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Miners keep bowl game hope alive

Joel Molina
Sophomore safety Kobe Hylton, with the help of his teammate, tackles the ball carrier during a game against FIU, Nov. 19.

UTEP football (5-6, 3-4 Conference USA) welcomed Florida International University (4-7, 2-5 C-USA) to the Sun Bowl stadium for senior day Saturday, Nov. 19. The Miners beat FIU 40-6 and are now one win away from being bowl eligible.  

The Miners received the ball in the first quarter and were able to get down field with a few first down runs and an unsportsmanlike conduct call on FIU. After a pass interference call on FIU, UTEP converted on a first and goal with a quarterback sneak by senior quarterback Calvin Brownholtz, bringing the score to 7-0. Brownholtz is starting over injured junior quarterback, Gavin Hardison. 

It was all UTEP in the first half as FIU was unable to get on the board. El Paso native senior running back and wide receiver Reynaldo Flores rushed for a career-high of 128 yards, which included a 10-yard touchdown catch for a touchdown, and a career-long 43-yard rushing touchdown to bring the score to 21-0 with 9:03 left in the first quarter.  

Going into the second quarter the Miners continued to put points on the board with a 17-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Tyrin Smith. UTEP continued to build momentum with a 68-yard touchdown pass to sophomore wide receiver Kelly Akharaiyi with 2:15 left in the second quarter. The Miners were able to close out the quarter with an interception by the defense and a field goal by senior kicker Gavin Baechle.  

At the half, the score was all UTEP, 38-0. 

The third quarter was scoreless with multiple incomplete passes from both teams. In the fourth quarter FIU was finally able to put up some points after an 84-yard fumble recovery by graduate student linebacker Alex Nobles with 14:04 left in the game. After FIU failed on the two-point conversion, the score was 38-6. 

UTEP finished the day with a safety and 5:14 left in the game.  

The final score was 40-6. 

On the offensive side, UTEP recorded 335 yards on the ground, making it the most in the Dana Dimel era. Senior running back Ronald Awatt rushed for 84 yards and sophomore running back Deion Hankins recorded 81 yards rushing. Akaharaiyi recorded a career-high of 99 yards and had his first career touchdown. Smith completed his sixth touchdown of the season and recorded 58 yards on five receptions. Brownholtz threw for 190 yards with a career-high of 12 completions.  

The defense for the Miners allowed the fifth-fewest yards in league history. Senior defensive tackle Kelton Moss had his first sack of the season, while junior defensive tackle Keenan Stewart and senior defensive end Jadrian Taylor each recorded half a sack. Junior linebacker Cal Wallerstedt led the Miners with seven tackles. 

Bachle recorded his 21st field goal in a row and now leads C-USA in made field goals. 

“The way we came out and played early was really important for us,” UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel said in a post-game conference. “When we can do what we did today, which is run the ball and not turn the ball over, we’re a good football team. We played really good football throughout the first half and was really pleased with how we fed into each other. I thought special teams played solidly, the offense did what it needed to do to finish drives with touchdowns, and defense did some great things, especially on third downs. We played good control football. It was fun for us to watch.”  

UTEP will be traveling to San Antonio for the last game of the regular season against the University of Texas at San Antonio at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 26 at the Alamodome in hopes of earning bowl eligibility.  

All stats and quotes for UTEP courtesy of UTEP Athletics,  

Katrina Villarreal is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]  

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About the Contributors
Katrina Villarreal
Katrina Villarreal, Multimedia Editor
Katrina Villarreal is senior multimedia journalism major with a minor in theatre at UTEP. She is going into her second year at The Prospector and is currently the Multimedia Editor. Once she graduates, she plans on becoming a sideline reporter for the NFL or ESPN.  
Joel Molina
Joel Molina, Photo Editor
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is the photo editor who began his career at The Prospector in 2022. He hopes to continue providing the world and its people with different forms of storytelling that will hopefully make their day to day lives better.
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Miners keep bowl game hope alive