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Miners looking to fly past the Owls

Alberto Silva Fernandez
The UTEP Miners football team will face the Florida Atlantic Owls at 2 p.m. Saturday Oct. 22 at the Sun Bowl.

The UTEP Miners (3-4, C-USA 1-2) return home to face off against the FAU Owls (3-4, C-USA 2-1) Oct. 22. The Miners are set to play the Owls after a disappointing loss to the LA Tech Bulldogs with a final score of 41-31. 

FAU has struggled to find many wins this season, having only beaten the Charlotte 49ers and the Southeastern Louisiana Lions. Most recently though, the Owls faced off against Rice University where it won in a very close affair. FAU rushed for a total of 185 yards and 126 passing yards. This resulted in an FAU win and a score of 17-14. 

The Miners are coming off its own loss against the LA Tech Bulldogs. At LA Tech, the Miners failed to develop the running game, something that allowed them to win against Boise State and Charlotte.  

In both of those games, the Miners rushed for over 450 yards. Instead, the offensive game plan relied on the arm of junior quarterback, Gavin Hardison. Versus the Bulldogs, Hardison struggled to complete passes, throwing 23 of 51. On top of that, Hardison threw three interceptions, allowing the Bulldogs to score off those turnovers. 

The UTEP defense struggled against the LA Tech offense after allowing 114 rushing yards and 266 passing yards. However, this was not the defense’s worst performance. The defense forced two fumbles and managed to keep the Bulldogs offense on the field for only 25:28. The Miners defense kept this team in the game by bending and not breaking. 

Looking at both teams’ stats side-by-side, UTEP wins several favorables. The Miners had 27 first downs, 501 total yards, only committed four penalties and winning the time of possession by almost 10 minutes.  

In most cases, these statistics lean toward a win. The biggest factor was the number of times the offense forked the football over. The offense had three interceptions thrown and a lost fumble. On top of that, the Miners had two turnovers on downs. This gave the Bulldogs six separate times to score the ball. 

Looking forward, the Miners’ number one priority must be to protect the ball. If the coaching staff wish to continue relying on Hardison, then they must take the bye week as an opportunity to work on not turning over the ball.  

The better strategy would be to go back to the run game given this team’s ability to run block. The sheer talent in the back field is astounding. Senior Ronald Awatt, sophomore Deion Hankins and, on occasion, the walk-on senior Reynaldo Flores, have all contributed a total of 838 yards this season.  

The last time these two schools met was back in October 2021 when the Miners fell to the Owls 28-25. The two schools have only met three times prior to this game with the Owls leading the series 2-1. This will only be the second time the city of El Paso welcomes FAU, as they have played at the Sun Bowl only once back in 2015. 

The Miners face the Owls at 4 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 22, at the Sun Bowl.  

Stats provided by UTEP Athletics and FAU Athletics. 

My prediction:  

Coming off a bye is always a good thing and if UTEP can capitalize from that while returning to the run game, expect UTEP to come out on top with a final score of 24-17. 

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela is the sports editor and maybe 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.
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 looking to fly past the Owls