The second game up on the Saturday bowl slate features the UTEP Miners (7-5) of the C-USA against the Fresno State Bulldogs (9-3) of the Mountain West. Fresno State is favored by double digits, but after losing their starting quarterback to the transfer portal and their head coach to Washington, this game maybe more up for grabs than the experts think.
Both teams feature pretty exciting passing offenses, but the Bulldogs of the Mountain West have had more reliable success as evidenced by their 4-1 record against the spread the last five games, but that is not why we are here. Let’s breakdown the top prospects!
Praise Amaewhule, DT, UTEP Miners (6-3, 245 pounds)
Only a sophomore, Praise Amaewhule already looks ready for the NFL as one of the most dominant pass rushers in the country. The first team All-C-USA member, Amaewhule leads UTEP with 13 tackles for loss, seven pass break-ups and ten quarterback hurries. He is second on the team in tackles with 39 and sacks with 5.5. Amaewhule is second in C-USA with three forced fumbles.
The @pepsi Player of the Game goes to Praise Amaewhule! 💪
— UTEP Miners (@UTEPAthletics) September 26, 2021
Jacob Cowing, WR, UTEP Miners (5-11, 170 pounds)
Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports
Jacob Cowing is another electric sophomore and if you want to see first-round tape check him out against Boise State where he snagged six receptions for 112 yards and a touchdown against a very good Bronco squad. The All-C-USA star is one of the more highly touted recruits in UTEP history.
Justin Garrett (L) wore the #2 in honor of Luke and did it proud. Even wore “Laufenberg” on his nameplate. Jacob Cowing (R) will wear it next year. All Jacob did was finish 6th in nation with 1,330 receiving yards. Two fine young men. Wish them luck in @NewMexicoBowl pic.twitter.com/KJd9h2zQzN
— Babe Laufenberg (@BabeLaufenberg) December 16, 2021
Deion Hankins, RB, UTEP Miners (6-0, 215 pounds)
Nov 20, 2021; El Paso, Texas, USA; UTEP Miners running back Deion Hankins (33) walks out of the locker room before facing the Rice Owls at Sun Bowl Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports
Another underclassmen, Deion Hankins is a redshirt freshman who struggled with injuries all season after having an electric true frosh season in 2020. Hankins is the second leading rusher on the team, but is clearly the most talented back and the All-C-USA play-maker is a name to watch.
Celebrating another great year at our 6th Annual PMS Athletic Banquet. Thanks to all the coaches, parents, and athletes for all their hard work and dedication. Also, thanks to our guest speaker, Deion Hankins for letting the kids know what it means to be a real student-athlete. pic.twitter.com/DtiW6pMmDO
— ParklandMS (@ParklandMS) June 3, 2018
Ronnie Rivers, RB, Fresno St. Bulldogs (5-9, 195 pounds)
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
Ronnie Rivers owns the Fresno State record book as the school’s all-time leader in touchdowns with 51, rushing touchdowns with 40, receptions for a running back with 150 and receiving touchdowns from a running back with 11. Rivers should hear his name called early as the workhorse is a star and an elite receiver out of the backfield, he is the first player in Bulldog history to record over 2,500 rushing yards and over 1,000 yards receiving in a career. The All-MWC member is arguably the best running back in the country.
12/15/18 – In Herm Edwards' first Bowl Game as HC, the Sun Devils (7-6) couldn't stop in #21 Fresno State (12-2) RB Ronnie Rivers who finished w/24-212-2, and #ASU couldn't come back late, falling 31-20 in the LV Bowl. Benjamin: 23-118-1. Wilkins: 19-31-129, 2INT, 1TD. #ForksUp pic.twitter.com/5qoEOwDtlv
— Arizona Sports History (@AZSportsHistory) December 15, 2021
Jalen Cropper, WR, Fresno State Bulldogs (6-0, 170 pounds)
It looks like Jalen Cropper is going to play in this game, but this is a name to monitor in regard to the transfer portal. Cropper has early round potential with elite speed to be a deep threat and the explosion to be used as a gadget athlete in the run game. The All-MWC representative may be playing for a larger school next fall.
My top 10 10. Habakkuk Baldonado 9. Riley Moss 8. Jalen Cropper 7. Jordan Addison Isaiah Land 6. Eric Barriere 5. Bailey Zappe 4. Gerrit Prince 3. Jalen Tolbert 2. Justin Rice 1. Tristan Nichols https://t.co/k1PcaUfVp8
— Bill Carroll (@elevenbravo138) October 20, 2021
Dontae Bull, OT, Fresno State Bulldogs (6-7, 330 pounds)
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports
With a name like that, what’s not to like? Dontae Bull is one half of the most dominant bookend tackles in the country and the duo is one of the biggest reasons for Fresno State’s offensive success.
DeBoer confirms Dontae Bull is back as Fresno State's starting LT. He is weighing in at 335 pounds. DeBoer says he is 'healthier than ever … and ready to take that next step.'
— Jackson Moore (@JacksonMoore247) October 19, 2020