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Football team in hopes for a better season

Joel Molina
UTEP’s home opener will see a matchup between the University of Incarnate Word Cardinals Saturday, Sept. 2 at the Sun Bowl. Prospector Archive

After a season that came to a heartbreaking end, the UTEP Miners are looking forward to a brand-new season with a fresh roster and new conference opponents. 

Hoping to start the season strong, Head Coach Dana Dimel has hyped up the team’s spring efforts and new signings. 

“We’re excited about spring ball and our team,” said Dimel in a press release. “We have 25 new, scholarship players that will all take part in spring ball. We’re going to have the most athletic group that we have had at UTEP. One of the big position battles to watch this spring will be second-string quarterback behind Gavin Hardison. Other focuses for us will be bringing along our second-string offensive line, since we have all five starters coming back, as well as developing our talent at linebacker and safety.” 

The schedule was released at the start of the calendar year for the fall 2023 season with some new and familiar faces as teams like Rice and North Texas left Conference USA (C-USA) to join the American Athletic Conference (AAC) and the Sunbelt Conference. C-USA welcomes Liberty, New Mexico State (NMSU), Jacksonville State and Sam Houston in the latest realignment. The most exciting addition must be rival NMSU, adding a new layer to the rich history between both teams. 

The Miners will start the season on the road with a conference game against C-USA newcomer Jacksonville State Gamecocks, who are coming from Atlantic Sun Conference (A-SUN), Saturday, Aug. 26. Coming from a 9-2 overall season, the Gamecocks went undefeated in conference play. These two teams have never faced each other. 

UTEP’s home opener will see a matchup between the University of Incarnate Word Cardinals Saturday, Sept. 2 at home in the Sun Bowl. A Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) team, Incarnate Word had a successful 12-2 season making it to the FCS Playoffs Semifinal where the team fell to North Dakota State 35-32. 

The Miners will then hit the road for two away games against powerhouses Northwestern University Saturday, Sept. 9 and the University of  Arizona Saturday, Sept. 16.

 UTEP will close out the month of September at home to face University of Nevada at Las Vegas (UNLV) Rebels Saturday, Sept. 23 and the C-USA member Louisiana Tech (LA Tech) Bulldogs Friday, Sept. 29. A Mountain West team, UNLV will be coming off a losing 5-7 season. LA Tech is a C-USA carryover who fell to the Miners last season. 

UTEP will kick off the month of October in Miami, Florida to face the Florida International University (FIU) Panthers Wednesday Oct. 11 before heading home to face I-10 rival NMSU Wednesday, Oct. 18. To close out October, the Miners will head to Huntsville, Texas to play the Sam Houston Bearkats Wednesday, Oct. 25. 

The final stretch for the regular season falls in November as the Miners will play the Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers Saturday, Nov. 4 at home, the Middle Tennessee Blue Raiders Saturday, Nov. 18 on the road and Liberty University Saturday, Nov. 25 at home. 

In order to be bowl eligible, the Miners will need to win at least six games in the regular season. The team came close last season needing a win going into the final game against the No. 25 ranked University of Texas at San Antonio Roadrunners which UTEP lost 34-31. This season looks promising as Coach Dimel signed several new players in the offseason. 

Student tickets are available via Ticketmaster and UTEP Athletics using a UTEP student email. 

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

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About the Contributors
Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela, Sports Editor
Emmanuel Rivas is the sports editor for The Prospector and is also a writer for Minero Magazine. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with minors in political science and chicano studies. Although unsure about his future, Emmanuel plans to move back to the Dallas-Fort Worth area to work in journalism, media, communication or public relations.
Joel Molina, Photographer
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is a staff photographer 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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Football team in hopes for a better season