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Pressure mounts on Dana Dimel as UTEP football drops fourth straight game to LA Tech

Annabella Mireles
UTEP defensive end player tackles Wide Receiver Smoke Harris Sep. 29.
The UTEP Miners football team (1-5, C-USA 0-2) returned to the Sun Bowl to resume conference play versus the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (LA TECH) (3-3, C-USA 2-0).

The UTEP Miners football team (1-5, C-USA 0-2) returned to the Sun Bowl to resume conference play versus the Louisiana Tech Bulldogs (LA TECH) (3-3, C-USA 2-0).  

With losses against Northwestern, Arizona and UNLV, the Miners were desperate for a bounce back at home. 

Fans prior to the game expressed optimism the team would notch a win against a Conference USA foe. 

“I think this year they do have potential,” said UTEP football fan Javier Marquez prior to Friday night’s match. “They have a lot of good players, but some of the other teams that (UTEP) is playing are good too. But I think UTEP has this game tonight.” 

The biggest question mark for the team going into Friday’s game was the absence of senior quarterback Gavin Hardison throughout practice. Head Coach Dana Dimel expected Hardison to play early in the week but was ultimately ruled out for the game as the senior remained on the sideline wearing a protective sleeve on his arm. 

Senior wide receiver Tyrin Smith was also missing due to injury. 

First quarter 

The Bulldogs did not hesitate to give the Miners a one-two punch early in the first quarter. 

The first strike would come in the form of a one-yard rushing touchdown from LA Tech running back Tyre Shelton in the Bulldogs first drive. This after an eighty-five-yard bomb down field courtesy of quarterback Jack Turner to wide receiver Cyrus Allen. 

On UTEP’s next drive, the offense was forced to punt after a three-and-out drive which netted minus one yard. The LA Tech punt returner Smoke Harris fielded UTEP junior punter Joshua Sloan’s 43-yard punt and ran for 67 years into the endzone once again with just over a minute of play. 

The Miners would not score in the first quarter as a series of penalties kept a Miners goal line stand for producing points. 

The first quarter would end with a score of 14-0 in favor of the Bulldogs. 

Second quarter 

The Miners finished the first quarter with seven plays on a goal drive before the team would punch a score via a rushing touchdown from freshman quarterback Jake McNamara. These would be the first points scored by the Miners. 

The score with 14:16 left in the half was 14-7, LA Tech. 

It would take the Bulldogs three drives to answer after the offense was halted at the UTEP 15-yard line forcing LA Tech to settle for a field goal pushing the score to 17-7. 

Neither team would add to its score as the clock winded down to end the half. 


Friday night’s game was designated as “Noche Latina,” or “Latin Night” to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month. 

To help celebrate the month, the first halftime performance featured the UTEP Marching Miners and mariachi ensembles from various El Paso-area high schools and folklórico dancers. 

The latter half of the halftime show welcomed the musical talents of singer and El Pasoan Krystall Poppin. 

Third quarter 

The Miners started the second half with a “No-Huddle” offense which brough the team to the LA Tech 19-yard line. Unable to convert, UTEP was forced to settle for a 36-yard kick by freshman kicker Buzz Fabiano. 

With the kick, the score was 17-10, LA Tech. 

Fourth quarter 

Although, neither team found the endzone in the third quarter, the Bulldogs started the final quarter in the middle of its carryover drive. In a first-and-seventeen play following a UTEP penalty, Turner completes a 20 pass to wide receiver Tru Edwards for LA Tech’s third touchdown of the night. 

UTEP would be unable to respond as several conservative play calls kept the Miners for adding more points. 

The final score was 24-10 in favor of LA Tech. 

Junior running back Deion Hankins would rush for a total of 86 yards while sophomore running back Torrance Burgess Jr. Followed closely behind with 70 yards on the ground. The entire backfield netted 232 yards while averaging 4.8 yards per carry. 

The backup quarterbacks (which included McNamara, junior Kevin Hurley and sophomore Cade McConnel) combined for a measly 101 yards over the air averaging a total quarterback rating (QBR) of 62.4. 

Some fans took to social media, including former UTEP Miner Aaron Jones, to point out a clear unsportsmanlike conduct call committed by LA Tech linebacker Brevin Randle. The act in question sees the linebacker step on the neck of senior offensive lineman Steve Hubbard. A suspension at this time has not been given and C-USA officials are expected to speak on the issue this week. 

Several fans were frustrated over the Miners’ performance Friday night as some sporadically shout, “Fire Dimel.” 

One of those fans happened to be retired State District Judge Alfredo Chavez. 

“It is embarrassing the product that they’re putting on this field,” Chavez said. “All they keep coming up with excuses. We don’t need excuses. We need a product that we could be proud of. Supposedly (Dimel) was going to call the plays this year and that was going to be the solution to everything.” 

Dimel himself noted that the game was less than ideal for his squad following the game. 

“Obviously we are disappointed in our performance to this point of the season, but we got to keep fighting and keep trying to improve,” Dimel said. “We’ve had lots of gut punches and we’ve had some opportunities that we’ve just let slip away, but as a team and as a unit, you just have to lock in, and you have to go to tomorrow.” 

The Miners will observe a bye week as the team prepares for a Wednesday night match against Florida International Oct. 11 on the road. 

Emmanuel Rivas Valenzuela Armendariz is the sports editor and may 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.
Annabella Mireles
Annabella Mireles, Photo Editor
Annabella Mireles is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in digital media production and minoring in film. She is the photo editor at the Prospector newspaper and Minero magazine as well as owning her own photography business. She plans on pursuing photography full time.
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