Texas’ EL PASO (KTSM) – The 2022 campaign will begin for UTEP on Saturday with a pivotal Week 0 matchup against Conference USA opponent North Texas.
Dana Dimel, the head coach of the program, and his team have recently taken part in a number of pivotal contests. The most important game of Dimel’s time in El Paso, though, seems to have been the one against the Mean Green.
By Friday night, fewer than 1,500 tickets remained for the event. Despite UTEP’s prolonged efforts to fill the Sun Bowl to capacity. The Miners are aiming for their first sold-out audience since Texas in 2008, thus they should have at least 44,000 spectators. (45,971 maximum users).
The Miners seek to improve on their 7-6 record and close defeat to Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl in 2021. What happens on Saturday could tell us a lot about UTEP’s current situation and its potential to continue growing.
The Miners have been stressing about playing the Mean Green all summer. Who has a challenging opponent and a lot depending on the outcome? Since No. 9 Oklahoma is the opponent for the Miners the following week. A defeat would almost certainly result in a 0-2 start to their non-conference campaign.
The burden of knowing that a victory in week 0 is practically required has helped UTEP prepare.
Dimel made a comment earlier in the week. The team is conscious that we cannot start the season by cruising into every game and then gradually improving, and I think it’s made us take advantage of the three and a half weeks of preparation we’ve had leading up to this game.
UTEP prepares to launch
The Sun Bowl is set to begin at 7 p.m. on Saturday. The following five elements are essential for a mining victory as UTEP is ready to launch:
Take advantage of the enormous crowd’s enthusiasm: UTEP has not recently seen a crowd of this size. But on Saturday, it will be present at the Sun Bowl. in 2021, when hosting UTSA and other groups. There were roughly 31,000 Miners fans. and seemed to start off anxious, and uncertain. When UTEP plays North Texas, they must take advantage of the support from the fans.
Get the offense going quickly; Gavin Hardison needs to make plays. Get off to a quick attacking start to take advantage of the feverishly charged atmosphere in the stadium. UTEP has done it before, most notably in victories over New Mexico State and Louisiana Tech in 2021. Gain an advantage early, play with the advantage, and allow a strong defense to do its job.
Hardison will be the pivotal figure in this scenario. Last year, the third-year starter at quarterback showed flashes of his potential to be a superior quarterback in Conference USA, but too many turnovers damaged him. Too many turnovers caused the Miners to lose a few games. To defeat North Texas on Saturday, Hardison must perform at his best. UTEP needs his assertion that he has considerably improved over the winter to be true.
Ensure Austin Aune defeats North Texas running backs by controlling them: The running backs for North Texas are Oscar Adaway, Ikaika Ragsdale, Ayo Adeyi, and Isaiah Johnson; together, they carried for 183 yards against the Miners in 2021. It might be fatal if UTEP lets them go on Saturday. Instead, the Miners must control the ground game and force Austin Aune, the quarterback for North Texas, to outrun them. In 2021, Aune only completed 51% of his throws and threw nine interceptions.
UTEP North Texas
At least two turnovers are forced. The Miners forced at least one turnover in six of UTEP’s seven victories a year ago. Success could result if they acquire two of them against North Texas on Saturday. The defense will be playing in front of a loud, sold-out crowd, which could aid in their success.
Get at least one noteworthy special team play: UTEP had a strong kicking game in 2021, but their return game rarely produced noteworthy plays. UTEP’s special teams will help them win if they can get anything from their returners, block a punt, execute a trick play, etc. Any improvement over 2021 will be made by anything in this category.
As of Friday night, North Texas was a 1.5-point favorite. In front of a boisterous home crowd at the Sun Bowl, UTEP will start strong and triumph in a tight, hard-fought match.
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