UTEP to face BYU in New Mexico Bowl
POSTED: Friday, December 3, 2010 - 5:44pm
UPDATED: Friday, December 3, 2010 - 8:10pm
The UTEP football team has accepted an invitation to the New Mexico Bowl. The Miners (6-6, 3-5 Conference USA) will take on former Western Athletic Conference rival BYU (6-6, 5-3 Mountain West Conference) on Saturday, Dec. 18 at noon MT. The game will be played at University Stadium in Albuquerque and will be nationally televised on ESPN and ESPNHD.
Tickets for the New Mexico Bowl are $30 each and are on sale now by calling the UTEP Season Ticket Office at (915) 747-6150.
“We’re excited about renewing our long-standing rivalry with BYU in the New Mexico Bowl,” UTEP coach Mike Price said. “It’s a great opportunity for our fans to drive down for the game, enjoy postseason play and take in the great city of Albuquerque.”
“We are all very happy that things worked out the way they did and UTEP is coming to the New Mexico Bowl,” said Jeff Siembieda, Executive Director of the New Mexico Bowl. “We are thrilled to have the Miners and their incredible fans as a part of this event. It just seems to be a natural. With the regional proximity, the great history UTEP athletics has in this area and being able to renew an old rivalry between the Miners and BYU, I’m really excited about this game.”
UTEP has been designated as the home team for the New Mexico Bowl. The Miners will be making their 13th bowl appearance all-time, and their first since 2005. UTEP has posted a 5-7 bowl record and is seeking its first postseason win since 1967.
The New Mexico Bowl, which kicks off the FBS postseason, ordinarily matches opponents from the Western Athletic and Mountain West conferences. UTEP becomes the first team from outside those conferences to participate in the game, which is in its fifth year. BYU is also making its first appearance in the New Mexico Bowl.
The Miners defeated C-USA West Division co-champion SMU, 28-14, on Nov. 6 in the Sun Bowl to secure bowl eligibility. UTEP is led by senior quarterback Trevor Vittatoe, the school record-holder for passing yards (12,194), passing touchdowns (94) and total offense (12,089 yards). Senior wide receiver Kris Adams ranks third in school history with 27 touchdown catches, and senior running back Donald Buckram established the school standard with 1,594 rushing yards in 2009. The Miner defense, vastly improved in 2010, has had four games where it held the opposition to less than 300 yards.
BYU enters the New Mexico Bowl having posted wins in four of its last five games. The Cougars rate in the top-50 nationally in pass defense (21st, 187.8 ypg), pass efficiency defense (33rd, 116.92), scoring defense (34th, 21.4 ppg), total defense (34th, 339 ypg), rushing offense (45th, 163.8 ypg) and sacks allowed (50th, 1.8 avg.).
The Miners and the Cougars have one common opponent this season. UTEP won at New Mexico, 38-20, on Oct. 2 and BYU knocked off the Lobos in Provo, 40-7, on Nov. 20.
UTEP and BYU will be facing one another on the gridiron for the first time since 1998. The Cougars hold a 28-7-1 lead in the all-time series ledger and have won 25 of the last 27 matchups between the schools.