UTEP will host Boise State for the first time in 18 seasons in a Friday night matchup. The Miners and Broncos will kick off at 7 p.m. in the Sun Bowl. The contest will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network.
Friday night’s contest is the Hall of Fame game, and Extra Yard for Teachers. UTEP all-time great wide receiver from 2003-06 Johnnie Lee Higgins Jr. and Texas Western College quarterback great from 1958-61 John Furman (posthumously) will be inducted on Saturday, Sept. 24.
The Miners are hosting the Broncos for the first time since the 2004 season. UTEP fell at Boise State 54-13, on Sept. 10 in the last meeting.
UTEP (1-3, 0-1 Conference USA) fell at New Mexico 27-10 on Sept. 17, as the Lobos forced seven turnovers. Tyrin Smith highlighted the game book with a career-high 183 yards receiving, along with Tyrice Knight’s game-high 14 tackles, Kobe Hilton’s career-high 10 stops, and Cal Wallerstedt’s career-best 2.0 sacks. Boise State (2-1, 1-0 MWC) is coming off a 30-7 victory over UT Martin on Sept. 17. The Broncos, who rank 12th nationally in total defense, held the Captains to nine first downs and 152 yards of total offense.
““They’re really a physical defensive football team. They got very good talent on their front. I like their defensive front. They play multiple guys there, but I like the physicality that they play with. Same thing with their linebackers. They have more downhill physical type of linebackers that are good versus the run game. And then in the secondary they have a lot of returning starters from last year. And so, it’s a very experienced defense. It’s what they try to lean on as a defensive football team,” UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel said. “Offensively, they’re versatile, they’re multiple in what they do. They can run the ball well. They got two backs that run extremely hard. They got a big offensive line that plays physical and to run the ball. They like to play-action pass off the run game. That’s really what they try to do is get a lot of play-action pass on you. They have two quality receivers but plenty of depth also at the receiver position. Last year they got a special teams’ touchdown against us. So again, that’ll be an emphasis for us to match them with our special teams plays as we go forward.”
Fans can tune into KLAQ 95.5 to hear the action with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher calling the action with former UTEP WR Cole Freytag (2012, 2014-16) providing analysis and Mando Medina on the sideline. The contest will be televised nationally on CBS Sports Network with Rich Waltz doing play-by-play, Aaron Taylor providing analysis and Sheree Burruss on the sideline.
UTEP (1-3, 0-1) vs. Boise State (2-1, 1-0)
Date: Friday, Sept. 23
Time: 7:00 p.m. MT
Location: El Paso, Texas
Venue: Sun Bowl Stadium (45,971)
Twitter Updates: @UTEPFB
Game Sponsor: GECU
TV: CBS Sports Network
PxP: Rich Waltz
Analyst: Aaron Taylor
Sideline: Sheree Burruss
Radio: KLAQ 95.5 FM
PxP: Jon Teicher
Analyst: Cole Freytag
Sideline: Mando Medina
SERIES VS. BOISE STATE
Boise State has won all six meetings dating back to the 2000 Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho. The Miners and Broncos were Western Athletic Conference (WAC) affiliates from 2001-2004. The Broncos won last season’s meeting 54-13 in Boise. Gavin Hardison threw for 223 yards, while former Miner Jacob Cowing reeled in six receptions for 112 yards and a TD. Hank Bachmeier threw for 340 yards on 17-of-24 passing and two touchdowns. The Broncos ran up 461 yards of total offense. UTEP last hosted Boise State on Sept. 18, 2004. With UTEP down 27-24 entering the fourth quarter, BSU outscored the Miners 20-7 to pull away, 47-31. Jordan Palmer threw for 235 yards and two scores, while Chris Francies tallied 94 yards on five receptions and Howard Jackson ran for 62 yards and a TD. Jared Zabransky threw for 392 yards and two TD’s. The Miners fell against the Broncos, 38-23, in their first meeting on Nov. 28, 2000, in the Humanitarian Bowl. Chris Porter ran for 134 yards and a TD, and Lee Mays tallied 91 yards on seven receptions.
SCOUTING BOISE STATE
The Broncos are coming off a 30-7 win against UT Martin on Sept. 17 in Albertsons Stadium. Boise State tallied 327 yards of total offense to UT Martin’s 152. Hank Bachmeier threw for 204 yards on 18-of-25 passing and two touchdowns, while George Holani gained 110 yards and scored a TD. Holani added four catches for 47 yards and a receiving score, while Latrell Caples led BSU with 48 yards on four receptions. Stefan Cobbs (3 rec., 33 yards) also hauled in a TD. BSU opened the season with a 34-17 loss at Oregon State on Sept. 3 but chalked up its first win of the season following a 31-14 win at New Mexico on Sept. 9. The Broncos are averaging 26.0 points per game and 318.7 yards of total offense per contest. BSU is yielding 18.3 points and 248.3 yards per game. Holani leads the team with rushing yards (186), receptions (11), receiving yards (96) and total touchdowns (3 – 2 rec., 1 rush). Bachmeier has thrown for 404 yards on 38-of-60 passing with five touchdowns and three INT’s. The defense has tallied 7.0 sacks as a unit, led by EDGE George Tarlas’ 2.0 sacks. CB Caleb Biggers and S JL Skinner have each picked off passes, and LB DJ Schramm leads the defense with 17 tackles. Overall, the Broncos rank 12th nationally in total defense, 14th nationally in rush defense, seventh in first downs defense and second in third-down conversion percentage defense.
TYRIN’S PERFORMANCE AT UNM
Redshirt sophomore WR Tyrin Smith recorded a career-high 183 yards and tallied a career-long 76-yard reception. Smith’s previous high was 127 yards against North Texas on Aug. 27. Smith tied his career best with eight receptions. Smith also caught eight passes at no. 9 OU on Sept. 3. Smith’s 188 all-purpose yards were also a career high. His previous best was 141 against the Mean Green.
MORE ON TYRIN’S 183 YARDS
Tyrin Smith’s 183 receiving yards was the 12th-most in a game in school history and the most by a Miner player since Jordan Leslie had 218 at Tulsa in 2012.
TYRIN BREAKING THE CENTURY MARK
Tyrin Smith recorded his third career 100-yard game at UNM on Sept. 17. Smith, a 5-7 speedster, tallied a career-high 183 yards on eight receptions against the Lobos. Smith’s first 100-yard game came at Florida Atlantic (122 yards) last season, while his second century mark came against North Texas (127 yards) to open the 2022 season. Smith ranks tied 17th on the program’s all-time 100-yard receiving list.
TYRIN RUNNING THE BALL
Tyrin Smith registered his first career rush, taking the ball 14 yards on a reverse to the right during the third quarter against North Texas. Smith tallied his second career rush, a five-yard gain at UNM on Sept. 17.
HANKINS’S FIRST TD OF 2022
Redshirt sophomore RB Deion Hankins scored his first touchdown of the season, a one-yard plunge into the end zone at UNM. It’s Hankins 16th career rushing touchdown. Hankins is three TD’s away from breaking into the program’s top 10 list.
AWATT’S CAREER TD NO. 11
Redshirt senior RB Ronald Awatt scored 11th career touchdown during a win against NM State on Sept. 10. Awatt got in the end zone on a 22-yard scamper, giving him his second TD of 2022. Last season, Awatt ran for six scores and in 2020 found the pay dirt on a trio of occasions.
BREAKING THE CENTURY MARK
Ronald Awatt rushed for a season-high 115 yards on 22 carries. Awatt now has four 100-yard games in his career. Last season he rushed for a career-high 159 at Southern Miss, 126 against Bethune-Cookman, and 119 yards against Rice.
FEED RON THE BALL
UTEP is 4-0 every time Ronald Awatt rushed for 100+ yards. He tallied 115 in UTEP’s 20-13 win over NM State on Sept. 10. Last season, the Miners won at Southern Miss 26-13 (159 yards), defeated Bethune-Cookman 38-28 (126 yards) and beat Rice 38-28 (119 yards).
Ronald Awatt gained 130 yards of total offense in UTEP’s 20-13 win over NM State. He rushed for 115 yards and tallied another 15 yards on a reception. It’s the fourth time and fourth best effort by Awatt. His career high is 184 yards of total offense against Rice (119 rush, 65 rec.) last year, while tallied 159 at Southern Miss last season, and another 147 against Bethune-Cookman.
MOVING UP THE TD LIST
Gavin Hardison threw his 26th career touchdown in the second quarter, a nine-yard toss to Tyrin Smith against NM State on Sept. 10. Hardison ranks tied ninth with Ryan Metz (26 TD) on the program’s all-time list. Pat Hegarty (30 TD) ranks eighth.
RACKING UP PASSING YARDS
Gavin Hardison has thrown for 970 yards in 2022. Hardison now has 5,941 yards passing in his career. Hardison ranks fifth on the program’s all-time passing yards list. Sammy Garza (6,130 yards) ranks fourth, while Billy Stevens (6,485) is third.
GAVIN MOVING UP ATTEMPS LIST
Gavin Hardison has 161 passing attempts in 2022, giving him 778 in his career. He ranks fifth on the program’s all-time attempts list. Sammy Garza (817) ranks fourth, while Billy Stevens (943) ranks third.
GAVIN RANKS SIXTH IN COMPLETIONS
Gavin Hardison has tallied 78 completions in 2022. Hardison now has 411 in his career. Hardison ranks fifth on the program’s all-time list. Billy Stevens (426) is fourth and Sammy Garza (483) ranks third.
CAREER BEST IN COMPLETIONS
Redshirt junior QB Gavin Hardison set a career high with 26 pass completions at no. 9 OU on Sept. 3. Hardison surpassed his previous best of 23 completions done twice (at FAU, vs. Rice in 2021).
REY’S NUMBERS INCREASING
Redshirt senior WR Reynaldo Flores entered the 2022 season with 277 career receiving yards on 19 receptions, including 204 on 13 catches in 2021. Currently in 2002, Flores ranks second on the team in receptions (22) and receiving yards (272).
REY SHINES ON ‘915 NIGHT’
Reynaldo Flores recorded his first career 100-yard game in his third career start. The 915 product set career highs in receptions (eight) and receiving yards (122) against North Texas on Aug. 27. Flores added a 38-yard reception in the first quarter against the Mean Green. His previous highs were four receptions (at Southern Miss in 2021) and 53 receiving yards (vs. Fresno State in 2021).
A PAIR HITTING THE CENTURY MARK
UTEP had a pair of 100-yard receivers (Reynaldo Flores – 122 yards, Tyrin Smith – 127 yards) against North Texas on Aug. 27. The Miners last accomplished that at FAU on Oct. 30, 2021, when Smith (114 yards) joined Justin Garrett (109 yards).
FIRST DOWN MINERS!
UTEP ranks tied 12th nationally with 82 first downs. The Miners gained 17 first downs at New Mexico on Sept. 17. The week prior, UTEP tallied 17 against NM State, and gained another 26 first downs at no. 9 OU on Sept. 3, the most since Dec. 11, 2020, at North Texas (27).
MOST GAMES PLAYED IN PROGRAM HISTORY
Redshirt senior WR Walter Dawn Jr., after missing the final 10 games of last season, returned to the gridiron, and played in his 53rd game this past weekend at New Mexico, the most by any Miner in program history.
CAL THE C-USA LEADER
Redshirt junior LB Cal Wallerstedt leads Conference USA with 5.5 tackles for loss. He ranks tied 13th nationally in that department.
CAL’S CAREER HIGH
Cal Wallerstedt tallied a career-high 3.5 tackles for loss at New Mexico on Sept. 17.
Cal Wallerstedt, in his second career start, tallied a career-high 2.0 sacks at New Mexico on Sept. 17. Wallerstedt leads UTEP with 3.0 sacks, while ranking tied second in Conference USA and 14th nationally. Wallerstedt’s first career sack came at no. 9 OU on Sept. 3.
CAL’S BIG NIGHT IN HIS FIRST START
Redshirt junior LB Cal Wallerstedt made his first career start against NM State. He responded with a career-high nine tackles, registered a tackle for loss and recorded his first career fumble recovery in a win against the rival Aggies. Wallerstedt has posted 16 tackles so far in 2022, ranking fourth on the team. He’s added 2.0 tackles for loss (six yards), a sack (five yards) and a fumble recovery.
Senior LB Tyrice Knight was credited with a game-high 14 tackles at New Mexico on Sept. 17. It was Knight’s second double-digit performance of the season after he tallied 11 tackles on opening night versus UNT. Knight has recorded nine double-digit tackle games in his career.
Tyrice Knight is averaging 9.3 tackles per game, ranking tied 27th nationally and seventh in Conference USA. Knight’s 37 total tackles rank seventh nationally and second in C-USA. Overall, in 2022, Knight has tallied 4.0 tackles for loss, an interception, a pass breakup and QB hurry and a forced fumble.
TWO CAREER INT’S FOR TYRICE
Tyrice Knight recorded his second career interception on a tipped pass by Blake Thompson against rival NM State on Sept. 10. For Knight, it was his second career interception. His first career pick came against LA Tech last season.
KOBE’S FIRST DOUBLE-DIGIT TACKLE PERFORMANCE
Sophomore S Kobe Hylton chalked up his first double-digit tackle performance, tallying a career-high 10 tackles at New Mexico on Sept. 17. His previous high was nine in his UTEP debut on Aug. 27.
IMPRESSIVE FIRST SEASON
Kobe Hylton, a transfer from Louisiana, ranks second on the team with 33 tackles, while he tallied his first career sack (0.5) against NM State. He ranks second on the team with 5.0 tackles for loss and has added a pass breakup, QB hurry and forced fumble. Hylton ranks tied second in Conference USA in TFL’s.
TY’REKE’S FIRST INT
Redshirt senior S Ty’reke James intercepted his career pass at New Mexico on Sept. 17. James intercepted the pass during the third quarter against the Lobos.
JAMES’S CAREER HIGH
Ty’reke James posted a career-high five tackles at New Mexico, surpassing his previous high of four tackles on multiple occasions.
Redshirt freshman CB Ilijah Johnson tallied his first career pass breakups – three of them versus rival NM State. Johnson came up with back-to-back breakups late in the second quarter on a second-and-6 and third-and-6 to force a punt.
JOHNSON’S BREAKOUT PERFORMANCE
Ilijah Johnson, in his first career start, recorded three pass breakups, a tackle for loss, a forced fumble and two tackles during UTEP’s 20-13 victory over rival NM State on Sept. 10. Johnson received his second consecutive start at New Mexico on Sept. 17.
FIRST CAREER SACKS
Sophomore DT Sione Tonga’uiha and sophomore S Kobe Hylton tallied their first career sacks, splitting a sack early in the third quarter against NM State.
SHELTON’S CAREER HIGH
Sophomore CB Latrez Shelton registered a career-high six tackles at New Mexico. His previous best was four against NM State.
NEW DE’S COMING AROUND
Transfer DE’s Maurice Westmoreland and Bryton Thompson posted season highs and career firsts against NM State. Thompson tallied two tackles, first career sack, tackle for loss and first career forced fumble, while Westmoreland posted a season-high five tackles.
MOST TFL’S SINCE 2020
UTEP tallied 13.0 tackles for loss at New Mexico on Sept. 17. It’s the most since recording 13.0 at LA Tech on Oct. 10, 2020.
BAECHLE LEADING THE WAY
Senior K/P Gavin Baechle is first in Conference USA with seven made field goals and ranks tied second nationally. Baechle is 7-for-8 on the season.
MORE ON GAVIN
Gavin Baechle also ranks eighth in C-USA with 26 total points (7 FG, 5 XP). North Texas’s Ethan Mooney ranks first (31 points). Baechle’s 6.5 points per game ranks 10th in C-USA.
- 2 ON FGM LIST
Gavin Baechle connected on a 46-yard FG to bring him to 43 career and ranking second behind all-time leader Reagan Schneider (50).
GAVIN’S CAREER POINTS
Gavin Baechle tallied four points (1 FG, 1 XP) at New Mexico. Baechle now has 213 career points and ranks fourth on the program’s all-time points list for kickers. Ricky Bishop (222) ranks third, while Jay Mattox (257) is second. Reagan Schneider leads the all-time list (287).
Gavin Baechle has made five extra points in 2022, giving him 84 in his career. Baechle ranks sixth on the program’s all-time PATs list. Jose Martinez (89) ranks fifth. Reagan Schneider leads the all-time list with 137 career PATs.
IT’S BEEN A WHILE
Gavin Baechle became the first UTEP kicker since 2010, to make two field goals of at least 48 yards or more in the same game. Baechle hit a 48-yard attempt in the second quarter at no. 9 OU, while making a career-long 54-yard FG against the Sooners. The previous Miner to do so was Dakota Warren, who connected on FGs of 55 and 50 yards against Memphis on Sept. 25, 2010.
BAECHLE’S CAREER LONG
Senior K/P Gavin Baechle nailed a career-long 54-yard field at no. 9 OU in the fourth quarter on Sept. 3. Baechle’s previous long was a 50-yard make on Nov. 30, 2019, against Rice.
THE PUNTER FROM DOWN UNDER
Sophomore P Joshua Sloan is averaging a Conference USA-best 46.7 yards on 15 punts (700 yards) this season. It’s a great improvement from his previous two seasons. Sloan averaged 39.1 yards per game in 2020 and improved that to a 39.5 average. Against NM State, Sloan averaged 49.7 yards per game on six punts (career-high 298 yards). On the season, Sloan has placed three inside the 20-yard line and has booted a trio of 50+ yard punts. His long this season is 64 yards against NM State.
SLOAN’S CAREER MOST
Joshua Sloan tallied a career-high 298 yards on a six punt attempts versus rival NM State. His previous high was 291 yards on eight punts at Texas in 2020.
Marcus Bellon took a punt back 34 yards at New Mexico on Sept. 17. It was a career long return for the transfer out of Santa Barbara CC. Bellon scored six touchdowns on returns (4 punt, 2 KO) in 2021 at SBCC.
UTEP will hit the road and continue Conference USA action at Charlotte on Oct. 1. The Miners and 49ers are set to kick at 4 p.m. MT/6 ET. The contest will be streamed on ESPN+ and will return to 600 ESPN El Paso. It’s the first of two road league games in a row as UTEP will play at LA Tech on Oct. 8. The Miners’ bye week follows before hosting two consecutive home games (FAU on Oct. 22, Middle Tennessee on Oct. 29).
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