2014 New Mexico Bowl final score: 3 things we learned from Utah State’s 21-6 win
The Aggies ease to a third straight bowl victory.
Three years, three straight bowl wins for Utah State. Head coach Matt Wells has picked up right where Gary Andersen left off, as the Aggies beat UTEP 21-6 Saturday afternoon in the New Mexico Bowl.
Late in the first quarter, Jameill Showers connected with Ian Hamilton on a 53-yard pass, setting up a field goal that allowed UTEP to take the lead. It was by far the most successful play in the first half for the Miners — their second-longest play was Aaron Jones’ 11-yard run.
Just over a minute later, Kent Myers’ 48-yard touchdown gave Utah State the 7-3 lead. Myers is the Aggies’ fourth starting quarterback this season, after injuries took down the first three. Utah State scored again early in the third quarter when linebacker Nick Vigil ran it in from three yards out for the score. Joe Hill’s 11-yard touchdown with 93 seconds left put the game out of reach for the Aggies.
Three things we learned
1. Enjoy Matt Wells while you have him, Utah State. Even with nine starters lost to injury (including three at the quarterback position), Wells has managed to keep up unprecedented success for the program. With the win, Wells has a Utah State record 19 wins in his first two seasons. It’s also the Aggies’ second 10-win season in program history, following Gary Andersen’s 11-2 mark in 2012. Wells has been mentioned as a potential candidate in a variety of major coaching searches, and if he keeps this up he’ll get his shot sooner rather than later.
2. The Aggies should be one of the favorites in the Mountain West next season. It clearly doesn’t matter who’s under center for Matt Wells and the Aggies, so that’s not an issue. Utah State returns eight starters on offense, including four on their offensive line. The Aggies bring just five starters back on defense, but that includes young linebacking star Nick Vigil (he of the rushing touchdown Saturday). Utah State’s defenses have been consistently excellent for nearly a half-decade now, and there’s no reason to think it won’t stay that way next year.
3. UTEP appears to be headed in the right direction. The Miners haven’t won a bowl game since 1967. While that didn’t change Saturday, Sean Kugler’s squad saw massive improvement from last year’s 2-10 mark. They’re hit pretty hard by graduation, losing five starters on offense and six on defense, and if UTEP can make another bowl game in 2015, that postseason win may not be too far off in the future.