UTEP Football Dominates Florida International on Senior Day, 40-6
UTEP football secured a dominant win against Florida International Saturday afternoon (40-6), including a 38-0 mark at halftime, to improve to 5-7 (3-4 C-USA) and keep their bowl eligibility hopes alive.
In front of a quiet crowd of 10,758 on a chilly afternoon game, the Miners were able to get promising production on the ground, which featured 335 rushing yards, and held FIU to just 71 total yards. Backup quarterback Calvin Brownholtz started on his senior day outing, completing 12-of-18 passes with three total touchdowns and 31 rushing yards. Gavin Hardison was injured against Rice and was held out in this contest after going through warm-ups.
Now, the Miners will look ahead to a season-finale road game at UTSA to try and earn bowl eligibility.
“Really happy that the seniors finished this the way they did. Everyone got to play in the game,” said Dana Dimel. “We’ve proven when we can play 60 minutes the way we want, we’re a tough out."
In the first half, the Miners got off to an early 14-0 first quarter lead, catapulted off an opening game touchdown drive capped off by a one-yard rushing score from Brownholtz.
They built on their lead with 24 points in the second quarter. It started off by a 43-yar rushing touchdown by hometown senior Rey Flores, to put the Miners up 21-0. Flores scored a pair of rushing touchdowns in the first half and led the team with 63 first half rushing yards. Brownholtz also flashed his passing abilities by hitting wideout Kelly Akharaiyi for a 63-yard passing touchdown. Following an interception by senior linebacker Gary Theard, the Miners were able to kick a field goal before the half to lead 38-0.
Out of the half, both teams were extremely passive and couldn't find a score. UTEP drove twice inside FIU territory but came up short both times in the second half. On one drive, Brownholtz was stripped and the fumble was returned for an 84-yard touchdown by FIU. The second time, UTEP went all the way down to the FIU 1 yard line and couldn't punch it in on 4th and 1. However, the defense forced a safety and earned two points in the second half.
The Miner defense shut out FIU's offense, not allowing a single offensive score. They created one turnover, sacked the quarterback twice and racked up six tackles for losses. Linebacker Cal Wallerstedt led the way on defense with seven tackles and one tackle for loss.
Ysleta grad Flores finished with 13 carries, 128 yards, two touchdowns and 21 receiving yards. Running backs Ronald Awatt (17 carries for 84 yards) and Deion Hankins (14 carries for 81 yards) shined in the win as well. Wideout Kelly Akharaiyi led the receivers with three catches for 99 receiving yards and one touchdown.
Up next: The Miners will travel to San Antonio to face the Roadrunners (9-2) on Saturday, November 26, with a 1:30 p.m. kickoff. We will have MinerTalk following the season finale next week on 600 ESPN El Paso.