Texas faces UTEP in tuneup before chasing Big 12 title

UTEP (1-0) at No. 14 Texas (0-0), Saturday at 8 p.m. ET (Longhorn Network).

Line: Texas by 43.

Series record: Texas 5-0.

WHAT’S AT STAKE?

The revamped and shortened schedule left Texas with just one game before starting pursuit of its first Big 12 title in since 2009. But at least they get this one. Three other Big 12 schools have seen their season openers delayed or postponed indefinitely by coronavirus outbreaks. If the Miners pull off a massive upset, they would match their win total of the past two seasons.

KEY MATCHUP

UTEP is relying on an experienced secondary to keep Texas quarterback Sam Ehlinger in check, but still may be overmatched. Ehlinger ranks second in school history in passing yards and touchdowns. The Texas receiving corps will have some new faces, but still have a ton of speed and size.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

UTEP: Running back Deion Hankins rushed for 113 years and two touchdowns in the Miners’ season-opening win over Steven F. Austin.

Texas: Junior linebacker Joseph Ossai had three sacks in last season’s Alamo Bowl win over Utah, and the Longhorns’ new 4-3 scheme under new defensive coordinator Chris Ash should maximize his explosiveness as a pass rusher.

FACTS & FIGURES

UTEP was 1-11 each of the past two seasons … Texas had four players opt out of this season due to COVID-19 concerns, including senior tailback Daniel Young, junior college transfer lineman Willie Tyler and senior defensive end Marqez Bimage, all who were expected to contribute this season … Texas coach Tom Herman rebuilt his staff after last season’s 8-5 finish and has has seven new assistants.

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