Frustration is defined in Merriam-Webster as a deep chronic sense or state of insecurity and dissatisfaction arising from unresolved problems or unfulfilled needs. That accurately describes nearly every UTEP football fan.

Miners fans have been frustrated with the football program for the majority of the last 55 years, but emotions reached a boiling point after their season opening loss to Jacksonville State. UTEP had plenty of opportunities to tie or win the game in the fourth quarter, but in the end, it was another disappointing road loss against a team that had just moved up from FCS to FBS. After the game, fans called into MinerTalk for hours and hours to vent their anger and disappointment. Between the play calling, quarterback decision making, lack of execution on key downs, and being outcoached, the Miner faithful are pissed and we are just one game into the 2023 season.

What makes the poor road performance even worse is that the UTEP roster is full of veterans who have been through the battles over the last few years. They arrived when the football program was at its lowest point in years and they helped with its transformation into a competitive team. This group features many who were starters when the Miners won seven games in 2021 and nearly defeated Fresno State in the New Mexico Bowl. They knew how close they were to a bowl game last season and have their sights set on playing for a conference championship.

UTEP Athletics.
UTEP Athletics.

How can UTEP get their fans back and make the most of their 2023 football season? The only way is to win games. If they are able to defeat UIW next Saturday night, they will be 1-1 and set to play a pair of important road games against Power 5 opponents Northwestern and Arizona. Both programs are picked to finish either last or near the bottom in their preseason media polls. However, they will both be heavy favorites against a UTEP team that has not shown the ability to win road games since Dana Dimel was hired in 2018. Their lack of play away from the Sun Bowl is what has kept this team from taking the next big step in their development.

UTEP announced last week that more than 25,000 tickets had been sold for their home opener on Saturday against Incarnate Word. That ticket total could have risen considerably if the Miners had defeated Jacksonville State. Instead, half of the Sun Bowl stadium will probably fill up when everyone arrives by the second quarter. The team will not return home again until September 23rd when they host UNLV in their final non conference game. UTEP has already announced that more than 28,000 tickets have been issued for that game. If the Miners want to play in front of a capacity Sun Bowl crowd, they will need to play well and win against Northwestern and Arizona. Even a split on the road would probably ease the concerns of many Miner supporters. However, if they continue to lose road games, it will be another lonely season inside the Sun Bowl.

UTEP vs. NMSU Battle of I-10 Gallery Recap

These photos were taken Saturday, August 28th, 2021 when UTEP defeated NMSU 30-3 in the annual Battle of I-10 at Aggie Memorial Stadium.

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