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One-on-one with UTEP’s Dana Dimel; Miners look to extend win streak at Louisiana Tech

EL PASO, Texas - UTEP, coming off its first-ever win in the Eastern Time Zone, will look to win at Conference USA foe Louisiana Tech for the first time in 18 seasons on Saturday.

The Miners and Bulldogs will kick off at 5 p.m. MT/6 CT in Joe Aillet Stadium in Ruston.

The contest will be streamed on ESPN+.

The action returns to 600 ESPN El Paso with “The Voice of the Miners” Jon Teicher calling play-by-play in his 42nd season.

‘Teich’ is joined by former UTEP WR Cole Freytag (2012, 2014-16) in the booth providing analysis in his first season and Mando Medina reporting from the sidelines.

The action can also be heard on the UTEP Miners app.

UTEP (3-3, 1-1 C-USA) is coming off a victory at Charlotte, 41-35, on Oct. 1.

The Miners won their first-ever game in the eastern time zone after scoring their most points since the last game of the 2020 season.

UTEP rushed for 252 yards led by Deion Hankins’s game-high 112 yards.

The highlight of the evening was Jadrian Taylor’s fumble return in which the 6-1, 246-pound DE scooped up the ball and darted 100 yards to pay dirt.

Tyrice Knight also scored on a scoop-and-score that was caused by a Taylor sack-strip of Charlotte QB Chris Reynolds.

Gavin Hardison matched his career high with three touchdown passes, finding Tyrin Smith for two of those scores and the third to Trent Thompson.

LA Tech (1-3, 0-0 C-USA) is coming off a bye week following a 38-14 loss at South Alabama on Sept. 24.

The Bulldogs tallied 308 yards of total offense, while yielding 389. LA Tech starting QB Parker McNeil tossed four interceptions with two scores.

Smoke Harris (4 rec., 84 yards) and Griffin Hebert (5 rec., 49 yards) each hauled in touchdowns.

Tre Harris recorded six receptions for 85 yards – both game highs. DB BeeJay Williamson led the way with nine tackles.

The Miners are looking for their first win in Ruston since the 2004 season. UTEP defeated LA Tech, 19-3, last in season in El Paso. It was the first victory for the Miners against the Bulldogs in El Paso since the 1939 season.

“We have another challenge ahead of us, another road game, back-to-back road games outside the state of Texas. So again, it'll be against a team that has a good passing attack, runs the ball well, really talented receivers, big, tall quarterback with a very strong arm. The running backs got good shiftiness and speed to them,” UTEP Head Coach Dana Dimel said. “Defensively, they're very athletic on defense and have a lot of returners from last year's defense, a very experienced defense with some new faces in there. But the new faces are athletic. They have a lot of depth on their defensive football team. It’s a big challenge for us going into another road conference game here as we go into this week.”

UTEP (3-3, 1-1) at LA Tech (1-3, 0-0)

Date: Saturday, Oct. 8

Time: 5:00 p.m. MT/6 CT

Location: Ruston, La.

Venue: Joe Aillet Stadium (28,562)

Twitter Updates: @UTEPFB

TV: ESPN+

PxP: Lyn Rollins

Analyst: Chris Mycoskie

Sideline: Madison Kaufman

Radio: ESPN 600 El Paso

PxP: Jon Teicher

Analyst: Cole Freytag

Sideline: Mando Medina

SERIES VS. LA TECH

LA Tech leads the all-time series 14-3-1. The Miners won the first-ever meeting in 1939 and the most recent contest, 19-3, last season in El Paso. Last season, UTEP grinded out a 16-point win against LA Tech as RB Deion Hankins led the attack with two rushing touchdowns. DE Jalen Rudolph was credited with a safety and K Gavin Baechle connected on a 41-yard field goal. DE Jadrian Taylor set a career best with 3.5 sacks and six tackles. LB Tyrice Knight intercepted a pass in the end zone late in the game to secure the victory. The win was UTEP’s first against LA Tech since the 2004 season. The Miners beat the Bulldogs 44-27. UTEP is 1-7 versus LA Tech in Ruston.

SCOUTING LA TECH

LA Tech is 1-3 after falling at South Alabama, 38-14, on Sept. 24. The Bulldogs fell at then-no. 4 Clemson, 48-20, on Sept. 17 at Missouri, 52-24, in the season opener on Sept. 1. LA Tech’s lone win came against Stephen F. Austin, 52-17, on Sept. 10. RB Marquis Crosby leads the team with 248 rushing yards on 45 attempts (5.5 avg.) and three scores.

QB Parker McNeil has thrown for 901 yards on a60-of-110 passing with eight touchdowns and seven interceptions. TE Griffin Herbert leads the team in receiving yards (327) and touchdown receptions (three).

WR Tre Harris leads with 20 receptions. Harris, WR Smoke Harris and WR Cyrus Allen have each hauled in two scores. LB Tyler Grubbs leads the defense with 39 tackles.

LB Hugh Davis and DB Jaiden Cole have each recorded 1.5 sacks. LB Maki Carabin, DB Willie Roberts and Cole have each intercepted a pass.

Overall, the Bulldogs are averaging 27.5 points per game and allowing 38.8 points per contest.

LA Tech is averaging 371.3 yards per game and giving up 443.3 yards per contest.

EAST COAST CURSE…NO MORE

UTEP is now 1-26-1 in games played in the eastern time zone after its 41-35 win at Charlotte.

RARE BACK2BACK ROAD LEAGUE WINS

After winning at Conference USA foe Charlotte, UTEP is looking to win its second consecutive road conference game for the first time since the 2005 season.

The Miners won at Tulane 45-21 on Oct. 14 and followed with a win at Rice 38-31 on Oct. 29.

The last time UTEP won road conference games in consecutive weeks came in 2004 when the Miners won at LA Tech 44-27 on Oct. 23 and at San Joes State 38-20 a week later (Oct. 30).

SECOND MOST POINTS IN DIMEL ERA

UTEP scored 41 points at Charlotte as it was the most points scored since putting up 43 against North Texas on Dec. 11, 2020. It was the second-most points scored during the Dana Dimel era.

40 OR MORE POINTS IN A VICTORY

Prior to Oct. 1 at Charlotte, the last time the Miners posted a victory when scoring more than 41 points came against North Texas (52-24) on Nov. 26, 2016.

GROUND GAME PRODUCING 200+ YARDS

UTEP gained a season-high 252 yards rushing, the most since rushing for 265 yards at Southern Miss last season. It marked the 10th time UTEP rushed for 200 yards or more under Dana Dimel. The Miners are 7-1 in their last eight game where they rush for 200 yards or more.

SEASON BEST IN TOTAL OFFENSE

UTEP gained a season-high 425 yards of total offense at Charlotte. It was the most since gained 488 against Rice on Nov. 20, 2021.

400 YARDS DURING THE DIMEL ERA

The Miners gained 425 yards of total offense at Charlotte. It was the 14th time UTEP went over 400 yards during the Dana Dimel era. UTEP is 7-7 during that span.

HARDISON THE LAST 2 GAMES

Redshirt junior QB Gavin Hardison has completed 80.0 percent of his passes (20-25) the last two games. He’s thrown for 296 yards, four touchdowns and no interceptions.

SEASON HIGH TD PASSES

Gavin Hardison tied his career best with three touchdown passes at Charlotte. He threw against Bethune-Cookman on Sept. 4, 2021 and matched that number against no. 16/18 UTSA on Nov. 6, 2021.

HANKINS LOVING CHARLOTTE

Redshirt sophomore Deion Hankins has rushed for 231 yards (115.5 yards per game). Hankins gained a season-high 112 yards during UTEP’s 41-35 win against 49ers on Oct. 1. Hankins previously gained a career-high 119 yards at Charlotte on Oct. 24, 2020.

HANKINS HITTING THE CENTURY MARK

Deion Hankins tallied his fourth career 100-yard rushing effort at Charlotte. Hankins gained 113 against SFA on Sept. 5, 2020, 118 yards at ULM on Sept. 26, 2020, and 119 at Charlotte on Oct. 24, 2020.   

SMITH ADDED TO BILETNIKOFF AWARD WATCH

Tyrin Smith is one of 10 players added to the Biletnikoff Award Watch List by The Tallahassee Quarterback Club (TQC) Foundation, Inc., on Oct. 5. The Biletnikoff Award annually recognizes the college football season's outstanding FBS receiver. Any player, regardless of position (wide receiver, tight end, slot back, and running back) who catches a pass is eligible for the award. As such, the Biletnikoff Award recognizes college football's outstanding receiver, not merely college football's outstanding wide receiver.

TYRIN BREAKING THE CENTURY MARK

Tyrin Smith recorded his fourth career 100-yard game at Charlotte. Smith, a 5-7 speedster, tallied a career-high 104 yards on four receptions against the 49ers. Smith’s first 100-yard game came at Florida Atlantic (122 yards) last season, while his second century mark came against North Texas (127 yards) to open the 2022 season, while his third came at New Mexico on a career-high 183 yards. Smith ranks tied 16th on the program’s all-time 100-yard receiving list.

TYRIN’S RECEIVING RANKINGS

Redshirt sophomore WR Tyrin Smith leads Conference USA with 568 yards. Smith ranks tied seventh in C-USA with 33 receptions and ranks sixth in yards per game (94.7). Nationally, Smith ranks fourth in receiving yards and 21st in yards per game.

FIRST TD OF '22 FOR THOMPSON

Redshirt senior TE Trent Thompson hauled in his first touchdown of 2022 on a 26-yard scoring reception at Charlotte. For Thompson, he's reeled in five touchdowns on a total of 11 receptions dating back to last season. Last season, Thompson tallied nine receptions with 133 yards and four scores, while this season he's recorded two catches for 46 yards and a TD.

2 DEFENSIVE SCORES

LB Tyrice Knight and DE Jadrian Taylor both found pay dirt at Charlotte during UTEP’s 41-35 victory. It was the first time since Nov. 1, 2014 versus Southern Miss that the Miners scored two defensive touchdowns in the same game. DB Nick Gathrite took a fumble back 59 yards for a score, while LB Trey Brown took back a pick-six 51 yards to the house against the Golden Eagles.

THE FUMBLE RUMBLE TO PAY DIRT

Senior Jadrian Taylor, a 6-1, 246-pound DE, returned a fumble recovery 100 yards at Charlotte after a fumble at the goal line. It was Taylor’s first-ever touchdown scored while at UTEP.

GOING 100 YARDS

Jadrian Taylor’s 100-yard fumble return for a touchdown was the longest defensive TD by a UTEP player since Quintin Demps had a 100-yard interception return at UCF in the final game of 2007.

JT’S ALL-AROUND PERFORMANCE

Jadrian Taylor disrupted the Charlotte offense during the Miners’ 41-35 win. He took a fumble 100 yards for a score in the fourth quarter, while also recording a sack-strip that led to a Tyrice Knight scoop-and-score with nine seconds remaining in the first half. He also added a season-high 3.0 QB sacks. Taylor added four tackles on the night. 

TYRICE ALSO FOUND THE END ZONE

Senior LB Tyrice Knight scored his first career touchdown at Charlotte. It came late in the first half when teammate Jadrian Taylor recorded a sack-strip on QB Chris Reynolds. Knight scooped up the ball and took it 13 yards to the house.

TACKLING BEHIND THE LINE OF SCRIMMAGE

Kobe Hylton leads Conference USA lead with 7.0 tackles for loss each, while teammates LB Tyrice Knight LB Cal Wallerstedt are tied second in C-USA with 6.0 TFL.

FIRST PICK FOR ILIJAH

Redshirt freshman CB Ilijah Johnson’s first career interception couldn’t have happened at the right time. Charlotte, which got within six points, got the ball back at the CLT36 with 1:26 left in the game. But Johnson was in the right place when Charlotte QB Chris Reynolds went deep on the first play only for Johnson to end up with the ball and victory.

MOST SACKS IN 2022

UTEP tallied a season-high five quarterback sacks at Charlotte during its 41-35 victory. It was the most since recording five at Southern Miss last season. Prior to last season’s total at Southern Miss, UTEP’s high in a league game was six sacks at LA Tech on Oct. 23, 2004. Jadrian Taylor (3.0 sacks), Bryton Thompson (1.0 sack) and Tyrice Knight (1.0) all tallied sacks versus the 49ers.

C-USA SPECIAL TEAMS PLAYER OF THE WEEK…AGAIN

Gavin Baechle, after scoring a season-high 11 points, was honored as the Conference USA Special Teams Player of the Week on Oct. 3 presented by Blenders Eyewear. The award is Baechle’s second in this season as he was first honored on Sept. 12 following UTEP’s win over NM State. Baechle was perfect on field goals (2-2) and tied his career best with five extra points during UTEP’s 41-35 victory at Charlotte on Oct. 1 in Jerry Richardson Stadium. Baechle gave UTEP a 10-7 advantage when he connected on a 22-yard field goal attempt at the 8:03 mark of the second quarter. He later put the Miners ahead by 13 points (34-21) on a 29-yard make with 36 seconds remaining in the third.

BAECHLE LEADING THE WAY

Senior K/P Gavin Baechle is first in Conference USA with 11 made field goals and ranks third nationally. Baechle is 11-for-12 on the season. Baechle leads C-USA in field goals made per game (1.8). His 91.7 percent (11-12) ranks third in C-USA.

11 IN A ROW

Gavin Baechle has hit 11 consecutive field goals after missing his very first attempt of 2022. It’s the longest streak of his career. It is the longest streak by a Miner player since Jay Mattox made 13 consecutive FGs over the course of the 2014 and 2015 seasons. It’s also the longest streak during a single season when Jose Martinez converted 15 straight field goals.

SLOAN NAMED TO RAY GUY WATCH LIST

Joshua Sloan was named to the Ray Guy Award Watch List. The Ray Guy Award- named for football’s premier punter- honors the nation’s best collegiate punter. The Augusta Sports Council (ASC) created the award in 2000.

UP NEXT

UTEP will have its bye week before hosting two consecutive home games (FAU on Oct. 22, Middle Tennessee on Oct. 29). The Miners and Owls will kick off at 2 p.m. MT, while Oct. 29 against the Blue Raiders is “Homecoming” with kick set for 7 p.m. in Sun Bowl Stadium.

Article Topic Follows: UTEP

UTEP Athletics

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