UTEP Miners Preview 2022: Previewing, predicting, and looking ahead to the UTEP season with what you need to know and keys to the season.
UTEP Miners Preview
Head Coach: Dana Dimel, 5th year at UTEP, 12-33
11th year overall, 42-72: 2021 Preview
2021 Record: Overall: 7-6, Conference: 4-4
Keys To The Season
Season Prediction, What Will Happen
UTEP Top 10 Players | UTEP Schedule
UTEP Miners Preview 2022
It was one of the best stories of 2021.
UTEP, the program that hadn’t had a lick of luck for so many years and only went 5-27 in three seasons under head coach Dana Dimel was … good?
The seven-wins and bowl appearance was the best season since 2014, and the team won two more games in one year than it did over the previous four combined.
It hasn’t been easy to come up with any sort of success at UTEP, much less a sustained level of high play, but this year’s team is loaded with all-stars from 2021, it has depth, and now it knows what it’s like to win.
Unlike others in the conference who are off to the American Athletic Conference next year, UTEP is expected to stick around after this season, and it’s got a chance to establish itself as the star of the league going forward.
For now, just coming up with another winning season would be good enough.
UTEP Miners Preview 2022: Offense
The offense couldn’t move the chains, it couldn’t complete passes, and it turned the ball over WAY too much. However, for a program that struggled for a long, long time to get things going, averaging 392 yards and 25 points per game was great.
No, the passing accuracy wasn’t there, but the deep ball opened everything up and the running game wasn’t all that bad over the first half of the season. Seven starters are expected back, but …
Leading receiver Jacob Cowing is off to Arizona. He was a special target who averaged close to 20 yards per catch, and No. 2 receiver Justin Garrett is gone.
However, Tyrin Smith averaged over 17 yards per catch on his 33 grabs with four scores, TE Trent Thompson scored four times on his nine catches, and there’s help on the way from the JUCO ranks and with a few new receivers ready to rise up.
Gavin Hardison did his part to make the offense go. The junior threw for 3,223 yards and 18 touchdowns averaging nine yards per throw. Now he has to relax on the interceptions after throwing 13.
The offensive line is one of the best the program has had in years. Three Honorable Mention All-Conference USA blockers are back, starting with Andrew Meyer at center and with two good parts on the right side in guard Elijah Klein and tackle Jeremiah Byers.
The backs are there to do even more. Ronald Awatt led the team with 854 yards and six scores – averaging 5.4 yards per carry – and Deion Hankins is a good veteran who ran for 453 yards and six touchdowns. They’ll combine for over 1,300 yards again behind this line.
UTEP Miners Preview 2022: Defense
Where did that come from? The defense was solid against the run, allowed just 25 points per game, and finished second in Conference USA giving up 349 yards per game. With eight starters back and seven all-stars returning, the Miners should do it all again.
The 1-2 linebacking punch of Breon Hayward and Tyrice Knight combined for 210 tackles and should be the rock of the defense again. They’re the big, active 2 in the 4-2-5, and they should stay clean behind a big, experienced line.
Praise Amaewhule is among the best pass rushers in Conference USA with 5.5 sacks and 13 tackles for loss. He’s set on one side, leading sacker Jadrian Taylor is back on the other, and 300-pounders Kelton Moss and Keenan Stewart lock things up on the inside. this group will be even better against the run.
The transfer portal is helping out the secondary with Kobe Hylton coming in from Louisiana for one safety job and Josiah Allen a good JUCO transfer at corner. Dennis Barnes was third on the team with 59 tackles, and CB Corey Richardson led the team with eight broken up passes.