2014 New Mexico Bowl schedule and coverage: UTEP vs. Utah State
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The Gildan New Mexico Bowl isn’t the most tradition-rich postseason game, but it has produced some exciting contests in recent years. In each of the last six games, the winning team has scored at least 35 points, and four of those matchups were decided by one possession. While it had been one of the few BCS mid-major bowls, that is no longer the case. The Pac-12 is no longer affiliated, and it will be Conference USA against the Mountain West Conference for the foreseeable future. UTEP will play Utah State in this year’s New Mexico Bowl, according to ESPN.
Date and time, ET: Saturday, Dec. 20, 2:20 p.m. ET
TV channel: ESPN
Location: Albuquerque, N.M.
Stadium: University Stadium; 39,224
Last year’s score: Colorado State 48, Washington State 45
Last year’s attendance: 27,104
Last year’s TV rating: 1.8
Last year’s payout for each school: $456,250
Team with the most all-time appearances: Colorado State, New Mexico, Wyoming, Fresno State, Nevada; 2
Team with the most all-time wins: Colorado State, 2
Utah State Aggies (9-4, 6-2 MWC)
Matt Wells has picked up right where Gary Andersen left off at Utah State, continuing to establish the Aggies as one of the best Group of 5 schools in the nation. Utah State ended BYU’s hopes of an undefeated season back in early October, also securing a very solid win over Air Force later in the campaign.
The Aggies have a defensive mentality, allowing just 20.8 points per game this season. They’re led by senior linebacker Zach Vigil, who has 145 tackles (19.5 for a loss), nine sacks, a fumble forced and an interception returned for a touchdown this season.
Last bowl game: 2013 Poinsettia Bowl, 21-14 win vs. Northern Illinois
All-time bowl record: 2-5
Head coach’s bowl record: Matt Wells, 1-0
UTEP Miners (7-5, 5-3 C-USA)
After a 2-10 debut season as UTEP’s head coach in 2013, Sean Kugler saw vast improvements to his squad this season. The Miners are bowling for the first time in four years, beating .500 teams Old Dominion and Middle Tennessee State on their way to the mark.
The Miners’ success is in large part a result of their strong running game. Aaron Jones (1,233 yards, 11 touchdowns) and Nathan Jeffery (513 yards, five touchdowns) made up one of the better rushing combos in the conference this season.
Last bowl game: 2010 New Mexico Bowl, 52-24 loss vs. BYU
All-time bowl record: 5-8
Head coach’s bowl record: Sean Kugler, 0-0