After a tumultuous offseason that was hindered by the COVID-19 pandemic, UTEP Football is set for its long-awaited return as the Miners welcome Stephen F. Austin to town to open the 2020 season.
The season-opening contest was recently added to the schedule on August 21 after UTEP’s previously schedule home-opener versus Texas Tech was canceled.
UTEP is led by head coach Dana Dimel, who is in year three of a rebuild of the Miners program. UTEP enters the season with 36 returners and 30 newcomers. Of the returners, the Miners bring back 12 starters combined on offense and defense.
The Miners and Lumberjacks have never met on the gridiron prior to Saturday’s contest. Stephen F. Austin is led by second-year head coach by Colby Carthel, who went 3-9 in 2019, but had to eventually had to vacate those three wins.
Kickoff is set for 7:05 p.m. MT this Saturday at the Sun Bowl in El Paso.
As far as coverage, the game will be streamed on ESPN3 for subscribers with Erik Elken (play-by-play) and Trevor Vittatoe (analysis) calling all the action on Saturday night. Fans can also tune in to the radio broadcast on ESPN 600 El Paso to hear Jon Teicher (PxP) and Mike Perez (analysis) on the call.
- The Miners enter Saturday’s game versus Stephen F. Austin with a 60-37-4 record in home openers, including a 36-34 win over Southland Conference foe Houston Baptist to begin the 2019 season. Overall, UTEP brings a 44-53-5 overall record in season openers into Saturday’s game versus the Lumberjacks. UTEP is 36-22-3 in season openers played at home.
- On Aug. 23, redshirt sophomore Gavin Hardison was named the starting quarterback for the Miners ahead of the 2020 season. Hardison played in two games for the Miners last season and was able to redshirt after seeing action against UAB and Rice. In those two games, Hardison was 27-of-61 passing for 335 yards, one touchdown and no interceptions. Hardison, a native of Hobbs, New Mexico who transferred to UTEP last season from NMMI, emerged as the starter for the Miners. UTEP is one of 14 programs in the country who enters the season with zero starts returning at quarterback.
- In addition to UTEP’s season-opener versus Stephen F. Austin, the Miners have also added a home game against Abilene Christian on Sept. 19 and a road contest at ULM on Sept. 26. UTEP is currently one of nine teams in the nation that has 12 games scheduled in 2020.
- UTEP will have a total of 13 newcomers on the depth chart when the 2020 season begins on Saturday. The Miners have eight new faces on the defensive two-deep, three on offense and two newcomers on special teams. The 13 newcomers include: Jadrian Taylor (DE), Kelton Moss (DT), Keenan Stewart (DT), Deylon Williams (DE), Gary Theard (LB), Connor Helsius (LB), Dennis Barnes (CB), Deshaun Trotter (S), Stephen Hubbard (OL), Zach Fryar (TE), Josh Farr (WR), Joshua Sloan (P) and Angelo Tejada (LS).
- Two integral members of the UTEP receiving corps, sophomore Jacob Cowing and senior Justin Garrett, both came on strong to close out the 2019 campaign. Over the last six games, Cowing and Garrett produced 441 and 370 receiving yards, respectively. Cowing led all Conference USA freshmen with 550 receiving yards a year ago, including a UTEP freshman record 145 yards against Charlotte. Garrett and Cowing both return as offensive weapons for the Miners in 2020.
GAME DAY CENTRAL
UTEP will transition to mobile ticketing for all athletics events beginning this fall. The online ticketing process is simple and will apply to both season and individual game tickets.
Fans can go online, select “My Account,” log in and select the events that they want to manage. From this menu they can either add tickets to their Apple Wallet or save tickets to their phone. They will also be able to transfer the tickets to others. Tickets will be scanned from smartphones by security attendants as patrons enter Athletics facilities.
Parking passes will also be provided digitally through the UTEP Ticket page this fall. Fans not in possession of a smartphone can call (915) 747-UTEP for assistance.
Be in the stands this Saturday as 1,000 fans are treated as VIPs by GECU.
Clear Bag Policy
UTEP Athletics will be implementing a clear bag policy for all six 2020 football home games, and continuing throughout the 2020-21 athletic year. The new policy is designed to expedite entry, increase safety and limit the physical contact associated with traditional bag searches. The policy will also help to enforce social distancing protocols at security checkpoints.
Ticket holders, including children, will be allowed to enter with bags provided they meet one of these specifications:
- Bags (including clear backpacks) that are clear plastic, vinyl or PVC and do not exceed 12″x6″x12″
- One-gallon clear plastic freezer bag (Ziploc bag or similar)
- Small clutch bag approximately the size of a hand (4.5″ x 6.5″ or smaller), with or without a handle or strap. This can be carried separately or within a plastic bag
- Medical bags that contain health necessary items are acceptable after proper inspection and approval from venue personnel/security
COVID-19 Fan Protocols
Single-game tickets and parking passes to each of UTEP’s six 2020 football home games are on sale now.
Due to reduced seating capacity in the Sun Bowl, ticket inventory is limited. All seats will be reserved; there will be no general admission tickets for 2020.
All advance, prior to game day, ticket sales will be conducted via phone (915-747-UTEP), online or email (firstname.lastname@example.org). In-person transactions will not be available. When in-person sales resume, they will occur at the new Eisenberg Family Ticket Office, located in the Brumbelow Building (201 Glory Road, next to the Don Haskins Center). In-person sales will no longer take place at the University Ticket Center on Mesa Street.
In-person, game day ticket sales will be conducted at either of the Sun Bowl box offices (North or South entrances) beginning three hours prior to kickoff. However, fans are encouraged to purchase their tickets in advance of game day to ensure that seats still remain.
Season tickets and parking passes for the 2020 UTEP Football season are also on sale now and tickets start as low as $65 and donors to the Miner Athletic Club receive a complimentary season parking pass.
Also available for purchase are the new premium seats in the Sun Bowl, which include outdoor club seats, loge boxes and indoor club seats. For more information, visit click here, call (915) 747-UTEP, or email email@example.com.
For complete coverage of UTEP Football, be sure to follow the Miners on social media at @UTEPFB (Twitter/Instagram) or visit the official home of UTEP Athletics.