It’s been 12 years since UTEP packed 53,415 fans at the Sun Bowl for their highly anticipated matchup against the Texas Longhorns. A decade-plus later, fans might get a chance to witness their first sell out crowd since the 41-13 drubbing against the Longhorns.

As of last week, UTEP athletics announced that there are fewer than 10,000 tickets available for the team’s season opener against North Texas on Aug. 27. Mayor Oscar Leeser announced yesterday he personally purchased 5,000 tickets which will be given to City employees and first responders. This comes in the wake of the Miners gearing up for their most anticipated season in years following a 7-6 season in 2021 that resulted in a bowl appearance for the first time since 2014.

Earlier last week, I asked fans what they remember about the last sellout crowd. I was 12 years old at the time and I went to the game with my best friend, Malcolm. I remember we sat really high up near the end zone. The hype around the game was out of this world. At the time, I was a massive Colt McCoy fan, but I still sported my UTEP gear. I can recall how excited the crowd was when UTEP took an early lead in the game. I also remember everyone wearing these ridiculous shirts.


Listeners, media members, and even former players reminisced about this game with me. The Miners went up 6-0 in the game and trailed 7-6 at the end of the first quarter. Fans thought the Miners were in the game and might have a chance to pull off a crazy upset. Though, Texas scored three touchdowns in the second quarter and led 28-13 at the half. Despite the Miners shutting out the Longhorns in the third quarter, they failed to score themselves and Texas ended up taking the commanding 42-13 win.

Colt McCoy led the game with 282 passing yards and four touchdowns, while receiver Quan Crosby led the way with eight catches for 154 yards and a touchdown. Trevor Vittatoe completed 25-of-46 passes for 267 yards and a touchdown to lead the Miners. You can watch almost the entire game on YouTube, starting with Miner kicker Jose Martinez coming off his 49-yard field goal to give the Miners an early 6-0 lead.

Here's how others remembered the last UTEP sellout.

Voice of UTEP Athletics Jon Teicher: “I remember the fans’ excitement of just having THE Texas Longhorns in El Paso. I remember the Miners hanging in the game for quite a bit & wondering if the unthinkable was possible. And I remember Bevo occupying one of the cutout areas on the south side of the stadium & all the commotion surrounding his presence. Hope this helps.”

UTEP Quarterback Trevor Vittatoe: “I remember the build up of the game all week and the excitement of playing Texas on ESPN. The energy of the fans who were tailgating as we pulled up to the stadium was insane. The loud roar of fans when we entered the game from the mine shaft. I remember it was standing room only that was left, and the slew of people who watched the game from atop the Franklin mountains. There’s so much I remember from the game but I could go all day. The support from El Paso was surreal that game, and would be nice if we can do that again some day for the team!”

SportsTalk Host Steve Kaplowitz: "I remember the buzz around the city for months leading up to the game, but when I walked into the Sun Bowl that night, I could not believe the number of Texas Longhorns t-shirts and jerseys that were in the stadium. The crowd felt like it was divided about 50-50. Bevo was also in El Paso and he was as grumpy as ever while the game was being played on the field. Mike Price was pumped and his team played most of the first half like they were the favorites and not the heavy underdogs. It was the kind of game that El Paoans dreamed about."

Photo courtesy of Joe Chacon
Photo courtesy of Joe Chacon

Joe Chacon (@ElDon60): "I was going to UTEP at the time. Only one of my friends here was cheering for the Miners. Had a pretty awesome tailgate that started at 7 AM with menudo and booze! My bud and former Miner QB joined us as well!"

Ivan Pierre Aguirre (@i_p_a_1): "I remember the coin toss and how orange (UTEP’s) the stadium and background was. It was amazing. Factoid: UTEP and UTA (yes, that is how I reference them since they are technically UT -Austin) have the same fight song."

Kevin (@SleepyKev5): "Colt McCoy and Jordan Shipley wrecked us! That’s what I remembered the most. Very cool seeing them in El Paso, though."

Joseph Ortiz (@JOrtiz_EHS): "I remember walking through the Mine Shaft and I could literally feel the stadium shaking!"
Sal Montes (@SalMOEnilla): "I remember the couple on the mountain." 
J.J. (@Jjgomez560):  "I remember thinking, 'If the fans supported UTEP like this each game, the funds would be there to turn UTEP into a powerhouse in 5 years.'"
Steve on Resler (@steve_sez_3MTA3): "I remember the scoreboard reading UT-Austin vs UT-El Paso." 
Jeremy Carranco (@JACarranco_): "Ahhhh yes, my 13th birthday…fun when UTEP was up 6-0. Miners tend to lose on my birthday (Sept. 10) but this year shows some promise."

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