A win is a win for UTEP football


Adrian Broaddus, Web Editor

All good things must come to an end.

Or in the UTEP football program’s case, all awful things must come to an end.

And Saturday, the black plague of a 20-game losing streak, the most in UTEP history, came to an end, as the Miners stomped on the Rice Owls 34-26.

Rejoice Miner fans, being the laughing stock of the nation is no longer on your shoulders.

But in reality, it was expected for UTEP to get their first win. The Miners have lost four of their last five games by nine points or fewer. And in those four games, the Miners had the chance to either tie the game or win in the final minutes. They revved up one of the worst offenses college football has seen in recent years to something productive and positive. UTEP’s defense can hang in with the best in C-USA.

For first-year head coach Dana Dimel, it was a big sigh of relief. The narrative week after week went along the lines of “can UTEP finally get their first win?” or “will the losing streak finally be snapped?” or as I have said countless of times, “it has been 600, 700-plus days since the Miners last won a football game.”

It’s daunting, tiring and redundant—and it probably weighed on the coaching staff and team, which they will never admit to.

Through the first two weeks, hell even the first three weeks, fans and supporters were ready to write off the program and even suggested dropping the team’s Division I status. Some called for Dimel’s head prematurely, while others gawked at the lack of fan support at games. With record low attendance, inconsistent results on the field, growing number of injuries and no wins, fans were ready to jump ship.

But this team is vastly different than the 0-12 2017 team.

They became numb to close losses. Injuries, even though they piled up, never seemed to be a looming problem with the bunch. Dimel, although pressed by the media and fans to show some sort of life, remained poised and stuck to his plan. Hats off to him for keeping the program intact and not letting up, despite starting 0-8.

Another big applause must go to junior quarterback Kai Locksley. He had battled three weeks with an ankle injury and even though he was nowhere near 100 percent healthy, Locksley decided to play against Rice because he knew that breaking the streak was important to the community and for the team moving forward.

Locksley was in-and-out of Saturday’s game, but finished nearly throwing for 200 yards, managed four touchdown drives and scored on two rushing plays, with only an interception as his blemish of a performance.

Take all this back to presser after presser where Dimel would reiterate that this team was improving, in which not many people would have agreed a month ago that this team improved. Low and behold, he was right. The offense has been revamped and productive. Defensively, the team is sound and has rid of inconsistencies. And, to top it all off, UTEP pulled out with a win this past weekend.

So rejoice Miner fans, the better days are still to come. If this team ends up 1-11 or 4-8, they still got the one win they were chasing after. Be it against Rice, who is among the worst teams in FBS, the Miners will hang their hat on the win and not look back on the opponent it was against.

Adrian Broaddus may be reached at [email protected]