UTEP Miners (0-2, C-USA) vs New Mexico State Aggies (0-2, FBS Independent)
Time and Date: 9 PM ET, September 10
Broadcast Network: ESPN+
Location: Sun Bowl - El Paso, Texas
Spread: UTEP -14*
Point Total: O/U 46.5*
ESPN FPI: UTEP 73.3%
All-Time Series: These two schools, separated by less than an hour’s drive, have met 98 previous times. UTEP leads the all-time series 58-38 (2 ties) with UTEP winning the 2021 meeting 30-3.
*Odds/lines are subject to change. T&Cs apply. See draftkings.com/sportsbook for details.
Through two games, the Miners are winless on the 2022 season. While there have been some mistakes, the Miners have made quite a lot of progress from where the program has been. Quarterback and New Mexico native Gavin Hardison’s arm strength has been on display in UTEP’s first two contests, but he only has one touchdown pass to show for it. He has completed 47 of 90 passes for 537 yards and been sacked six times.
The Miner defense has been led this year by linebacker Tyrice Knight, who has twenty total tackles so far. Defensive ends Praise Amaewhule and Jadrian Taylor were highly touted in the preseason, but have yet to make a significant splash through the first two contests. Taylor has seven tackles, a sack, and a pass deflection to start the year. Amaewhule has one tackle and a fumble recovery.
Also of note, UTEP kicker Gavin Baechle is off to a strong start this season: 2/2 on extra points and 4/5 on field goal attempts, including a made 54-yarder.
NEW MEXICO STATE PREVIEW
New Mexico State should really only be 0-1 because the Minnesota game was a disaster both on the field and from a scheduling standpoint. The guys never had a chance and with only four days of recovery from their Week 0 game, it showed. What better way to reinvigorate the guys than with eight days to recover for a major rivalry game?
The Aggies defense looks really improved and can compete against competition closer to their talent level, holding Nevada to 257 yards of offense. I would rank UTEP’s offense as slightly better than Nevada’s but one that the Aggies can contain. I expect the defense to be able to keep the Aggies in the game. The major question for the Aggies is will they finally get their offense clicking?
The Aggies looked abysmal on offense against Minnesota and against Nevada they looked decent at times but couldn’t stop themselves from turning the ball over. Can the Aggies get things straightened out? Will a quarterback emerge? Can the run game find its footing? These questions and more remain to be answered.
Joe: There aren’t many games on UTEP’s schedule where I can say they clearly outmatch their opponent. This is one of those games. I think the Miners win 28-14.
Kyle: The Aggies should be excited for this game and have a decent crowd behind them. I expect the game to be close early but NM State’s offensive struggles keep them from their first win. UTEP 31 NM State 17