A sold out Sun Bowl highlighted the anticipation for UTEP’s home opener against instate foe, North Texas. This is Coach Dana Dimel’s 5th year leading the Miners and expectations are soaring. The Mean Green come in with much to prove, as well. In many ways, this game was setting up to be a pickaxe in the road forcing the winner and loser on alternate paths.
An atmosphere infused with intensity surrounded the stadium as The Sun Bowl was set to embrace its first sellout since 2008. Tailgating in the 90 degree heat took a turn as a thunderstorm rattled the area and delayed kickoff by an hour. However, as fans were allowed entry and filled this iconic venue to capacity, excitement ascended as the sun descended behind the mountains.
Today, UTEP would celebrate the El Paso community by declaring it “UTEP 915 Day,” a nod to this border town’s area code. Fans donned swag that proudly displayed 915 logos where a pickaxe replaced the number one. UTEP players unveiled new helmets with the same logo and the hashtag “RiseUp915” filled the social media world.
These two conference rivals are known for close battles, and the first quarter would indicate that today’s episode of this contest would echo history. North Texas led the Miners by only one at half, and the sellout Sun Bowl emitted deafening sounds.
However, the Mean Green found multiple ways to turn The Sun Bowl’s volume down in the second half as they found their running game. UTEP struggled to move the ball, and by the fourth quarter, the hometown fans were motioning toward the exits.
The final score was 31-13 in favor of North Texas. But, the UTEP fan base demonstrated the daunting potential of The Sun Bowl. A beautiful evening ended with disappointment, but there is much hope to be had in the 915.