Photo via UTEP Athletics
Photo via UTEP Athletics

UTEP Runs Past UIW Behind Hankins’s Career Night, 28-14

 A trio of UTEP running backs hit career highs as Deion Hankins (174 yards), Torrance Burgess Jr. (85 yards) and Mike Franklin (53 yards) led a rushing attack that piled up 329 yards, while the defense pitched a second-half shutout in a 28-14 victory on “Miner Magic/80’s Night” in front of 30,738 fans in the Sun Bowl.

Via UTEP Athletics

The Miners’ big offensive line helped pound out 50 rushing attempts that averaged 6.6 yards per carry. Burgess Jr. scored his first career touchdown on a 40-yard dash to pay dirt, and Franklin also found the end zone for the first time in his UTEP career on a three-yard plunge that put UTEP up 14 points at the 7:08 mark of the fourth.

“Deion ran extremely hard, we used him a bit in the wild cat which we hadn’t shown much, Torrance Burgess is a nice compliment to Deion because he’s a slashing type of back and then Mike Franklin is a combination of Deion and Torrance,” UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel said. “All three played extremely well and was really pleased with their efforts.”

A third Miner also scored his first career touchdown as Jostein Clarke hauled in a 13-yard scoring reception that tied the game at 14 apiece late in the first half.

Tyrin Smith’s first TD of the season gave the Miners the go-ahead lead on a 24-yard scoring strike from Gavin Hardison. Smith finished with team highs in receptions (five) and receiving yards (49). Hardison tossed a pair of touchdowns on 10-of-13 passing for 94 yards.

With the score tied at 14-14, the UTEP defense came out of the locker room for the second half and shutdown the Cardinals. UTEP held UIW to only 14 yards of total offense in the third quarter, and 56 in the fourth. UIW finished 5-of-14 on third-down conversions.

Tyrice Knight led the defensive attack with a career-high 16 tackles, while adding a sack. After UTEP’s final TD in the fourth, Trez Moore intercepted his first career pass with 5:58 left to play in the contest. Trejon Hugue, in his first ever start, tallied a career-best six tackles and added his first career pass breakup.

“Defensively, one of our started was out in the secondary, so we had to place [Trejon Hugue] who hadn’t played as much, but played extremely well,” Dimel said. “Overall, it was a really good effort from our football team.”

After UIW took a 14-7 lead, at the 10:42 mark of the second quarter, UTEP accounted for the final 21 points of the game.

UTEP outgained UIW 423 yards to 308, while the Miners improved upon their third-down conversions going 6-of-9 after finishing 3-of-12 last week.

“Things that we talked about that I wanted to clean up were being better on third downs, and we were better on third down. And being better on our completion percentage – we were 10-of-13,” Dimel said. “And finished drives. Scoring touchdowns on our drives. I thought we did those things very well.”

UIW struck first as Zach Calzada found Brandon Porter on a 34-yard scoring pass. The Cardinals started at the UTEP 44 after Dekalon Taylor took a punt 26 yards.

The Miners answered with an eight-play, 75-yard drive that was capped by Burgess Jr.’s 40-yard touchdown run. All eight plays were rushing attempts. Burgess took two of those rushes for 44 yards, while Hankins tallied 27 yards on four attempts. Mike Franklin added an eight-yard run on the drive.

The Cardinals took a 14-7 lead on a Tre Stiggers five-yard rushing score as UIW drove the ball 92 yards on seven plays (2:29). But UTEP would answer that was Clarke’s TD with 4:52 left in the first half.

Coming out of The Miners drove 75 yards on 12 plays, chewing up over eight minutes off the clock and took a 21-14 advantage on Hardison’s second touchdown toss on the night on a 24-yard reception by Tyrin Smith.

UTEP answered that drive with another big on a 12-play, 96-yard surge that took up over seven minutes on the clock and capped by Franklin’s score with just over eight to play.

“We started seeing a bunch of pressures with the situation going on and our guys did a really good job at adjusting to those pressures,” Dimel said. “And we found a way to finish the second half with two tremendous drives.”

The Miners went over 300 yards rushing for the third time in the Dimel era. UTEP only punted three times, but Joshua Sloan was effective, booting three for 141 yards (47.0 avg.) including a long of 57 yards. Sloan added a tackle in the process.

Porter led UIW with 94 yards on six receptions, while Calzada threw for 245 yards (18-31 passing). The defensive yielded UIW to only 63 yards rushing after giving up over 200 last week.