BYU will make its 29th bowl appearance vs. UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl.
Game 13: BYU Cougars vs. UTEP Miners
BYU will play UTEP at noon MT on Saturday, Dec. 18, in the New Mexico Bowl. The game will be broadcast live from University Stadium on ESPN and ESPN HD and KSL Radio 1160 AM and 102.7 FM.
BYU (6-6, 5-3 MWC) vs. UTEP (6-6, 3-5 C-USA)
Dec. 18, 2010
Albuquerque, New Mexico
THE BYU-UTEP SERIES
The New Mexico Bowl is a new twist on an old matchup between former Western Athletic Conference foes BYU and UTEP. Despite playing against each other consistently from the early 1960s to the late 1990s, the Cougars and Miners are meeting up for the first time in 12 years at the home of another former WAC opponent, New Mexico, the two teams’ first meeting ever at a neutral site. BYU has traditionally dominated the series, including wins in 20 of the last 22 games.
WHAT TO WATCH FOR
- BYU is making its sixth-straight bowl appearance, all under head coach Bronco Mendenhall. The Cougars are 3-2 during that span, and have won three of their last four, including a 44-20 win over No. 16 Oregon State last year in the Maaco Bowl Las Vegas.
- BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall is the first BYU head coach to lead his team to a bowl game each of his first six seasons.
- BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall returns to University Stadium where he coached from 1998-02 at the University of New Mexico as the defensive coordinator.
- The New Mexico Bowl marks the first time BYU and UTEP have played at a neutral site. The Cougars are 14-2 in Provo and 14-5-1 in El Paso overall.
- BYU quarterback Jake Heaps is the first freshman ever to start a bowl game for the Cougars in program history. The true freshman has had the best freshman quarterback season in BYU history, holding school freshman records in passing yards, pass attempts, pass completions, games started and games won. Heaps is also just three touchdown passes away from breaking Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer’s school freshman record of 13 touchdown throws.
BYU VS. UTEP BOWL FACTS
- BYU’s bowl date of Dec. 18 this year is tied for the second earliest the Cougars have ever played in a bowl game. The earliest date was the Holiday Bowl in 1982 when BYU played Ohio State on Dec. 17. BYU competed in the 1976 Tangerine Bowl and the 1981 Holiday Bowl also on Dec. 18.
- UTEP is the second team from Texas that BYU has played in a bowl game. BYU competed against Texas A&M in the 1990 Holiday Bowl. BYU has also competed once in a Texas-based bowl game, facing Kansas State in the 1996 Cotton Bowl game held in Dallas. UTEP is the third Conference USA opponent the Cougars have played in a bowl game. BYU is 0-2 all-time against C-USA bowl opponents, losing 41-27 to Tulane in the 1998 Liberty Bowl and 28-10 in the 2001 Liberty Bowl to Louisville (now in the Big East). BYU is 1-1 against current C-USA membership, including a win over SMU when the Mustangs were a member of the Southwest Conference in 1980, winning 46-45 in the now-classic “Miracle Bowl.”
- Meeting for the 37th time, BYU and UTEP are playing each other at a neutral site for the first time. The New Mexico Bowl host school, the University of New Mexico, was also in the Western Athletic Conference with BYU and UTEP when all three schools were together from 1967 when UTEP joined the conference until 1999 when BYU and New Mexico left the league to help form the Mountain West Conference.
- New Mexico is also the only common opponent between the two schools this year, with UTEP defeating the Lobos, 38-20, in Albuquerque on Oct. 2, while BYU secured a 40-7 win over New Mexico in Provo on Nov. 20.
- The New Mexico Bowl is BYU’s 29th bowl appearance and sixth-straight bowl game. UTEP is playing in its 13th bowl game and its first since 2005.
- UTEP quarterback Trevor Vittatoe will look to throw one more passing touchdown to jump former BYU quarterback Max Hall for 18th all-time in NCAA history.
Only USC (48), UCLA (30) and Washington (30) have more bowl appearances than BYU (29) among teams west of Texas. BYU’s 29 bowl appearances is ninth among teams west of the Mississippi River (includes 2010 bowl season):
1. Texas 49
2. USC 48
3. Nebraska 47
4. Oklahoma 44
5. Texas Tech 34
6. Texas A&M 32
7. UCLA 30
9. BYU 29
10. Colorado 28
BYU VS. CONFERENCE USA
Since 1980, BYU is 26-6 (.813) against current C-USA teams, having played Marshall, SMU, Tulsa, UTEP, Rice and Tulane. The Cougars’ most recent game against a C-USA team was in 2009 when they traveled to Tulane and defeated the Green Wave, 54-3. BYU has an 0-2 bowl record against C-USA teams, including a 21-3 loss to quarterback Chad Pennington and No. 11 Marshall in the Motor City Bowl in 1999 and a 41-27 defeat to quarterback Shawn King and No. 10 Tulane in 1998 at the Liberty Bowl.
MULTIPLE COUGARS NAMED ALL-MWC
COLORADO Springs, Colo. (Nov. 30, 2010) - BYU senior safety Andrew Rich, senior defensive lineman Vic So’oto and junior offensive lineman Matt Reynolds were named All-Mountain West Conference First Team and junior running back JJ Di Luigi was named All-MWC Second Team as announced by the conference on Tuesday.
In addition, seven BYU players received All-MWC honorable mention. Senior wide receiver Luke Ashworth, senior kicker Mitch Payne, senior linebacker Shane Hunter and senior defensive back Brian Logan joined offensive linemen Jason Speredon, Terence Brown and Braden Hansen in receiving recognition.
“Our players honored are all very deserving,” said BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. “This recognition highlights their strong contributions to our football team.”
The first-team recognition is the second straight for Reynolds, an anchor at left tackle who started every game of his career for the Cougars, and has received top grades every game while giving up just one sack this season. Among
offensive first-teamers, Reynolds is one of four repeat selections and the only junior on the squad.
Joining Reynolds as a two-year honoree is fellow team captain Rich, a second-team All-MWC selection last season. The senior safety leads BYU in tackles, solo tackles, assisted tackles, interceptions, forced fumbles, fumble recoveries and pass breakups.
Also on the defensive first team, So’oto earned his first all-conference award of his career. So’oto is first on the team and third in the conference in solo tackles-for-loss while also leading BYU in sacks and quarterback hurries.
Di Luigi, the Cougars’ lone second-team selection and a first-year conference honoree, is second among all MWC players in receiving and rushing yards combined and was third in the conference in rushing yards per game and all-purpose yards per game.
BYU scored at least 14 points in the first quarter in four-straight games this season, the first time the Cougars have done so in in program history. BYU has scored 14 in the first quarter six times this season overall, the most since 1983. BYU also scored 14 in the first quarter six times in 1981 and 1980 and did so a record seven times in 1977. BYU has outscored its opponents 104-44 in the first quarter on the year.
For the complete New Mexico Bowl, BYU vs. UTEP game notes, see the attached PDF file.