A look into Miners Homecoming game against Old Dominion

Walter+Dawn+Jr.+catches+a+punt+kick+during+practice+on+August+16%2C+2021

Alberto Silva

Walter Dawn Jr. catches a punt kick during practice on August 16, 2021

Katrina Villarreal

UTEP football faces off against Old Dominion University (ODU) at the Sun Bowl Stadium on Oct. 2 to close off UTEP’s Homecoming week. After canceling Homecoming last year due to COVID-19 the Miners are planning on making this night one to remember. The Miners have back-to-back home games as the week before they hosted the University of New Mexico Lobos for Texas Western night. 

Old Dominion began their season 1-1 after a loss to Wake Forest (42-10) and a win against Hampton (47-7). In the win against Hampton, Old Dominion set a single game record with a total of 358 rushing yards with both running backs redshirt freshman Elijah Davis and freshman Jon-Luke Peaker rushing over 100 yards. Graduate transfer quarterback from the University of Central Florida (UCF), D.J. Mack Jr. rushed for 57 yards along with three rushing touchdowns.  

Old Dominion’s defense has played a huge role during the first two games the team have played in. Both junior and freshman defensive ends Marcus Haynes and Amorie Morrison have made it a point to sack the quarterback in both games; Haynes has two sacks while Morrison has 2.5 sacks. Part of the success on defense is senior linebacker Jordan Young, who has a combined total of 14 tackles from both games. 

The Miners began their season 2-0 for the first time since 2005, but later fell 2-1 after the loss against Bosie State. In both wins against New Mexico State and Bethune-Cookman the Miners were dominate on offense, putting up 452 total yards in the win against New Mexico State and 472 total yards in the win against Bethune-Cookman. Redshirt junior running back Ronald Awatt and freshman running back Willie Eldrige put up a combined total of 244 rush yards of the 289 rush yards against Bethune-Cookman; during this game as well, redshirt sophomore quarterback Gavin Hardison threw a career-high of three touchdowns, while sophomore wide receiver Tyrin Smith had a career-high of receptions (four) and yards (76). 

UTEP’s defense also played a huge role in the wins against New Mexico State and Bethune-Cookman. In both wins against New Mexico State and Bethune-Cookman, defensive back Dy’vonne Inyang tied a career-high of six tackles. The defense also had a combined total of three sacks and were able to hold New Mexico State to 190 yards and 67 plays. Despite allowing a season-high of 54 points and 461 yards in the game against Boise State, the Miners defense has played a huge role on the team. 

This is the fourth time that UTEP meets Old Dominion. Old Dominion leads the series 2-1, as UTEP looks to tie it at two apiece. The last time these two teams met was Oct. 29, 2016, at the Sun Bowl Stadium where Old Dominion came out victorious with a score of 31-21. The last time the Miners won against Old Dominion was Oct. 11, 2014, with a close score of 42-35.  

UTEP hosts Old Dominion at 7 p.m. Oct. 2 at the Sun Bowl Stadium. UTEP students qualify for free tickets to all football games with their Miner Gold Card; to sign up for your free ticket visit studenttickets.utep.edu for more information.  

All stats for Old Dominion found on Old Dominion Athletics official website, odusports.com.  

All stats for UTEP found on UTEP Athletics official website, utepminers.com.  

Katrina Villarreal may be reached at [email protected]