The 97 year-old series between the UTEP Miners and the NMSU Aggies has had many exciting finishes in its storied history. Although UTEP holds the series lead at 52–35–2, largely due to dominance in the series from the 1920s to the 1960s, UTEP's advantage is just 22–19 since 1969.
The winner of the annual matchup receives a pair of traveling trophies. The older of the two is known as the Silver Spade. It is a replica of an old prospector's shovel found in an abandoned mine in the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces and has been traded between the schools since 1955. A second trophy, officially titled the Mayor's Cup but commonly nicknamed the Brass Spittoon, was added in 1982.
Due to the close proximity of the campuses it was natural for a rivalry to develop. The Texas College of Mines played its first ever game against a collegiate opponent versus New Mexico A&M in 1914 and, with few exceptions, including during World War I and World War II, the teams would meet again every year. Following World War II the series resumed on an annual basis from 1946 until 2001, when UTEP's administration made the controversial decision to cancel their scheduled trip to Las Cruces in favor of scheduling an additional home contest against a Division I-AA opponent. The schools agreed to meet again in 2002 (a 49–14 NMSU win, their biggest blowout of the Miners since 1922), but did not play again until 2004 in El Paso when the Miners exacted revenge for their blowout loss two years prior with a 45–0 pasting of the Aggies, the most lopsided result in the series in 55 years. The blowout marked the beginning of a three game winning streak for UTEP in the rivalry. The tide of the series then seemingly turned back in the Aggies' favor, as NMSU defeated UTEP the next two years, their first back-to-back wins over UTEP since 1994 and 1995. The Aggies edged the Miners 34–33 on September 20, 2008 at the Sun Bowl for their first win in El Paso since 1994. However the most recent three games in the series have gone back to the Miners, with UTEP defeating NMSU at Aggie Memorial Stadium 38–12 on September 19, 2009 (only their second win in the Mesilla Valley since 1991), topping the Aggies 42–10 at the Sun Bowl on September 18, 2010, and again defeating the Aggies 16–10 on September 17, 2011 in Las Cruces for their first back-to-back road wins in the series since winning four straight games in Las Cruces between 1986 and 1991.
As of 2011, the home team has won 54 of 89 times (.607 winning percentage).
From 1920 to 1951 UTEP hosted 22 of 28 games.
Before 1927 NMSU dominated the first 10 games with a record of 8–1–1.
From 1927 to 1967 UTEP dominated the series with a record of 29–7–1.
NMSU's back-to-back victories in 1960–1961 were its first since 1937–1938.
As of 2011, UTEP has won on the road 17 times, while NMSU has won on the road 16 times.
There have been 2 ties in the series, once in El Paso in 1925 and once in Las Cruces in 1952.
UTEP has played host to 52 games in the series. UTEP has won the game 52 times.
NMSU has played host to 37 games in the series. NMSU has won the game 35 times.
The September 26, 1998 game at Aggie Memorial Stadium set the all-time attendance record for any football game at the stadium with 32,993 in attendance.
The September 25, 1999 game at Sun Bowl Stadium set a new attendance record for that stadium with 52,247 which surpasses all Sun Bowl games and NFL Exhibition games ever played there. However, since then 2 regular session UTEP games have surpassed that attendance.
The two most lopsided victories in the rivalry occurred in 1922 and 1948.
NMSU victories are shaded in ██ crimson. UTEP victories are shaded in ██ orange.
Note: UTEP was known as the Texas School of Mines and Metallurgy prior to 1949 and Texas Western College from 1949–1967, and NMSU was known as New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts prior to 1960. Both schools are listed under their modern abbreviations for all games.
The NMSU and UTEP men's basketball programs share remarkably similar histories and have played an extremely competitive series of games against one another. The programs both experienced their greatest national prominence in the late 1960s and early 1970s, when both schools were led by young up-and-coming coaches who would eventually win more than 700 games (Don Haskins at UTEP, Lou Henson at NMSU) and appeared in the NCAA Tournament's Final Four within four years of each other. UTEP (then still known as Texas Western) won the 1966 national title while NMSU advanced to the 1970 national semifinal before falling to UCLA, but won the consolation game to finish the season third in the nation. Both programs returned to national prominence in the early 1990s with the Aggies and Miners both advancing to the NCAA Tournament's "Sweet Sixteen" in 1992. NMSU has appeared in the NCAA Tournament 18 times to UTEP's 17 appearances, and NMSU has advanced to the Sweet Sixteen five times to UTEP's four (although three of NMSU's appearances in the early 1990s, including the 1992 Sweet Sixteen run, have since been vacated by the NCAA due to rules violations). Most recently, both schools won conference titles and advanced to the NCAA tournament in 2010.
There is some discrepancy between the two schools on the all-time series record as well as the number of all-time meetings between the schools. Entering the 2011–12 season NMSU records show that the schools have met 200 times, with NMSU holding a 102–98 all time advantage, while UTEP records show 201 meetings with NMSU's advantage at 101–100. Uniquely among non-conference rivalries, the schools traditionally play a two game home-and-home series each season, unlike most other non-conference rivalry series where a single meeting per season is the norm. UTEP swept the 2010–11 series between the schools, winning 73–56 on November 23, 2010 in El Paso and 74–72 on November 30, 2010 in Las Cruces. The Aggies defeated the Miners 89–73 in the first meeting of the 2011–12 season series on November 19, 2011 at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces. And later in the second meeting of 2011–12 basketball season the Miners defeated the Aggies 73–69 on December 11, 2011 at the Don Haskins Center in El Paso, TX to split the season series.