Twenty-five past and present Miners will earn their diplomas on Saturday, increasing the total for the 2011 calendar year to 63.
With a win on Friday at UCF, UTEP would secure bowl eligibility in back-to-back years for the first time since 2004-05.
Joe Banyard rushed 20 times for 91 yards and a touchdown for the Miners (5-6, 2-5).
UTEP (5-5, 2-4 C-USA) closes out its 2011 home slate against Tulsa (7-3, 6-0 C-USA) on Saturday in the Sun Bowl. Kickoff is slated for 1 p.m. (mountain). The game will be nationally televised on CBS Sports Network.
Special ticket prices are available when the Miners take on the red-hot Golden Hurricane, winners of six consecutive games.
2010 (JUNIOR): Played in four games, throwing two passes ... had a two-yard completion against his former school New Mexico ... rushed once for seven yards versus NM State ... named to the C-USA Commissioner's Honor Roll for posting a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
PRIOR TO UTEP: Transferred from New Mexico and has two years of eligibility with the Miners ... walked on at New Mexico in the spring of 2008 and played in four games off the bench for the Lobos that season ... completed 7-of-21 passes for 82 yards (2 INTs) while rushing 18 times for 25 yards ... saw his most extensive action against eighth-ranked BYU, when he was in for 17 plays and completed 5-of-10 passes for 60 yards with a pick ... led the Lobos 80 yards in six plays, down to the BYU 19, in the closing minutes before taking three sacks ... played briefly at Cisco Junior College in the fall of 2007 ... All-District, All-Region and All-Area honoree, as well as the team's Offensive MVP, as a senior at Odessa Permian High School ... led the Panthers to their first playoff appearance since 1998 ... left as Permian's career passing leader with 3,214 yards, including 2,375 as a senior ... coached by Darren Allman in high school.
PERSONAL: Parents are Kelton and Janis Smith ... has one brother ... cousins Stoney Case and Stormy Case, both quarterbacks as well, played at New Mexico and Texas A&M, respectively ... Stoney Case was the 1994 WAC Player of the Year ... born 6/25/89 (Odessa, Texas) ... Multidisciplinary Studies major.