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Miners upset Boise in historic win

UTEP+running+back+Ronald+Awatt+runs+the+ball+against+Boise+State+on+Sep.23
Alberto Silva Fernandez
UTEP running back Ronald Awatt runs the ball against Boise State on Sep.23

Editor’s Note: BSU Offensive Coordinator Tim Plough was fired the Saturday following this matchup.

The University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) (2-3, 0-1 Conference USA) faced Boise State University (BSU) (2-2, 1-0 Mountain West) Friday night at the Sun Bowl. Prior to the matchup, UTEP had never defeated Boise State with the Broncos winning both of their previous meetings. Despite the previous outcomes, the Miners rallied to win Friday’s game 27-10. 

First Quarter 

The Miners started the game off with a four-and-out immediately punting the ball to BSU. The Broncos then drove the ball down the field from UTEP’s 40-yardline for 33 yards. BSU settles for a 24-yard field goal, putting the score at BSU 3, UTEP 0, with 6:57 left in the quarter. 

The Miners could not do anything with the ball leaving the first quarter with 65 offensive yards and a time of possession (TOP) of 10:32. The score into the second quarter was still 3-0. Broncos’ fans were present Friday night and felt confident coming out of the first quarter. 

Christopher Carter is a BSU fan who was in the stands Friday night. Carter provided some insight into his team.  

“We tend to start these games out like this, and then we come right back and end up stomping whoever we’re playing,” Carter said. 

Second Quarter 

UTEP started with the ball coming into the second quarter, managing to put some points on the board after reaching the BSU 18-yard line. The drive resulted in a 35-yard field goal by senior kicker Gavin Baechle, tying the game up at 3-3. 

The Broncos offense struggled to get past their own 24-yard line thanks to an aggressive UTEP pass rush. The defensive line forced Broncos senior quarterback Hank Bachmeier out of the pocket on multiple occasions, which led to BSU punting on this drive. 

Back on offense, the Miners began to establish the run game by feeding the ball to senior running back Ronald Awatt and sophomore running back Deion Hankins seven times throughout the drive, totaling 30 yards. The drive ended with a connection between Hardison and freshman wide receiver Jeremiah Ballard for a 42-yard touchdown, leaving 2:10 on the clock. The score was BSU 3, UTEP 10 after a successful point-after attempt. 

The rest of the half remained scoreless on both sides. 

Halftime 

Former Dallas Cowboy Babe Laufenberg was in attendance during Friday’s game. Laufenberg is the father of the late UTEP tight end Luke Laufenberg, who passed away in 2019. Babe Laufenberg was honored by UTEP for his investment in the Luke Laufenberg Excellence FIGHT Endowment Fund. The fund provides athletes with a nutrition fueling station. 

Laufenberg also provided an impromptu halftime report.  

“The first half couldn’t have played out any better, the defense is playing lights out. The offense is not turning the ball over like they did last week, they are running the ball well,” Laufenberg said. “I think the big thing is, they just control the time of possession in this one.” 

Third Quarter 

Entering the third, UTEP fans were exhilarated to see the Miners compete with BSU. UTEP sophomore softball pitcher Aalijah Alarcon was in attendance versus BSU and offered her take on the UTEP run game.  

“(The run game) is going really good, I think this is a really good start for them,” Alarcon said. “If (UTEP) keeps it up, their energy up…they’ll win.” 

Coming back out of the locker rooms, BSU did not hesitate to score. Only two minutes into the second half, the Broncos scored their first touchdown of the night off a 15-yard pass from Bachmeier to Broncos’ senior wide receiver Stefan Cobbs. Including the scoring play, BSU ran a total of seven no-huddle formations in this drive. The score was tied 10-10 with 13:01 remaining. 

The Miners struggled to move the ball on their drive, punting after only 1:40. 

The score remained tied until Baechle booted a 25-yard field goal attempt pushing the Miners to 13 and BSU 10 with 3:01 remaining in the quarter. 

During a BSU drive, the UTEP defense stepped up and pushed the Broncos offense to their own 1-yard line, losing eight yards thought the drive. This brought out the BSU punt team where Broncos’ freshman punter James Ferguson-Reynolds was boxed into his own endzone.  

This resulted in a 46-yard punt to the BSU 47 where UTEP sophomore punt returner Marcus Bellon was ready to return. Bellon weaved his way through heavy Broncos’ traffic for a 47-yard punt return to the house. Bellon’s punt return was the first punt return for a touchdown since Nov. 26, 2016, versus Conference USA rival, the University of North Texas. This helped put the Miners up 20-10 with 1:01 left in the quarter. 

Fourth Quarter 

BSU started the fourth quarter sluggish punting the ball from the UTEP 38-yardline. This allowed UTEP to execute a long and methodical drive, which resulted in a Flores 3-yard rushing touchdown with 4:25 left in the game. The 9:10 drive consisted of 13 rushing attempts totaling 74-yards and only one passing attempt which added 16 yards to the 90-yard drive. 

BSU was unable to score, leaving 13 unanswered points since the Broncos’ touchdown midway through the third quarter. The final score was BSU 10, UTEP 27. 

Game Summary 

UTEP’s defense looked amazing in this game keeping BSU to only 177 total yards and only allowing BSU to convert four of 12 third down conversions. The Miners’ pass rush only allowed 93 passing yards in this game, a season best for the Miners. 

The offensive side of the ball also stepped up in this matchup. Hardison threw 10 of 11 attempts totaling 123 yards, a touchdown and had a 92 quarterback rating. Hardison appeared more as a game manager in this game, allowing the UTEP running back core to shine. 

The rushing attack was the highlight of the offense. Between Hankins, Awatt, Flores and Hardison, the Miners rushed for a season high 199 yards against the Broncos. The Miners offense averaged 5 yards per play in this game.  

This emphasis on the running game allows for methodical drives to develop and eat away at the clock. In this game, the Miners dominated the TOP by over 20 minutes. In doing so, the Miners kept Broncos’ offense off the field and allowed the Miners defense to rest. 

Looking forward, expect to see UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel utilize the running game a lot more. The pass rush will also be a key asset against high scoring opponents. 

UTEP now faces the University of North Carolina at Charlotte at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 1 at Jerry Richardson Stadium in Charlotte, North Carolina. 

The next UTEP home game will be against Florida Atlantic University at 2 p.m. Saturday, Oct 22 at the Sun Bowl. 

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is the sports editor and can be reached at [email protected]: @rivasemmanuel2 on Instagram 

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About the Contributors
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Contributor/Writer
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is a contributor for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with minors in political science and Chicano studies. Emmanuel served as sports editor at The Prospector and as a writer with Minero Magazine. Now, Emmanuel is interning at El Paso Matters and is a contributor at The Prospector.
Itzel Giron
Itzel Giron, Editor-in-chief
Itzel Giron is a senior multimedia journalism and creative writing student at UTEP. She started her journalistic career at The Prospector in the fall of 2021 as a staff reporter and is now editor-in-chief. Thanks to The Prospector and her tenacity, Itzel has had the opportunity to be an intern with KVIA Channel 7 at El Paso. Itzel is also a freelance journalist, and her work has been published in The City Magazine, Borderzine and Walsworth Yearbooks. After graduation, Itzel hopes to continue her passion of journalism by working in broadcast television reporting on politics, entertainment and news.
Alberto Silva Fernandez
Alberto Silva Fernandez, Contributor/Photographer
Alberto Silva Fernandez is a sophomore, majoring in Multimedia Journalism at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is a photographer for The Prospector and freelances covering the borderland. When he isn’t covering events Albert likes to study politics, play video games, and listen to music.
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Miners upset Boise in historic win