FINAL REPORT: LAS CRUSES, New Mexico — Jacob Cowing had a career-high 158 yards receiving, including a 59-yard score, and UTEP opened the season with a 30-3 victory over New Mexico State on Saturday night.
Cowing's yardage came on just five catches, including one for 72 yards, as he finished with his sixth career 100-yard game. Gavin Hardison was 11-of-16 passing for 249 yards and an interception.
UTEP rolled to a 20-3 halftime lead with Hardison throwing for 154 yards, 104 to Cowing, before the duo combined for their long score just over a minute into the second half. Ronald Awatt and Deion Hankins rushed for touchdowns and Gavin Baechle kicked three field goals.
The Miners, 3-5 last fall, returned all 11 starters on offense and eight on defense as they outgained the Aggies 452-190.
New Mexico State didn't play in 2020 and split two games in the spring. The Aggies were playing at home for the first time since a 44-35 victory over the Miners on Nov. 23, 2019.
This was the 98th meeting between the programs, the first coming in 1914.
UPDATE: LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - Dana Dimel has never beaten New Mexico State in his tenure as UTEP coach. He's two quarters away from doing so.
UTEP has used two rushing touchdowns from both Deion Hankins and Ronald Awatt to jump out to a 20-3 halftime lead over New Mexico State at Aggie Memorial Stadium in the 98th meeting of the Battle of I-10.
Highlighted by a 76-yard pass from Gavin Hardison to Jacob Cowing, the Miners scored on their opening possession on 6-yard run from Hankins.
Awatt took his score in from 34 yards out, his 4th career rushing TD and a career-long.
The Miners appeared to ready to blow the game open in the first half after leading 17-0 after the opening period, before New Mexico State's defense eventually settled in and Ethan Albertson tacked on a field goal.
Junior college transfer Jonah Johnson started at quarterback for the Aggies, and is 7-17 passing with 66 yards. Johnson got the start over redshirt freshman Weston Eget.
UTEP entered Saturday as 9.5-point favorite.
ORIGINAL REPORT: LAS CRUCES, New Mexico -- The New Mexico State football opener against UTEP on Saturday will appear live on KVIA ABC-7, while the CW El Paso/Las Cruces plans to air the remaining four NMSU home contests,
Set to kick-off at 7:30 p.m., the Aggies and Miners will meet for the 95th installment of the storied rivalry. KVIA's live coverage of the Battle of I-10 begins at 7 p.m. with a special 30-minute "Battle of I-10 Pregame Show" hosted by KVIA's Adrian Ochoa and Nate Ryan.
NM State has won the last three matchups over its El Paso based rival, dating back to the 2018 season.
In addition to the 2021 opener between the Aggies and Miners appearing on KVIA, the CW El Paso/Las Cruces plans to air the remaining four NM State football home games against South Carolina State (Sept. 18), Hawaii (Sept. 25), Utah State (Nov. 6) and UMass (Nov. 27). Director of broadcasting Adam Young and color commentator Danny Knee will bring Aggie fans coverage, as the duo returns for their fifth season of calling Aggie football together.
"With a viewership area that numbers at over 1.5 million people, KVIA and The CW El Paso/Las Cruces have afforded NM State and its football program an excellent opportunity for exposure during the 2021 season," NM State director of athletics Mario Moccia said. "Many college football teams around the nation do not have the potential to reach a vast number of fans through traditional linear broadcasts, so this element gives our program a leg up over many."
The agreement was done in collaboration with NM State's athletics multimedia rights-holder, Learfield.