Scouting the 2021 LA Tech football foes: UTEP

With the start of football season around the corner, here is the sixth of a 12-part series of season previews on the Louisiana Tech opponents for the upcoming season. Tech will travel to El Paso on Oct. 16 to face the Miners at the Sun Bowl. Kickoff time is 8 p.m. CT and the game will be shown on the ESPN Networks.

2020 Record: 3-5 (0-4 in C-USA)

Bowl Appearance: None

Head Coach: Dana Dimel (4th Year)

All-time Series: LA Tech leads 14-2-1

Last Meeting: LA Tech 21, UTEP 17 (2020) – In a game that saw Louisiana Tech muster only 210 yards of total offense, it was the Bulldog defense that made play after play in a 21-17 win over the Miners – the eighth straight by Tech in the series. Israel Tucker rushed for two touchdowns – a 15-yard gallop on the opening drive of the game and a 1-yard plunge early in the fourth quarter – and Tech withstood one of its lowest offensive outputs in recent memory. Tech freshman Cedric Woods came up with two huge defensive plays in the final quarter, including his first career interception with six minutes remaining in the game. UTEP would get one final chance with 22 seconds to play deep inside its own territory but the Miners failed to move the ball.

Tech Connection: Although there aren’t any Tech connections on the Miners roster, UTEP Assistant Athletic Director for Strategic Communications (and football contact) Anna Claire Thomas is a LA Tech graduate. Thomas earned her bachelor’s degree from Tech in 2012 and spent seven years working in the LA Tech Athletic Communications Department, including serving as the primary football contact for the Bulldogs. In 2016, she was the youngest female Division I primary football contact in the country at the age of 26.

UTEP Outlook: UTEP got off to a 3-1 start last year before dropping their final four games of the season, including a two-point loss to North Texas and the four-point defeat to the Bulldogs. Hopes are high in El Paso with the return of one of the top freshmen in Conference USA last season as running back Deion Hankins will lead the Miners offensive attack. Hankins rushed for 592 yards and nine touchdowns in just seven games in 2020, averaging 5.0 yards per tote. For the Miners to take the next step, quarterback Gavin Hardison will have to improve on a season that saw him complete just 54 percent of his passes. Defensively, the Miners recorded 47 tackles for loss and 13 sacks last season but only forced eight turnovers in eight games (2 interceptions, 6 fumble recoveries) while surrendering 19 touchdowns through the air. Second team all-league defensive end Praise Amaewhule (19 tackles, 8 TFL, 7 sacks) returns for his fourth season with the Miners, whose new defensive coordinator is former LSU staffer and Northwestern State head coach Bradley Dale Peveto.

UTEP Game Tickets: Tech fans can purchase tickets for the game through the Tech Ticket Office (318-257-3631)

Season Tickets: LA Tech fans can purchase season tickets for the 2021 year by calling 318-257-3631 or going to LATechSports.com/tickets. The Bulldogs host six home games this year, including a marquee non-conference match-up against SMU.

Up Next: UTSA


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