El Paso, Texas -
UTEP (0-2) will take on Pac-12 opponent Arizona (1-1) on Sept. 15. Kickoff is set for 8 p.m. and the game will be televised on ESPN. “Military Night” festivities will feature a pre-game flyover and parachute team drop-in. Tickets are available by calling (915) 747-5234. The Wildcats will make their way back to the Sun City after a 40-year absence when both programs were members of the Western Athletic Conference. Both the Miners and Wildcats are coming off losses to Houston schools. Arizona was edged 19-16 by Houston in Tucson, while Rice ran past UTEP 31-14 in El Paso on Sept. 9.
Arizona leads the series 38-11-2. This is the first matchup between the teams in El Paso since 1977. The Miners are 5-17-1 all-time versus the Wildcats in the Sun City. UTEP has lost 12 straight to Arizona overall and four in a row in the Sun Bowl. The Miners last defeated the Wildcats on Nov. 14, 1970 – a 33-17 victory in El Paso. The programs first met on Nov. 4, 1916 as Arizona blanked the Miners 41-0. The Miners notched two victories in a row in 1938 and 1939, followed by three wins in row from 1948-50 and reeled off five consecutive victories from 1953-57. The two programs have a bit of a history together as both were members of the Border Conference and Western Athletic Conference. Arizona joined the Border Conference in 1931, while UTEP joined in 1935. The two teams then joined the WAC – the Wildcats in 1962 and the Miners in 1967. Arizona exited the WAC after the 1978 season to join the Pac-10, while UTEP entered Conference USA in 2005.
THE LAST MEETING
Arizona scored the game’s first 42 points and went on to a 42-7, season-opening victory over UTEP on Aug. 30, 2003 in Tucson. Quarterbacks Nic Costa and Ryan O’Hara teamed to throw for 229 yards for the Wildcats. Arizona also had 217 yards rushing and piled up 446 yards of offense on a sweltering day in Tucson. The temperature at kickoff was 96 degrees. UTEP go on the board with 14:49 remaining on a 39-yard interception return by freshman Joe Fleskoski. The Miners missed their first chance to get some points with 47 seconds remaining in the third period, as Keith Robinson’s 42-yard field goal attempt was wide left. Three quarterbacks (Orlando Cruz, Omar Duarte, Jordan Palmer) saw action for UTEP, combining to throw for 204 yards. The Miners were held to 71 yards rushing as Arizona registered four sacks for 32 yards. Marshall Sanford led the Miners with a career-best 11 tackles. The Wildcats staked a 35-0 lead at halftime, before the two teams played to a draw (7-7) over the final 30 minutes.
UTEP WR Terry Juniel played at Glendale Community College in 2014 and Arizona WR Shawn Poindexter played at GCC in 2015. UTEP LB Treyvon Hughes and Arizona DL Larry Tharpe Jr. played at Hebron High School in Carrollton, Texas. UTEP WR Dylan Kittrell and LB Johnny Jones are from Carrollton, Texas. Two El Paso area players are listed on Arizona’s roster: S Tristan Cooper (Andress High School) and LB Elijah Ruiz (Franklin High School). Cooper was teammates with UTEP WR Eddie Sinegal. Arizona Assistant/Wide Receivers Coach Theron Aych coached UTEP’s receivers in 2016. UTEP Assistant Head Coach/Offensive Line Coach Spencer Leftwich coached the tight ends at Arizona in 2012 during Arizona head coach Rich Rodriguez’s first season at the helm. Leftwich was joined by Arizona associate head coach Calvin McGee, co-offensive coordinator Rod Smith, safeties coach Jahmile Aaddae and defensive line coach Vince Amey during that 2012 campaign. UTEP Head Coach Sean Kugler, offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Brent Pease, defensive line coach Andrew Browning and Arizona defensive coordinator Marcel Yates were all at Boise State in some capacity during the undefeated 2006 season. Kugler was the assistant head coach/offensive line coach, Pease was the wide receivers coach, Browning played on the defensive line and Yates coached the safeties. Pease and Yates were on the Broncos’ staff through the 2011 season, while Browning was in charge of defensive quality control in 2010 and was a defensive graduate assistant in 2011.
The Wildcats have split their first two games of 2017, opening with a 62-24 dismantling of Northern Arizona on Sept. 2 followed by a three-point loss (19-16) to Houston. Arizona has rushed for 658 yards (329 per game) and passed for 308 yards (29-for-51). Against Northern Arizona, the Wildcats totaled 516 rushing yards and seven touchdowns as QB Brandon Dawkins led with 92 yards on a pair of touchdowns and RB Nick Wilson tallied 87 yards with a score. Against the Cougars, JJ Taylor led the rushing effort with 87 yards. Offensively, Taylor leads the team with 131 yards on 26 attempts (5.0 avg.), while Dawkins and Zach Green have each scored a pair of rushing touchdowns. Dawkins leads with 267 yards on 24-of-42 passing and a touchdown. WR Tony Ellison leads in receptions (eight) and yards (104) while scoring the lone receiving touchdown. CB Lorenzo Burns leads the team with 14 tackles, while DE/LB Kylan Wilborn and DE Justin Belknap have each registered a sack. S Demetrius Flannigan-Fowles is tied for the national lead with three interceptions. Flannigan-Fowles has totaled 10 tackles on the season. Burns has also intercepted a pass this season.
Samuel Stewart rushed for 89 yards, and Rice piled up 306 on the ground to top UTEP, 31-14, in the Conference USA opener for both teams on Sept. 9 in the Sun Bowl. The Owls scored the game’s first 17 points and, after the Miners drew within 10 late in the third quarter, put it away with a 10-play, 87-yard drive, capped by Jordan Myers’ three-yard scoring run. Myers was one of three Owl backs to find the end zone, along with Sam Glaesmann and Nahshon Ellerbe who had scoring runs of five and three yards respectively. Rice quarterback Glaesmann accounted for two touchdowns in all. His 52-yard pass to Aaron Cephus early in the third quarter gave the Owls the 17-0 lead. The Owls led by 17 three times at 17-0, 24-7 and 31-14. UTEP pulled within 10 for the second time (24-14) on a one-yard run by Ryan Metz with 4:56 remaining but couldn’t recover the onside kick. The Miners were flustered offensively for the most part with 229 yards on 57 plays (4.0 average). Rice gained 437 yards on 67 plays (6.5 average). Rice had 192 yards at the half but UTEP was able to stay within striking distance at 10-0. The Owls opted to go for it on fourth and one at the UTEP six-yard line late in the second quarter, but Glaesmann fumbled at the five and the Miners’ Nik Needham recovered to help keep it close. Glaesmann finished 10-of-18 passing for 131 yards. Metz completed 18-of-33 passes for 203 yards for the Miners. He threw a 44-yard touchdown pass to Warren Redix with 3:47 left in the third quarter. Walter Dawn Jr. led UTEP with 24 yards rushing on nine carries, and Kavika Johnson was the top receiver with six catches for 67 yards. Metz was sacked four times, and the Owls tallied eight tackles for losses with six quarterback hurries. Treyvon Hughes and Dante Lovilotte led the Miner defense with 11 tackles apiece. Alvin Jones had two quarterback hurries despite playing only the second half.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS
UTEP is 4-5 in its last nine Friday night contests since the 2005 season. The Miners halted a previous five-game Friday night losing streak after defeating Rice 24-21 on Nov. 6, 2015 in the Sun Bowl. The other three Friday night victories include a 36-17 stomping at UAB on Nov. 10, 2006 and a 44-41 (2OT) win against Houston on Sept. 16, 2005 in El Paso. The Miners chalked up another Friday night win in 2005, prevailing at Tulane, 45-21, on Oct. 14. UTEP is hosting only its third Friday night game since 2005 and is 2-0 in its two Friday contests in the Sun Bowl. Other Friday night opponents include: at Tulsa (Oct. 27, 2006), at East Carolina (Nov. 28, 2008), at Houston (Sept. 10, 2010), at UCF (Nov. 25, 2011) and at Rice (Nov. 21, 2014).
SEASON NO. 100 FOR UTEP FOOTBALL
The 2017 campaign marks the 100th for UTEP football. In honor of their centennial campaign, the Miners are wearing a commemorative decal on their helmets. There will also be centennial tributes in the game program, on the video board and social media over the course of the season. Though the centennial for The University of Texas at El Paso was in 2014, the football program suspended play for four seasons due to the World Wars. No games were played in 1918 (WWI) and 1943-45 (WWII). The 1914 season marked the first for the Miners. The Miners played their first ever game on Oct. 24, 1914 – a 7-6 victory against the YMCA.
UTEP converted three fourth down attempts against Rice on Sept. 9. The Miners are one of 26 programs with a 100 percent fourth down conversion rate. Iowa State and Cal have each converted four, while SMU, UCF, Alabama and Central Michigan have each converted three.
FEWER YELLOW FLAGS
UTEP was penalized two times against Rice on Sept. 9. It’s the eighth time during the Sean Kugler era in which the Miners were penalized two times or less. In 2016, UTEP was penalized twice against Old Dominion and once against Houston Baptist. In 2015, the Miners had two penalties each at no. 18 Arkansas, against UTSA and at North Texas. In 2014, UTEP opened the season with a pair of penalties at New Mexico and in 2013, the Miners were penalized once against Tulsa.
UTEP ranks first in Conference USA and tied for 13th nationally with seven yellow flags in 2017. The Miners also rank second in yards (65) and penalty yards per game (32.5) in C-USA.
RED ZONE OFFENSE
UTEP is 2-for-2 in the red zone in 2017 thus far which is tied for no. 1 nationally. The Miners are one of 36 programs to be at 100 percent.
UTEP quarterbacks didn’t throw any interceptions in week two, as the Miners are one of 54 FBS program to not throw a pick during the season thus far.
23 CAREER TOUCHDOWNS FOR METZ
Junior QB Ryan Metz threw his first touchdown pass of 2017, a 44-yard toss against Rice on Sept. 9. It was also Metz’s 23rd career touchdown pass. He is now three passing scores from cracking the program’s top-10 list. John Furman and Nick Lamaison each threw 24 scores during their respective careers to rank tied for ninth on the list. Trevor Vittatoe leads all with 97 passing touchdowns.
RYAN’S RUSHING SCORE
Ryan Metz accounted for both of UTEP’s touchdowns against Rice on Sept. 9. Metz rushed for a one-yard score during the fourth quarter. It was Metz’s second career trip into the end zone as his first came at NM State on Sept. 19, 2015.
METZ & TORREZ HAVE SOMETHING IN COMMON
Besides both being from El Paso, Ryan Metz and Mark Torrez share a common bond as both played against top-25 opponents on the road in their collegiate debuts. Metz saw his first college action at no. 18 Arkansas on Sept. 5, 2015, while Torrez played on Sept. 2 at no. 7 Oklahoma. Both quarterbacks were perfect in their debuts as Metz went 3-for-3 (19 yards) and Torrez was 1-for-1 (seven yards). Torrez saw the field again against Rice on Sept. 9.
KAVIKA’S CAREER NIGHT
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. After two games, Johnson leads the Miners in catches and receiving yards.
REDIX’S CAREER-LONG CATCH
Junior WR Warren Redix hauled in a career-long 44-yard reception into the end zone during the third quarter against Rice on Sept. 9. Redix’s previous high was a 32-yard catch that went for his first career touchdown at North Texas on Nov. 28, 2015. Redix now has four career touchdowns as he scored three times in 2016. Redix has a pair of receptions for 59 yards (29.5 avg.) during the young season.
Transfer junior TE David Lucero registered season highs in receptions (three) and yards (31) against Rice on Sept. 9. Lucero played his first game in a UTEP uniform on Sept. 2 at no. 7 Oklahoma, tallying two receptions for 13 yards.
KEYNAN’S FIRST RUSH ATTEMPT
Transfer sophomore WR Keynan Foster, who impressed last week with two kickoff returns for 45 yards (22.5 avg.), used his speed for a 15-yard dash against Rice on Sept. 9. Foster has tallied 67 all-purpose yards (33.5 avg.) thus far in 2017.
FIRST DOWN DOVE
Sophomore RB Kevin Dove grinded out two more first downs against Rice on Sept. 9. The first came on a third-and-2 in which Dove gained three yards, while the second came on a long run of 14 yards on a second-and-13. Dove gained three first downs in week one at no. 7 Oklahoma.
JOSHUA TAKES THE FIELD
True freshman RB and El Paso native Joshua Fields registered an 18-yard reception against Rice on Sept. 9. It’s his second career catch, but the first for positive yardage. Fields caught a pass at no. 7 OU for a minus-one-yard loss.
Starting tailback Walter Dawn Jr. impressed in his first college start at no. 7 Oklahoma on Sept. 2. The sophomore hit his career best with 56 yards on seven carries (8.0 avg.) with a touchdown. Dawn Jr. actually set his career high with 49 yards on four carries on UTEP’s eight-play, 78-yard touchdown drive that was capped by Dawn Jr.’s 17-yard dash to paydirt. On that drive, Dawn Jr. set his career long with a 29-yard run. Dawn Jr. also caught a pass for two yards. Dawn Jr.’s previous rushing high was 38 yards at UTSA on Oct. 22, 2016. Dawn Jr. now has three career rushing touchdowns after scoring two at UTSA last season, and four total touchdowns in his career as he caught a 74-yard score against the Roadrunners that day. The 5-foot-6, versatile speedster was listed as a wide receiver last year, but after a solid showing at Camp Ruidoso, he was moved to the starting running back position. Dawn Jr. leads the team with 80 yards on 16 attempts (5.0 avg.).
OTHER OFFENSIVE NOTABLES VS. RICE
Senior WR Tyler Batson registered a catch for 16 yards; he now has two on the year for 22 yards. Junior WR Terry Juniel caught a pair of passes for 15 yards and transfer sophomore TE Josh Weeks recorded a season-long 11-yard reception.
PROTECTING THE FIELD GENERAL
The offensive line for the Miners brings experience to the depth chart this season. The unit lost two starters from a year ago but returns senior Will Hernandez, and senior Tanner Stallings to the lineup. Leading the way for the squad will be Hernandez, who became the first UTEP offensive lineman to garner All-American honors. The senior has started every game (39) at the left guard position during his career with the Miners. Senior Derek Elmendorff, after playing in all 12 games last year, has plenty of game experience with 21 career starts at the right guard position. Junior Jerrod Brooks adds experience at the right tackle position after starting the first half of the 2016 season, along with transfer senior Logan Tuley-Tillman, who has seen multiple reps with the first team offense. Bobby DeHaro, Reuben Guerra, Bijan Hosseini and Markos Lujan will also add to the depth chart. Last season the offensive line surrendered 22.0 sacks, which tied for third in C-USA (1.83 p/g). During the last five seasons, including 2017, the Miners have allowed 78 sacks in 51 contests (1.5 p/g). In the previous four seasons (2009-12), UTEP quarterbacks went down 109 times in 49 games (2.2 p/g).
BREAKING DOWN THE O-LINE
The starting five offensive linemen, according to the most recent depth chart, are LT Logan Tuley-Tillman (6’7”, 320 pounds), LG Will Hernandez (6’3”, 330 pounds), C Tanner Stallings (6’2”, 295 pounds), RG Derek Elmendorff (6’3”, 310 pounds) and RT Jerrod Brooks (6’6”, 300 pounds). The average weight of the starting five is 311 pounds, while the average height is just over 6-foot-4.
OL Will Hernandez has started every game in his three years with the Miners. Last season, Hernandez 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. The Miners capped the season with two showings of over 500 yards of total offense, including a season-best 384 yards rushing in a victory over North Texas.
WILL’S PRESEASON ACCOLADES
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.
After not recording a quarterback hurry in 2016, senior LB Alvin Jones registered a pair against Rice on Sept. 9. Jones, who missed the first half of the contest due to NCAA rules of targeting, tallied five tackles and half a tackle for loss.
KEEPING UP WITH ALVIN’S CAREER
Senior Alvin Jones has 251 career tackles (seventh-most at UTEP since the 2000 season) after recording five more tackles against Rice on Sept. 9. Jones also has 10.5 career sacks (needs 1.5 to crack the program’s all-time top 10 list) and 29.5 career tackles for loss (needs 1.0 to etch name on all-time top 10 list). Jones’s 14.5 tackles for loss in 2015 ranks tied for ninth on the single-season list, while his 5.0 tackles for loss at NM State on Sept. 19, 2015 was 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 has reached double digits in tackles nine times during his career. 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 different contests in 2015 (at NM State; vs. Rice; at Old Dominion; vs. LA Tech). In 2016, Jones registered double-digit tackles in four contests (12 vs. NM State; 16 vs. FIU; 16 at Rice; 12 vs. North Texas).
TREYVON’S BREAKOUT GAME
In only his second game at the LB position, sophomore Treyvon Hughes tied for the team lead with 11 tackles against Rice on Sept. Hughes registered three stops in his defensive debut at no. 7 Oklahoma in week one. Hughes came to UTEP as a running back and missed last season due to injury. He was switched to linebacker prior to the Annual Spring Game this past year. Hughes is ranked fourth on the team in tackles two games into the season.
LOVILOTTE TIES CAREER HIGH
Senior LB Dante Lovilotte tied his career best with 11 tackles, while it tied for the team lead against Rice on Sept. 9. Lovilotte set his career high last season against Army. Lovilotte has totaled 14 stops to rank third on the team early into the campaign.
Transfer senior LB Julian Jackson tallied seven tackles against Rice on Sept. 9, tying his total from week one in his UTEP debut at no. 7 Oklahoma. Jackson is tied for second on the team with three other Miners with 14 tackles.
JAMAR & DEDRICK GET THEIR FIRST START
Transfer junior LB Jamar Smith and freshman DL Dedrick Simpson made their first start in a UTEP uniform on Sept. 9 against Rice. Smith registered four tackles in his starting debut, while in his UTEP debut, he tallied five stops at no. 7 OU on Sept. 2. Simpson came up with a tackle against Rice, while last week he tallied three stops and half a tackle for loss at no. 7 OU.
Senior DB Devin Cockrell leads the Miners with 16 tackles on the young season. Cockrell registered seven against Rice on Sept. 9. With the seven stops, Cockrell hit the 200-tackle club with 202 in his career. Against the Owls, Cockrell also registered his third career and first sack since 2014 (two) on a second-and-10 play for a loss of three yards in the first quarter. Cockrell came up with a quarterback hurry against the Owls.
IN THE NIK OF TIME
Junior DB Nik Needham recorded the first full sack of his UTEP career. Needham took down Rice QB Sam Glaesmann on a third-and-13 play. Needham’s first sack was an assist at NM State on Sept. 19, 2015. Needham also recovered his first fumble during his career and tallied six tackles on Saturday night versus the Owls. Needham has recorded 10 tackles on the season.
LEWIS’S RETURN TO THE GRIDIRON
After missing all of 2016, sophomore DB Michael Lewis has been active in his comeback year. Lewis ranks tied for second on the team with 14 tackles after recording five against Rice on Sept. 9. Lewis registered a career high nine stops on Sept. 2 at no. 7 OU.
OTHER DEFENSIVE NOTABLES VS. RICE
Junior DB Kalon Beverly tallied seven tackles, two short of tying his career high. Sophomore LB Dylan Parsee tied his career best with four tackles. Parsee tallied four at no. 7 OU in week one as well. Freshman LB Chris Barnwell registered a career-high three tackles and sophomore DE Denzel Chukwukelu registered a career-best three tackles.
MAKING THEIR DEBUTS
Twenty-six Miners made their UTEP debuts at no. 7 Oklahoma. The players include: RB Ronald Awatt, LB Chris Barnwell, DL Christian Buckingham, WR Alan Busey, RB Joshua Fields, WR Keynan Foster, LB Kalaii Griffin, OL Bijan Hosseini, LB Julian Jackson, DL Christian Johnson, TE David Lucero, DL Trace Mascorro, FB Forest McKee, DB Jesse Montgomery, WR Nesly Ovincy, DB Khalil Rashaad-Brown, LS Jake Sammut, DL Dedrick Simpson, LB Jamar Smith, DB Kahani Smith, DL Keith Sullivan, QB Mark Torrez, OL Logan Tuley-Tillman, K Brady Viles, TE Josh Weeks and LB Barron Wortham Jr..
MAKING THE START
UTEP featured nine new starters at no. 7 Oklahoma – four on offense and five on defense. They included LT Logan Tuley-Tillman, WR Terry Juniel, TB Walter Dawn Jr. and TE Augie Touris on offense; and DE Denzel Chukwukelu, NT Trace Mascorro, DE Luke Elsner, LB Julian Jackson and LB Dylan Parsee on defense.
UTEP played in front of 86,076 in attendance at Oklahoma Memorial Field on Sept. 2. It’s the fourth-largest crowd for a game involving the Miners since the 2000 season. UTEP played in front of a six-digit crowd (101,144) at Texas on Sept. 9, 2009; 92,863 at Texas Sept. 10, 2016; and 87,126 at Texas A&M on Nov. 9, 2013.
El Paso native Alan Luna punted seven times for 311 yards (44.4 avg.) with one inside the 20-yard line against Rice. Luna registered a 63-yard boot, the second-longest of his career. Luna’s career long is a 69-yard kick against Southern Miss in 2016, while his third-longest went 61 yards at Old Dominion in 2015. Luna opened 2017 with eight punts for 352 yards (third-most in his career) for an average of 44.0 yards at Oklahoma. The senior punter placed three inside the 20-yard line to tie his career high. Luna also placed three inside the 20 at LA Tech on Oct. 1, 2016.
LUNA CAREER NOTES
Senior Alan Luna ranks seventh on the program’s all-time list in career punt yards (6,090) and in career punts (142) after Saturday’s performance. Rick Padia ranks no. 6 in career punts (156), while the overall leader is Jerry Walker (298). Padia ranks no. 6 in career yards (6,380), while the overall leader is Walker (12,193). Luna’s career high for yards are 376 at Texas (Sept. 10, 2016). His longest is a 69-yard boot, while his career-best average is 51.0 yards on six punts (306) against Southern Miss (Sept. 24, 2016).
The 2017 roster features 28 players from El Pas0 -- DB Deaumonjae Banks (Chapin), LB Chris Barnwell (Eastlake), WR Brannon Bullitt (Chapin), OL Bobby DeHaro (Montwood), OL Derek Elmendorff (Franklin), RB Joshua Fields (Americas), K/P Jason Filley (Coronado), LB Sergio Gonzalez (El Dorado), FB David Jackson (Parkland), DL Christian Johnson (Parkland), LB Alvin Jones (Burges), OL Greg Long (Eastwood), LB Erick Lopez (Canutillo), OL Markos Lujan (Americas), P/K Alan Luna (Franklin), OL Rey Mendez (Socorro), QB Ryan Metz (Andress), RB Jonathon Millan (Coronado), WR Brandon Moss (Chapin), DL Josh Ortega (Montwood), DB Elijah Perales (Chapin), OL Jaime Perales (Cathedral), WR Warren Redix (Montwood), TE Jorge Rodriguez (Montwood), WR Richie Rodriguez (Eastwood), WR Eddie Sinegal (Andress), QB Keith Tarango-Lopez (Eastlake) and QB Mark Torrez (Eastwood).
SUN CITY SENSATIONS
Twelve players from El Paso grace the two-deep heading into the Arizona game. LG Bobby DeHaro, RG Derek Elmendorff, TB Joshua Fields, K/P Jason Filley, FB David Jackson, MIKE Alvin Jones, LG Markos Lujan, K/P Alan Luna, QB Ryan Metz, WR (Z) Warren Redix, WR (X) Eddie Sinegal and QB Mark Torrez are listed on the two-deep chart. Of the 12, five of the players (Elmendorff, Jones, Luna, Metz and Redix) are listed as no. 1 at their respective positions.
The UTEP football program has eight student-athletes with degrees for the 2017 season. QB Zack Greenlee, LB Julian Jackson, DL Sky Logan, DB Jesse Montgomery, WR Brandon Moss, TE Sterling Napier, WR Nesley Ovincy and OL Logan Tuley-Tillman are pursuing their Masters of Arts in Leadership Studies. Northwestern has 18 student-athletes with degrees, while Cincinnati, Coastal Carolina and East Carolina each have 14. Toledo has 13; TCU, Alabama, Oregon and Virginia each have 12; Georgia State, Kansas State, Maryland, UCF and USF each have 11; Kent State, Nevada, New Mexico, South Alabama, Texas Tech and West Virginia each have 10; Houston, Iowa State, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Rutgers and Temple each have nine; and joining UTEP with eight student-athletes are Auburn, Clemson, Iowa, Kentucky, NC State, Northern Illinois, Ole Miss, Penn State, SMU Syracuse, UAB and WKU.
HARD WORK PAYS OFF
After day one at Camp Ruidoso, head coach Sean Kugler announced on Aug. 8 that walk-ons RB TK Powell, WR Keynan Foster, LB Johnny Jones, FB David Jackson and FB Robert Pufhal each earned scholarships for their performances on the field and in the classroom.
FBS COACHES WITH FBS SONS
UTEP Head Coach Sean Kugler is one of eight FBS coaches who have a son playing for another FBS program. Patrick Kugler plays center at Michigan. Others include UAB’s head coach Bill Clark with son Jacob playing for the Blazers. Colorado’s head coach Mike MacIntyre has his son Jay playing for the Buffaloes. Navy’s Ken Niumatalolo has two sons, Va’a at BYU and Ali’i at Utah. Gary Patterson’s son Blake plays for his pops at TCU. UTEP’s opposing coach on Friday, Rich Rodriguez, has his son Rhett playing for the Wildcats. And Bobby Wilder of Old Dominion has his son Derek playing for the Monarchs.
COACHING YOUR ALMA MATER
UTEP Head Coach Sean Kugler is one of 21 FBS coaches in 2017 who are at the helm of their alma mater’s program. John Bonamego (Central Michigan), Troy Calhoun (Air Force), Paul Chryst (Wisconsin), Pat Fitzgerald (Northwestern), Mike Gundy (Oklahoma State), Jim Harbaugh (Michigan), Bryan Harsin (Boise State), Paul Haynes (Kent State), Kliff Kingsbury (Texas Tech), Tim Lester (Western Michigan), Mike Neu (Ball State), Barry Odom (Missouri), Mark Richt (Miami), Nick Rolovich (Hawai’i), Scott Satterfield (Appalachian State), David Shaw (Stanford), Kalani Sitake (BYU), Kirby Smart (Georgia), Jeff Tedford (Fresno State) and Matt Wells (Utah State) are the other 20.
CLOSING IN ON WIN NO. 400
The Miners are six wins away from 400 in their program history. Texas Western College chalked up win no. 100 during the 1941 season after it prevailed at Arizona State 28-0 on Nov. 8. The Miners recorded win no. 200 on Sept. 21, 1963, defeating North Texas State 34-7 during the inaugural game in the Sun Bowl. Toraino Singleton rushed for 199 yards and a score, and Jason Blair hauled in six passes for 95 yards and a touchdown in leading UTEP to a 17-12 triumph over New Mexico for win no. 300 in the Sun Bowl on Nov. 18, 1995.
UTEP will face eight opponents in 2017 who advanced to a bowl game in 2016. The Miners opened with Oklahoma (Sugar Bowl) on Sept. 2 in Norman. After UTEP’s contest at NM State on Sept. 23, the next seven opponents are Army (Heart of Dallas Bowl), WKU (Boca Raton Bowl), Southern Miss (New Orleans Bowl), UTSA (New Mexico Bowl), Middle Tennessee (Hawai’i Bowl), North Texas (Heart of Dallas Bowl) and LA Tech (Armed Forces Bowl). Syracuse and Notre Dame lead the list with 11 bowl opponents each, while Duke, Ole Miss and South Carolina will see 10. Alabama, Arkansas, Auburn, UCF, Clemson, Colorado State, Florida, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Illinois, Kentucky, LSU, UMass, Miami, Mississippi State, North Carolina, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Texas A&M, Tulsa, Utah State, Vanderbilt, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest will face nine bowl opponents in 2017.
UTEP will drive up the road to take on rival NM State in the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Battle of I-10 on Sept. 23 at Aggie Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m. in Las Cruces. The Miners have defeated the Aggies in eight consecutive games, starting with a 38-12 victory on Sept. 19, 2009. The Miners whacked the Aggies, 38-22, to open the 2016 season.
- Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
- Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
- Copyright 2017 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.