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NMSU Aggies defeat UTEP football in 100th Battle of I-10 rivalry game

Joel Molina
Quarterback Cade McConnell signals the offense prior to the snap, during a game against NMSU.

UTEP Football (2-6, 1-3 C-USA) played one of the most historic and promoted games of the season against New Mexico State University (NMSU) (5-3, 3-1 C-USA). This was the 100th battle against I-10, continuing UTEP’s long rivalry against the school.  

Although the game wasn’t over the weekend, the Miners and Aggies flooded the stadium Wednesday night, Oct. 18, showing support for their team and school. Orange and blue and shades of maroon shone brightly under the stadium lights of the Sun Bowl Stadium.  

The Miners started strong with a promising first half. However, the Aggies stole the win with 28-7 at night’s end.  UTEP football fan Bob Peterson spoke about what it means to attend the 100th Battle of I-10. 

“What first impressed us was the great crowd at the Sun Bowl,” Peterson said. “It’s great seeing the number of people who have turned out for this battle. This is a big deal and should be a big deal. I’ve been to Duke (University) and Carolina, for example, and this is as good as that.”    

NMSU Graduate and football fan Brandon Young shares his thoughts on the rivalry.

“I went to college at NMSU and graduated in 1997, so this rivalry has been going on for a long time,” Young said. “I remember back in the day, it was much better when both stadiums were packed, but it’s a great long storied history. It’s exciting to come to these types of games, and the environment is fun.”

The Miners had the most trouble offensively, with 304 yards and only converting two-of-13 third downs. NMSU landed on the scoreboard first with a 74-yard eight-play drive, following Aggies quarterback Diego Pavia to make a 10-yard rushing touchdown. 

Miners’ defensive end, Kanious Vaughn, sacked Pavia on the drive along with Miners’ defensive end Maurice Westmoreland. However, Westmoreland was called for an unsportsmanlike penalty, causing the ball to move to the UTEP 45. Soon, Aggies running back Monte Watkins set up the score by rushing 34 yards to the 10-yard line.  

UTEP fired back, with Miner’s quarterback Kevin Hurley making his first career rushing touchdown on a one-yard rushing score. With a season-long 54-yard run by Miners running back Deion Hankins to the NMSU. 

Soon after, the Miners drove 75 yards on seven plays, taking about 3:52 minutes off the clock. By the end of the half, the Aggies missed two field goals. One was a 25-yard attempt successfully blocked by Miners defensive end, Praise Amaewhule.

The second half saw Pavia leading a 69-yard, five-play drive, creating a six-yard touchdown pass to Aggies tight end Thomaz Whitford. Pavia quickly got possession from a UTEP punt, running past the Miners defense for a 41-yard touchdown. This marked a 21-7 score with about 6:44 seconds left in the third quarter. A 16-yard touchdown pass to Whitford from Pavia came early in the fourth to pull away. The final score was28-7 

Head Coach Dana Dimel spoke after the game during a media presser, commenting on his thoughts toward the loss. 

“That was a big part of what happened in the second half. They put together a drive (on their) first of the third quarter. (They) had a couple of busted plays on that for big plays and ended up getting the ball in the end zone and got a score there,” UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel said. “We responded with a little bit of a drive that started on that next possession and then had to punt.” 

H. Catching Marginot is a staff reporter and can be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
H. Catching Marginot
H. Catching Marginot, Contributor/Writer
Henry Catching Marginot is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in English: rhetorical studies. He is a contributor at The Prospector and freelances. He plans to pursue writing in the future.
Joel Molina
Joel Molina, Contributor/Photographer
Joel is a graduate creative writing student at the University of Texas at El Paso. He is a photo contributor and 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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