The UTEP football team ended its spring season under first year head coach Sean Kugler before a crowd of 2,581, the largest attendance since the 2004 campaign.
UTEP's head coach held his final weekly press gathering on Monday, reflecting on the Southern Miss win before announcing his retirement.
UTEP (2-8) plays its final road game of the season on Saturday against 0-10 Southern Miss.
UTEP wraps up the non-conference portion of its 2012 schedule at Big Ten power Wisconsin.
UTEP plays its first road game of the season when it takes on Ole Miss in Oxford on Saturday.
Photo Gallery by Michael Patrick Reese
Miners 41 Aggies 28. Photos by IPA
Photos by IPA
Photos by Ivan Pierre Aguirre
2012 (JUNIOR): Played in all 12 games, making seven starts ... recorded a total of 58 tackles to rank fifth on the team ... of his 58 stops, 22 were of the solo variety ... forced two fumbles, one at Ole Miss and the other against Rice ... blocked a field goal against UCF ... recovered a fumble at Tulsa ... registered three pass break-ups and a trio of quarterback hurries on the year ... keyed defensive efforts by tallying a career-high 11 tackles in the win versus I-10 rival NM State ... poured in 15 tackles over the final two games, including nine against Rice in the finale ... also posted his first career sack in the contest versus the Owls ... recorded at least three solo tackles in four tilts.
2011: Redshirted ... chosen the Miners' defensive scout team MVP.
PRIOR TO UTEP: Helped Los Angeles Harbor College to the Central West Conference championship in 2010 ... posted 47 tackles, five tackles for losses, two sacks and two pass break-ups in nine games, garnering second team All-West Conference honors ... recorded 54 stops, including seven for losses, in 2009 while adding a sack, five pass break-ups and three fumble recoveries ... two-time first team All-Marine League honoree at Carson (Calif.) High School ... second team All-City and All-Area accolades in 2008 ... voted his squad's defensive rookie of the year in 2007 ... earned three football letters while also lettering once in volleyball.
PERSONAL: Full name is Apelu Ropati, Jr., but goes by A.J. ... has one brother and one sister ... son of Apelu Ropati, Sr., and Naomi Ropati ... born 5/8/91 (Torrance, Calif.) ... Multidisciplinary Studies major.