Missed Opportunities Could Cost UTEP Fans and Millions
Saturday night, a sold out Sun Bowl weathered the storm and stuck around to watch the most hyped UTEP football season opener in a long time. They needed to make a statement about their 2022 season, but instead the Miners did not capitalize on a ton of chances that they had in the first half. Rather than go into the locker room with a two touchdown lead over North Texas, they trailed by a point. The sad part is that UTEP played the next two quarters like they were still in the locker room.
There was so much attention given to this football game that fans who normally stay away from the Sun Bowl until later in the season decided to give the Miners a chance to win them back. The university created a 915 campaign that was designed to bond the community with the school. Everything was in place for this monumental audition. The one thing Jim Senter and his athletic department could not control was the game played on the field.
Missed opportunities in the red zone. Questionable play calling. Inconsistent play from the quarterback. A huge dropped pass that could have swung the game around. Not being able to run the football. Defense coming up empty in big situations.
Sound familiar, Miners fans? It should because all of these things have happened in past seasons. However, they were all on display for UTEP this past Saturday night in the same football game against the Mean Green.
I wrote a story last week how the North Texas game is worth millions to UTEP and their Athletic Department. Sadly, the team did not come ready to play in the big moments and fans do not need a story like this to help determine what they will do with their entertainment dollars.
Next Saturday in Norman could be really ugly and then the Miners come home with an 0-2 record for their I-10 rivals, New Mexico State. The Aggies also lost on Saturday night to Nevada, but they hung in there until the final minute of the football game. Instead of 30,000 fans watching the Battle of I-10 at the Sun Bowl had the Miners defeated North Texas, the fan count could end up being half that total. UTEP can still turn their season around if they sweep their New Mexico opponents, but Boise State could have been another sellout crowd had the team won against the Mean Green. Fewer fans mean fewer dollars for UTEP Athletics.