UTEP’s 2014 football schedule was released on Monday. The Miners’ home schedule is highlighted by non-conference matchups with Big 12 power Texas Tech and I-10 rival NM State as they celebrate their Centennial season. Season tickets will go on sale on Wednesday and can be purchased by calling (915) 747-6150.
The Miners will open play with non-conference games against New Mexico, Texas Tech, NM State and Kansas State. UTEP’s eight-game Conference USA slate features dates with LA Tech, Old Dominion, UTSA, Southern Miss, Western Kentucky, North Texas, Rice and Middle Tennessee.
“We are excited about a very challenging schedule,” head coach Sean Kugler said. “We play five bowl teams from 2013 and have a very attractive home schedule with six games in front of our great fans.”
2013 bowl opponents on the Miners’ schedule include Texas Tech (Holiday), Kansas State (Buffalo Wild Wings), North Texas (Hear of Dallas), Rice (AutoZone Liberty) and Middle Tennessee (Bell Helicopter Armed Forces).
UTEP will kick off the 2014 campaign on the road versus New Mexico on Aug. 30. It will mark the 78th meeting between the rivals, and the first in Albuquerque since 2010.
The Miners will return home to battle the Red Raiders on Sept. 6. The two squads last squared off during the 2007 season, with the Red Raiders posting a 45-31 victory in Lubbock. The matchup in 2014 will mark Texas Tech's first visit to the Sun Bowl since 2006, when it used a 49-yard field goal in overtime to pull out a 38-35 victory over the Miners.
Texas Tech opened the 2013 season with a seven-game winning streak under the leadership of coach Kliff Kingsbury. The Red Raiders earned an invite to the Holiday Bowl and drilled No. 14 Arizona State, 37-23.
UTEP will take on NM State at the Sun Bowl on Sept. 13. This will be the 92nd meeting between the Miners and the Aggies. UTEP has posted five wins in a row over NMSU, including 42-21 in Las Cruces last season.
Following a bye week, the Miners will venture to Big 12 country to challenge Kansas State (Sept. 27). UTEP and the Wildcats have met twice previously. Kansas State downed the Miners, 40-7, in Manhattan in 1999. The Orange and Blue prevailed in the only other meeting, 20-6, in El Paso in 1947.
The Miners will kick off conference play on the road, facing LA Tech (Oct. 4). The team will return to El Paso to host Old Dominion (Oct. 11) on homecoming prior to their bye week. Three of the Miners’ next five conference games will take place on the road against UTSA (Oct. 25), Western Kentucky (Nov. 8) and Rice (Nov. 21). The latter is a Friday game. The Miners will host Southern Miss on Nov. 1, North Texas on Nov. 15 and MiddleTennessee on Nov. 29 as they close out the regular season with three November games in the Sun Bowl.
Six of the Miners’ last seven games will come against squads that posted seven or more victories in 2013 – Old Dominion (8-4), UTSA (7-5), Western Kentucky (8-4), North Texas (9-4), Rice (10-4) and Middle Tennessee (8-5).
The 2014 C-USA alignment will feature seven teams in the East Division and six teams in the West Division. FIU, Florida Atlantic, Marshall, Middle Tennessee, Old Dominion, UAB and Western Kentucky comprise the East Division, while LA Tech, North Texas, Rice, Southern Miss, UTEP and UTSA make up the West Division.
Each school in the West Division will play every team in its division once for five games,while playing three crossover opponents from the opposite division. Three schools in the East Division will play every team in its division once for six games, while playing two crossover opponents from the opposite division. Four schools in the East Division will play five opponents in its division once for five games, while playing three crossover opponents from the opposite division. East Division schools playing five division games were randomly selected by a computer scheduling application and two intra-division matchups in the East will not take place this season.
2014 UTEP Football Schedule
Aug. 30 at New Mexico
Sept. 6 Texas Tech
Sept. 13 New Mexico State
Sept. 27 at Kansas State
Oct. 4 at LA Tech
Oct. 11 Old Dominion
Oct. 25 at UTSA
Nov. 1 Southern Miss
Nov. 8 at Western Kentucky