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UTEP notch first win of the season in a 20-13 heartstopper over NMSU in the 99th edition of the Battle of I-10

EL PASO, Texas -- The Battle of I-10 always brings a fierce intensity and in it's 99th edition that couldn't be truer - the game hanging in the balance with 10 seconds left.

In the end the UTEP Miners were able to hold on and win it 20-13 over rivals New Mexico State.

It was a game of two halves the Miners outscoring the Aggies 17-0 in the first thanks to an early field goal from Gavin Baechle a touchdown pass from Gavin Hardison to Tyrin Smith and a 22 yard touchdown run from Ronald Awatt.

On the other side, true freshman Gavin Frakes got his first start of the season for the Aggies at quarterback. The first true freshman for the Aggies since 2014. Frakes though struggled to make anything happen after his first drive of the game ended in a tipped ball for a Miner interception.

Looking for a spark, NMSU Head Coach Jerry Kill chose to put in JUCO transfer Diego Pavia just before the half.

Pavia scored two rushing touchdowns to put the Aggies within a one score game. In the end Pavia who had been the hero for NMSU all night - scoring their most points of the season - fumbled the ball with 10 seconds left and in turn handed UTEP a 20-13 win.

NMSU now move to 0-3 on the season while UTEP are 1-2.

While it's a win on the scoreboard and in the record books for the Miners, they were outgained 299-274 by the Aggies and really struggled to adjust to a robust NMSU offense in the second half.

The 100th edition of the Battle of I-10 will have a lot more riding on it as it will be not just a rivalry game but also a conference game as NMSU are set to move to C-USA next year.

Both UTEP and NMSU now hit the road - the Miners face UNM at 6 p.m. Sat, Sept. 17th while the Aggies will take on No. 19 Wisconsin at 1.30 p.m. also on Sept. 17th.

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Rachel Phillips


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