (4-13, 2-3 C-USA) will attempt to sweep a three-game league homestand on Saturday when UTSA (9-9, 4-1 C-USA) invades the Don Haskins Center at 7 p.m.

The Roadrunners have been one of the league’s biggest surprises in their first year under coach Steve Henson.  UTSA, which has yet to lose at the Convocation Center in San Antonio (8-0), pulled a shocker on Jan. 7 when it won at LA Tech, 69-68.

“They are playing well,” UTEP coach Tim Floyd said.  “[Coach Henson] has done a great job.  They’re a really terrific rebounding team.  They are very good defensively.  That is where they have made their biggest improvement.  They have added personnel, which always helps.”

UTSA is second in C-USA in three-point field goal defense (.322), third in rebound margin (+5.1 rpg), and fourth in scoring defense (68.2 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.415).

Junior forward Jeff Beverly averages a team-leading 15.9 ppg along with 6.3 rpg.  Senior guard Nick Billingsley chips in with 11.1 ppg and tops the team with 24 three-point field goals.

“They’ve got an outstanding player [Beverly] who’s playing at a first team All-League level right now,” Floyd said.  “They’ve got a point guard [Giovanni De Nicolao] that is emerging as a very good player.  It’s a good team.  They thoroughly whipped us in the last ballgame.  We had a hard time scoring and we’re going to hope for improvement.”

The Miners lost at UTSA on Jan. 1 (67-55), but they’ve won 18 of their last 19 C-USA home games.

UTEP rose from a tie for 12th place in C-USA to a tie for eighth place following last week’s overtime victories over FIU and Florida Atlantic.  They’ll try to square their league mark at 3-3 against the Roadrunners.

The Miners have gotten solid play from sophomore forward Paul Thomas in league action.  He is averaging 11.4 points and 7.2 rebounds, shooting 64.9 percent from the field.

“Paul has been our most improved player this year,” Floyd said.  “He has just gotten better.  He is playing with confidence.  He’s not turning the ball over.  He is starting to rebound it a little bit.  He is finishing shots around the basket that he didn’t finish earlier.  He is gaining some confidence from 15 feet.”

UTEP senior guard Dominic Artis is nine points shy of 1,000 for his career.  He is on pace to become the first player in school history to tally 400 points, 150 rebounds, 150 assists and 50 steals in a season.

“His biggest strength has been his defensive rebounding all year long,” Floyd said.  “We would love to see him shoot the ball from the three and from the two and create plays for others in order to move this team forward.  We’re going to play off of him.  The ball is in his hands an awful lot.  You have to have great decision-making and sometimes you have to defer.  I trust that he’s going to play well the second half of the year.”

The Miners are on a roll and hope to keep it going on Saturday.  They are beginning a demanding stretch with their next six games versus teams that were a combined 24-8 in the league entering play on Thursday.

The crowd played a major role in the team getting back on track last weekend.

“We just appreciate the fans that have been here and their support,” Floyd said.  “I think they saw two good basketball games last weekend.  We know that those people will be back and we hope to build on that.”

Saturday is “Youth Sports Night.”  Youth teams can purchase group tickets by calling 747-7450.  UTEP single-game tickets are available by calling 747-5234.  Saturday’s game will feature a special halftime recognition of UTEP football All-Americans Will Hernandez and Aaron Jones.  Hernandez will be in attendance, and Jones will provide a video message as he continues to prep for the NFL Draft.

OPENING TIP

–    After posting consecutive victories for the first time this season, UTEP (4-13, 2-3 C-USA) will attempt to sweep a three-game C-USA homestand on Saturday when UTSA (9-9, 4-1 C-USA) invades El Paso.
–    The Miners lost at UTSA, 67-55, in their league opener on Jan. 1.
–    UTEP is seeking its first three-game win streak since Feb. 4-20, 2016 (six straight).
–    The Miners are coming off back-to-back one-point overtime victories.  UTEP topped FIU in double overtime (88-87) on Jan. 12 and Florida Atlantic in overtime (66-65) on Jan. 14.  UTEP played consecutive overtime games for the first time since January of 1995, and scored consecutive overtime victories for the first time since the 1966 NCAA Tournament when it knocked off Cincinnati (78-76 OT) and Kansas (81-80 2OT) in succession.
–    UTEP has registered consecutive one-point wins for only the second time in school history.  The first time was on Feb. 20(beat New Mexico 68-67) and Feb. 25 (beat Wyoming 66-65) in 1971.   Both of those games were played in El Paso.
–    The Miners are 74-17 in C-USA home games.  UTEP has won 18 of its last 19 league home games dating back to the 2014-15 season.
–    The Miners have been particularly good in C-USA home games in the month of January, posting a 33-6 record with wins in 22 of their last 25 outings.
–    UTEP is 45-12 in C-USA home games under coach Tim Floyd.

LONE STAR DOMINANCE

–    UTEP is 28-2 in home games versus Conference USA Texas schools since joining the league for the 2005-06 season.
–    The breakdown by opponent is as follows: SMU (8-0), Houston (7-1), Rice (8-1), UTSA (3-0) and North Texas (2-0).
–    The Miners haven’t dropped a home game to a C-USA school from Texas since Feb. 29, 2012, when Rice spoiled the Miners’ “Senior Day” with a 68-61 triumph.  The homecourt win streak over C-USA Texas schools stands at 11 games.

ABOUT UTSA

–    The Roadrunners have been one of the league’s biggest surprises in their first year under the direction of coach Steve Henson.
–    UTSA, which has yet to lose at the Convocation Center in San Antonio this season (8-0), pulled a shocker on Jan. 7 when it won at LA Tech, 69-68.  The Roadrunners have also beaten UTEP (67-55), Florida Atlantic (68-63) and FIU (57-55) at home and lost at Southern Miss (77-59).
–    Henson is a former long-time assistant to Lon Kruger.  His coaching background includes stints at Illinois (1999-00), South Florida (2003-04), UNLV (2004-11) and Oklahoma (2011-16).  Henson also was an advance scout and assistant coach with the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks.  Henson spent seven seasons in the NBA as a player with Milwaukee, Atlanta, Charlotte, Portland and Detroit.
–    Junior forward Jeff Beverly, a transfer from McLennan [Texas] CC, averages a team-leading 15.9 ppg along with 6.3 rpg.  The 6-6, 250-pound Beverly was a walk-on tight end with the UTSA football team during the fall 2015 semester.
–    Senior guard Nick Billingsley chips in with 11.1 ppg for the Roadrunners and tops the team with 24 three-point field goals.  He is shooting 38.1 percent from beyond the arc.
–    UTSA is second in C-USA in three-point field goal defense (.322), third in rebound margin (+5.1 rpg), and fourth in scoring defense (68.2 ppg) and field goal percentage defense (.415).

SERIES HISTORY

–     UTEP leads the series 9-3.  The Miners are 5-2 versus the Roadrunners since they joined the league for the 2013-14 season.
–     UTEP is 6-1 versus the Roadrunners in the Sun City.  The Miners hosted UTSA during the 1981-82 (won 65-37), 1997-98 (won 71-62), 1998-99 (won 78-61), 2011-12 (lost 73-64), 2013-14 (won 81-62), 2014-15 (won 69-62) and 2015-16 (won 81-74) seasons.

THE LAST MEETING

–    Nick Billingsley scored 17 points in a reserve role, leading UTSA to a 67-55 win over UTEP in the Conference USA opener for both schools on Jan. 1 at the Convocation Center.
–    The Miners took a 38-37 lead, their last of the game, on a layup by Dominic Artis with 14:40 remaining.  But they went cold after that, managing only two field goals over the next nine minutes.  UTSA wasn’t much more prolific offensively during the stretch, outscoring the Miners 13-4 to go ahead 50-42.
–    Artis cut the deficit down to five (50-45) on a three-pointer with 5:29 left.  But the Roadrunners scored the next seven points, including five from Lucas O’Brien, to put it away.
–    UTEP shot 44.7 percent for the game, but that number cooled off to 40.9 percent in the second half.  The Miners scored nine field goals in the final 20 minutes, but three of those came over the final 2:37, and all from Artis who scored 18 points.
–    The Miners coughed up the ball 16 times, leading to 22 points for the home team.  Besides UTSA turning it over only nine times, free throws were a difference-maker as the Roadrunners were 24-for-30 at the stripe and UTEP was 10-for-19, including 6-for-13 in the second half.  The Miners made their last three free throws after starting the second half 3-for-10.
–    Omega Harris scored 12 points.  Paul Thomas had seven points and nine rebounds and Matt Willms added six points and eight boards.  But the Miners lost the rebounding battle 34-32.
–    O’Brien and Gino Littles scored 13 and 11 points, respectively, for UTSA.

LAST GAME: UTEP 66, FLORIDA ATLANTIC 65 (OT)

–    Omega Harris scored 18 points, and hit the jumper that gave the Miners the lead for good to start overtime in an eventual 66-65 victory over Florida Atlantic on Jan. 14 at the Haskins Center.
–    The Miners held FAU to 36.2 percent shooting, including 21.4 percent (6-for-28) from three-point range.  Gerdarius Troutman almost single-handedly kept the Owls in the game, scoring 22 points and making all six of his team’s three pointers.  He was 6-for-9 from beyond the arc, and the rest of the squad was 0-for-19.
–    UTEP led throughout the first half and remained in front until 3:57 remaining in regulation, when Troutman hit two free throws for a 50-49 FAU lead.  It was the Owls’ first advantage since 4-2 early on.
–    Willms broke a 52-52 tie on a free throw with 1:22 remaining, and Dominic Artis’ layup pushed the Miner lead to three (55-52) with 13 seconds left.  Troutman hit his fifth three of the game with five seconds on the clock to sent it to overtime.
–    The Miners scored the first four points in overtime, built an eight-point lead (66-58) with 1:15 to play, then withstood a furious rally by the Owls.  After Troutman cut it to one (66-65) on his final triple of the evening with three seconds left, the ball was inbounded to Trey Touchet who threw it into the frontcourt, enabling time to run out.
–    UTEP placed four players in double figure scoring for the second consecutive game.  Matt Willms scored 16, Paul Thomas had 14 points and eight rebounds, and Artis added 11 points.
–    After falling behind 4-2 early, the Miners scored eight straight points to take a 10-4 lead on a layup by Harris with 14:34remaining in the half.  Florida Atlantic knotted the score at 11, but UTEP answered with a 9-0 run to power ahead 20-11 on a layup by Touchet with 8:43 to play.
–    Florida Atlantic ended the half with an 8-2 run to trim a 24-15 deficit down to 26-23.  Troutman made two of his three first-half three-pointers over the final 3:29 of the period.

MINERS IN THE NCAA STATS

–    Dominic Artis was ninth in the nation in minutes (37.0 mpg), 11th in assists (6.4 apg) and 30th in steals (2.1 spg) through Jan. 19.  Omega Harris was 13th in minutes (36.6 mpg).

National Assist Leaders (Through Jan. 19)

1.    Maurice Watson Jr. (Creighton)    8.5 apg
2.    Lonzo Ball (UCLA)    8.2 apg
3.    Kyron Cartwright (Providence)    7.1 apg
Austin Luke (Belmont)    7.1 apg
Jaaron Simmons (Ohio)    7.1 apg
6.    Erick Neal (UT Arlington)    6.8 apg
7.    Christen Cunningham (Samford)    6.7 apg
Jaylen Adams (St. Bonaventure)    6.7 apg
9.    Jalen Adams (UConn)    6.5 apg
Tra-Deon Hollins (Omaha)    6.5 apg
11.    Dominic Artis (UTEP)    6.4 apg

H-P Sports in Depth: Miners travel to Alamo City to battle UTSA

UTEP (5-12, 2-3 C-USA) will take aim at its second straight road win when it plays at UTSA (8-8, 4-1 C-USA) at 1 p.m. MST in San Antonio Saturday.

This is the second meeeting between the programs this year; UTSA secured an 83-81 OT win in El Paso in the Conference USA opener for both teams on Jan. 1, 2017. Both teams have been idle since Jan. 14, but the Roadrunners have won three straight and five of their past six games.

UTEP has played back-to-back one-point games, a program first. The Miners lost the longest tilt in school history (88-87, 3OT) on a 35-foot buzzer beater at FIU (1/12/17). Fate was with UTEP two days later as Florida Atlantic’s three pointer at the buzzer danced on the rim before dropping out for a 51-50 Miner win (1/14/17).

Three of the first five league games have been decided by two points or less for the first time at UTEP. That already ties as the most such games in an entire season of conference play at the school.  It previously happened in 1993-94 (Western Athletic Conference), 1990-91 (WAC), and 1976-77 (Intermountain Athletic Conference).

The Miners are in the midst of playing three straight and seven of nine away from home.

Following Saturday’s game, UTEP returns home for WKU (free admission with “Pack The House”, 7:05 p.m. MST, Jan. 26) and Marshall (2 p.m., Jan. 28) before having four straight league road games for the first time since 2005-06 (first year as a member of C-USA).

UTEP is in search of consecutive wins for the first time on the year; it is also attempting to get off to a start of at least 3-3 in league play for the 14th straight season.

This year’s Miners are trying to become the first team in program history to get back to .500 in league play after a 1-3 (or worse) start to the conference slate. In the prior 13 such seasons at the school (2001-02, 1999-00, 1996-97, 1995-96, 1991-92, 1984-85, 1983-84, 1981-82, 1979-80, 1978-79, 1977-78, 1976-77, 1975-76) UTEP was unable to climb back to .500 in conference play at any point on the year.

Fans can listen live to Steve Kaplowitz (play-by-play) call on 600 ESPN El Paso, KROD-AM Radio or by following the Miners (@UTEPWBB) or Roadrunners (@UTSAWBB) on Twitter.

THIS AND THAT ON CONFERENCE USA

–  Teams play all 13 members at least once and face five teams in home-and-home for 18-game C-USA slate.

–  The top 12 teams (14 in C-USA) will qualify for the single-elimination tournament (March 8-11, Birmingham, Ala.-UAB) with the top four teams as seeded by regular season standings receiving a bye. The winner will gain the league’s automatic bid to the NCAA Championship.

–  Charlotte (5-1), WKU (5-1) and Middle Tennessee (5-1) share first place with UTSA (4-1) one-half game back.The other 10 teams in the league are .500 or worse. Florida Atlantic (0-6) is only team without a league win.

INSIDE THE SERIES

–  UTSA leads, 20-10, including an 83-81 OT win in the C-USA opener for both squads in El Paso (1/1/17).

–  The series is 4-3 in favor of UTSA since the Roadrunners joined Conference USA

–  The Roadrunners are 11-3 all time vs. UTEP in San Antonio, including 2-1 in C-USA contests. The Miners won 67-56 at the UTSA Convocation Center on Jan. 25, 2014, but UTSA has successfully defended its home court the past two seasons. UTSA toppled #25 UTEP, 69-64, on March 3, 2016, while also picking up a 72-59 triumph on Feb. 21, 2015.

–  The series dates to the 1980’s when both squads were members of the Oil Country Athletic Conference.

 

GETTING TO KNOW UTSA Overall: 8-8 Home: 5-5   Road: 3-3    Neutral: 0-0 | C-USA: 4-1  Home: 1-1   Road: 3-0

–  UTSA lost all five starters from last year’s squad (10-19, 6-12 C-USA). The Roadrunners returned five letter winners while adding six newcomers.

–  UTSA has won three straight (season high) and five of six to hit .500 (8-8) for first time this year.

–  UTSA is among the leaders for C-USA and sports a top-100 NCAA rankings for steals/game (10.7-second/39th), total steals (171-third/61st), free throws attempted (341-second/67th), fewest total turnovers (248-fourth/74th), turnover margin (+2.25-fourth/85th), free throws made (227-fourth/94th), and fewest total fouls (278-sixth/97th). It is also fourth in the league/101st nationally for turnovers forced/game (17.8).

–  Loryn Goodwin is elite in C-USA and has a top-15 NCAA ranking for free throws made (91-second/14th) and attempted (139-first/sixth) and steals/game (3.4-second/10th). Goodwin also tops the squad while also being among the leaders for C-USA and top-100 nationally for points/game (18.1-third/55th) and minutes/game (35.5-fifth/64th).

–  Tesha Smith tops the squad in rebounds/game (7.7-ninth/201st) while ranking second in scoring (12.3). Smith’s scoring totals have been helped by going 61 (seventh C-USA/112th nation) of 91 (fourth C-USA/67th nation) from the charity stripe.

–  Carlie Heineman adds 9.3 points/game, aided by nailing 34.0 percent (34-100) from beyond-the-arc. Heineman is also second on the squad for minutes/game (34.4-seventh/107th).

–  UTSA is in its fourth year as a member of Conference USA; it previously competed in the Oil Country Athletic Conference and Southland Conference. The Miners also were once members in the OCAC.

–  Made the NCAA Tournament in 2008 and 2009; won the SLC regular-season title in 2003 and 2009 while taking the SLC Tournament title in 2009.

–  Notable university alumni include Michelle Beadle (ESPN2 personality), Bruce Bowen (former NBA player for the Spurs) and Kim Spradlin (CBS’ Survivor: One World Winner).

LAST MEETING WITH UTSA (UTSA 83, at UTEP 81 (1/1/17)-OT

  Sparkle Taylor (career-high tying 28 points) and sophomore Najala Howell (career-high 20 points) provided a nice one-two scoring punch but UTSA’s Tesha Smith converted a putback off Loryn Goodwin’s air ball with four seconds left in overtime to send her squad past UTEP, 83-81, in the C-USA opener for both squads at the Don Haskins Center on Jan. 1. Zuzanna Puc’s shot to force double overtime just missed.

–  There were 10 ties and 14 lead changes and was the first OT contest to start league play since ‘04-05.

–  UTEP, which trailed by 10 (17-7) five minutes in, forced OT with Howell’s trey with 0.5 seconds left.

–  Taylor made the most field goals (13) by a Miner since 1999.

–  Tamara Seda recorded her second straight and fifth double-double (11 points, 10 rebounds) on the year

–  UTEP made eight more field goals (34-82, 41.5 percent) while also shooting a better percentage than UTSA (26-70, 37.1 percent) but the Roadrunners overcame that through a barrage of three pointers (9-21) and living at the free-throw line (22-31). UTEP was 8-10 on free throws despite holding advantages for both points in the paint (40-28) and second-chance points (18-14).

Metz Finds Redix for Winning TD; UTEP Gets Past UTSA 52-49 in 5OT

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Ryan Metz hooked up with Warren Redix on a six-yard touchdown pass in the fifth overtime as UTEP defeated UTSA 52-49 on Saturday night in the Alamodome.

UTSA (3-4, 2-2 Conference USA) opened the contest by jumping out to a 14-0 lead over UTEP (2-5, 1-3 C-USA). The Miners halted a five-game losing streak after the exciting finish.

Tonight’s five-overtime game was the first in C-USA history.

After a back-and-forth, scoreless fourth quarter, Victor Falcon connected on a 43-yard field goal in the first overtime. But Jay Mattox answered with a 32-yard kick to bring the contest into the second overtime.

UTEP took a 38-31 advantage when Metz found Aaron Jones on a 25-yard touchdown. However, on a third-down play, Dalton Sturm tied the score when he found Brady Jones for a 25-yard connection.

After getting the ball back for the third overtime, Sturm then gave his squad a 46-38 lead when he threw a nine-yard touchdown to Kerry Thomas, Jr., while converting the two-point conversion.

One of the night’s heroes, Walter Dawn, scored on a 12-yard rush in the third overtime. Metz went on to tie the game 46-46 when he found Hayden Plinke in the end zone for the two-point conversion.

Drama ensued in the fourth overtime. The Miners took the ball down to the two-yard line, but fumbled under center, giving the ball back to the Roadrunners. But a missed 42-yard field goal attempt extended the contest.

UTSA took the field first in the fifth overtime as the Roadrunners were forced to kick a 33-yard field goal to go up 49-46. But the relentless Miners went four plays that ended in a game winning Metz-to-Redix touchdown.

Metz tied his career high with a trio of touchdown passes, while throwing for 211 yards on 15-of-23 passing. Jones rushed for 113 yards on 21 carries (5.4 avg.) with a rushing score and two receiving touchdowns, while Dawn tallied two rushing touchdowns and a receiving score. Plinke led the Miners with 84 yards on four receptions. Jones added 56 yards on four catches as well.

UTSA got on the board first as running back Jarveon Williams found tight end Shaq Williams for a three-yard touchdown. The score was setup after Sturm was sacked on a third-down play. The Roadrunners then faked a field goal attempt from the UTEP 33-yard line as the holder Yannis Routsas completed a 30-yard pass to Jarrod McLin, a freshman defensive end.

The Roadrunners jumped on the Miners 14-0 late in the first quarter with a 53-yards scoring pass – Sturm to Thomas, Jr. with 2:54 remaining in the quarter.

But the Miners answered on a six-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a Jones 41-yard touchdown as time expired in the first quarter. Metz made a pair of key throws on the drive as he found Kent Taylor for a gain of 19 yards on a third-and-eight and hooked up with his Andress High School teammate Eddie Sinegal for a gain of 15 yards that set up the score.

After a UTSA missed 52-yard field goal attempt from the 35-yard line, the Miners went on a six-play, 65-yard scoring drive. Dawn tied the contest on an eight-yard jet sweep, his first career touchdown. Jones set up the play after he gained 12 yards on a fourth-and-two.

UTSA gained the lead back 21-14 on a Sturm one-yards quarterback sneak with five seconds remaining in the half. The Roadrunners went 16 plays for 75 yards on the drive. The drive featured a UTSA player being ejected for an unsportsmanlike penalty.

Jalen Rhodes’s 28-yard scamper into the end zone gave his squad a 28-14 coming out of the locker room. The drive went 75 yards on six plays.

UTEP got within seven points after Metz found Jones for a 27-yards reception down the right side. The Miners went 97 yards on seven plays after kick returner Jaquan White took the kickoff out of the end zone to the UTEP three-yard line.

After the Roadrunners were forced to punt on the ensuing drive, Kavika Johnson found Dawn on a 74-yard deep pass to tie the game 28-28. On the play, Metz threw a lateral pass down the right side. Johnson then whipped the ball out to a wide-open Dawn to the left side.

Defensively, Devin Cockrell tallied a season-high 10 tackles, while Nik Needham set his career best with nine stops. Nick Usher also had nine tackles and added a sack. UTEP broke up six passes on the night. Dashone Smith came up with a big interception on a flee flicker that Sturm went deep into the end zone.

It was the first multiple overtime game for UTEP since defeating Houston in two overtimes in 2005.

UTEP will host Old Dominion in the 85th Homecoming game in the Sun Bowl on Oct. 29 at 6 p.m. MT

Story in Six Pics: UTSA at UTEP – Senior Night

UTEP Senior #15 Tevin Caldwell with his mother and Coach Tim Floyd
UTEP Senior #15 Tevin Caldwell with his mother and Coach Tim Floyd
UTEP Senior #15 Tevin Caldwell with his mother look at the video board as Caldwell Father sends a video message from Afghanistan.
UTEP Senior #15 Tevin Caldwell with his mother look at the video board as Caldwell Father sends a video message from Afghanistan.
UTEP Senior #20 Earvin Morris holds up his framed UTEP jersey during the senior day celebrations
UTEP Senior #20 Earvin Morris holds up his framed UTEP jersey during the senior day celebrations
UTEP Senior #23 Hooper Vent and his Family during Senior day celebrations
UTEP Senior #23 Hooper Vent and his Family during Senior day celebrations
UTEP Senior #13 Victor Mbachu and his family during Senior day festivities
UTEP Senior #13 Victor Mbachu and his family during Senior day festivities

UTSA vs Tep BB-12

UTEP's Dominic Artis and Tevin Caldwell saying a Prayer during warm ups vs UTSA
UTEP’s Dominic Artis and Tevin Caldwell saying a Prayer during warm ups vs UTSA

UTSA vs Tep BB-15

UTEP Senior #20 Earvin Morris with the shot vs UTSA
UTEP Senior #20 Earvin Morris with the shot vs UTSA
UTEP Senior #13 Victor Mbachu
UTEP Senior #13 Victor Mbachu
UTEP Senior #20 Earvin Morris with the shot vs UTSA
UTEP Senior #20 Earvin Morris with the shot vs UTSA
UTEP's Lee Moore #4 and #1 Dominic Artis
UTEP’s Lee Moore #4 and #1 Dominic Artis
UTEP's Dominic Artis with the shot attempt vs UTSA
UTEP’s Dominic Artis with the shot attempt vs UTSA
UTSA vs Tep BB-24
UTSA #24 Phillip Jones with the shot attempt
UTSA vs Tep BB-25
UTSA #2 J.R. Harris
UTEP's Omega Harris #2
UTEP’s Omega Harris #2

UTSA vs Tep BB-30

UTEP Senior #15 Tevin Caldwell
UTEP Senior #15 Tevin Caldwell
UTEP #5 Paul Thomas
UTEP #5 Paul Thomas

When it rains, it pours: UTSA storms to 25-6 win over UTEP

As the UTEP Miners learned Saturday, when it rains, it truly pours. Slogging through a four-hour long marathon game, two weather delays, a freshman quarterback throwing four interceptions, and three more injuries added to an already depleted squad, it was no surprise that lightning did in fact strike twice at the Sun Bowl. A glance toward the big, soaked scoreboard told the story: UTSA 25 – UTEP 6.

It all came to fruition for the Roadrunners following a second 35-minute lightning delay, when UTSA came out like a West TexasUTSA V UTEP-116 gullywasher; an onslaught of 15-straight points within a matter of two minutes plus during the third quarter.

The Roadrunners were looking to score with 11 seconds to go in the 2nd quarter, about to set up a field goal following a fumble by UTEP punt returner Jaquan White, at the Miner 38 when the lightning lit up the Sun Bowl yet again. Both coaches agreed to call the final seconds of the half and resume play in the third quarter following a 35-minute delay.

That extended break, which was either an extra breather, locker room restlessness or a combination of both gave the Roadruners the spark they needed to dominate the rest of the game.

UTEP, who lost their 6th-straight ConferenceUSA opener, went into a forced halftime down just 3-0, where they tried to figure out their offense that was held to 85 yards and just five first downs in the first half.

Following the second delay, UTSA was forced to punt on the ensuing drive but pinned the Miners back to their own 2-yard line. What ensued ? A total collapse in every fashion imaginable.

UTSA V UTEP-162First it was QB Kavika Johnson, who kept the ball and was sacked at the goal line, resulting in a safety and a 5-0 UTSA lead. Next drive, Williams rushed it in from 25 yards out and finally, a 40-yard interception return for a touchdown by safety Michael Egwuagu.

A quick 15-point swing that took only 2:17 and put UTEP down 18-0. The Miners were seemingly thunderstruck by the Roadrunners.

Even though play resumed from both delays with scores from UTSA –  a field goal the first time and the 15-0 run after the second one – UTEP Head Coach Sean Kugler did not blame the weather.

“We don’t make excuses like that. We didn’t play well, we didn’t generate any offense, we gave up two pick sixes and a safety. It was a telling story,” Kugler said.

Despite picking up 275 yards of total offense, the UTEP offense never really found its groove as QB Ryan Metz had his worst game to date.

Metz finished 22-of-48 for 212 yards, four interceptions and a touchdown.

Two were returned for a touchdown while the third wasUTSA V UTEP-148 thrown in the end zone as the Miners were down 12 just outside the red zone and with over five minutes to play.

“We’ve got a freshman quarterback in there. I’ve been telling everybody the kid’s been playing outstanding but he’s a freshman,” Kugler said. “I knew he was going to have a game like this. I couldn’t predict where or when it was going to be but I knew there was going to be a game like this.”

Holding back tears at the post-game press conference, Metz said he took full responsibility for the game, as his coach did during his interview. He also said the locker room was so quiet, “you could hear a penny drop” except for a few comforting words headed his way.

“Every player came up to me and said they still have faith in me, they still love me and that’s all that matters,” Metz said. “This is a tough one to swallow. I didn’t come in here imagining I was going to throw four interceptions and put us in a bind we were in.”

If Metz wants to move forward, he’s going to have to do it with a few key players missing on the other side of the ball.  Kugler said three defensive players were hurt tonight and left the game early: linebacker Alvin Jones and safeties Ishmael Harrison and Kelvin Fisher.

“We’re beat up, man. You lose your entire starting backfield and it’s tough to regroup,” Kugler said. “We’re bare bones and we’re just going to have to fight. I can’t put it any other way.”

UTEP now hits the road and to continue CUSA play at Florida International University, next Saturday, October 10th at 10 a.m. (MDT).  The American Sports Network  will televise the game, and it will be seen on KDBC Channel 4.

UTSA V UTEP-54

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