When we last left UTEP, they had just sold out the Sun Bowl for their season opener versus North Texas, and they were discussing the possibility of going to back-to-back bowl games for the first time in the Mike Price era. The Miners would lose to UNT and finish with a losing record of 5-7.
Despite the return of talents like Tyrin Smith and Praise Amaewhule, the excitement around this year’s Miners team is not even near to what it was before the team’s disappointing 2022 campaign. Jacksonville State, a newcomer to both the FBS and CUSA, will be UTEP’s opponent in week zero.
The game plan for Jacksonville State included extensive rushing. That’s exactly why they were designed. They will challenge UTEP to stop the run if it happens. If the Miners go too aggressive, Webb will likely go for it on the ground, but he also has the option to throw. Their fast-paced offense will put the Miners to the test, especially in the sweltering conditions of late August in Alabama.
However, this is one of the major issues facing this Jacksonville State squad. The defense sees a lot of action when the offense is high-tempo. With only two of their top six tacklers back from last season, the Gamecocks will have to replace a significant portion of their stopping power. Their defensive line has some depth, but their lack of size is cause for concern.
Typically, UTEP struggles when facing fast-paced offenses, but in those cases, the opposing team primarily relied on passing plays, but Jacksonville State does not. The Gamecocks plan to establish the run. And the Miners are considerably better equipped to stop the run, boasting LB Tyrice Knight and D-Linemen Praise Amaewhule and Keenan Stewart, three of the best run stoppers in CUSA up front.
Having one of the strongest safeties in CUSA, Kobe Hylton, certainly helps. UTEP’s offense should be able to dominate in the trenches and keep the game close. The Miners’ offensive line appears to be not just more seasoned than Jax’s, but also more talented. The defensive line for State is likewise considerably more robust.
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UTEP Miners vs Jacksonville State Gamecocks Game Information
- Date: 08/26/2023
- Time: 05:30 PM ET
- Location: Burgess-Snow Field, Jacksonville, AL.
- How to Watch UTEP vs Jacksonville State : CBS Sports Netwrok
- Live Stream: fubo.tv