NEW MEXICO BOWL POSTGAME NOTES - BYU vs. UTEP

(Photo by Mark Philbrick/BYU Photo)

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Game notes from BYU's 52-24 win over UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, Dec. 18, at University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M.

All-Time Scoring Leader

With 9 points on seven PATs and one field goal, BYU senior kick Mitch Payne finishes his career with 334 points, breaking the previous BYU all-time career scoring record previously held by Owen Pochman with 333 career points.

Rich Ends Career On Top

Playing in his final game at BYU, senior safety Andrew Rich led BYU with four tackles (all solo) adding one sack and tackle-for-loss, two interceptions for 43 total yards and one pass breakup. Rich’s sack was his first of the year and second of his career while his two interceptions tie a career and season high. Rich's 110 tackles on the year are the third-most by a BYU player in the last 20 years.

The Future Looks Bright

BYU’s freshmen shined in the Cougars’ win over UTEP. True freshman quarterback Jake Heaps threw 25-of-34 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns. Heaps became the first freshman to start for BYU at quarterback in a bowl game and thus the first freshman to start in a BYU bowl win. Heaps also broke Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer’s record of 13 touchdown passes by a BYU freshman with 15 on the year.

Another true freshman, running back Joshua Quezada, ran for 101 yards on 15 carries and one touchdown. Redshirt freshman wide receiver Cody Hoffman set new career highs across the board with eight receptions, 137 yards and three touchdowns.

Keeping the Heat On

BYU has scored in 22-straight quarters dating back to the second quarter of the Cougars’ game against Wyoming. BYU has outscored its opponents 221-68 during that time.

Deny the Run

UTEP rushed for minus-26 yards in the first quarter. In its previous seven games before today, the BYU defense held its opponents to first-quarter totals of minus-10 (SDSU), 20 (TCU), minus-31(Wyoming), zero (UNLV), 8 (Colorado St.), 30 yards (New Mexico) and 8 yards (Utah) rushing, respectively. All totaled, that’s minus-1 yards rushing for BYU opponents in the last eight games during the opening quarter.

First Half Shutout Streak

UTEP’s 53-yard field goal late in the first quarter were the first points scored by a BYU opponent in the first half since the Wyoming game on Oct. 23, a streak of four-straight games. BYU scored 106 unanswered first-half points until the field goal.

Out of the Gate

With a 4-yard touchdown run by junior Bryan Kariya, BYU has scored first in its last six games. The TD was Kariya’s sixth rushing touchdown of the year and was a set up by a career-high and team season-high punt return of 43 yards by freshman JD Falslev.

Bowl Rush Records

BYU rushed 50 times for 219 yards, both program bowl records. BYU rushed 43 times in the 1986 Freedom Bowl and had a previous program-high 173 yards rushing in the 2006 Las Vegas Bowl.

Bronco in Bowls

BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall is 4-2 in bowl games coached, including two straight. It’s the fifth time BYU has won back-to-back bowl games and the second time under Mendenhall.

Flag Bearers

Today, former BYU running back and kick returner Stacy Corley (1987-90), a native of Grants, N.M., carried out the alumni flag. Corley scored 17 touchdowns in three years, adding 821 career rushing yards. Carrying the team flag was senior linebacker AJ Van Valkenburg. Van Valkenburg totaled two tackles this season.

New BYU Bowl Records

Team

- Most Points: 52

- Rushing Attempts: 50

- Rushing Yards: 219

Individual

- Most PATs Made: 7, Mitch Payne

- Most PATs Attempted: 7, Mitch Payne

- Most Touchdown Passes: 4, Jake Heaps (tied)

- Best Completions Percentage: 73.5%, Jake Heaps (25/34)

- Most Touchdown Receptions: 3, Cody Hoffman (tied)

- Most Interceptions: 2, Andrew Rich (tied)

- Longest Punt: 60, Riley Stephenson (tied own record set in 2009 Las Vegas Bowl)

- Best Punting Average: 53.3, Riley Stephenson (3 punts, 160 yards)

New New Mexico Bowl Records

Team

- Most Points in a Game: 52

- Most Points, Both Teams: 76

- Largest Margin of Victory: 28

- Most Points in a Half: 31

- Touchdowns: 6

- Fewest Rushing Yards Allowed: -12

- Rushing Attempts: 50 (tied)

- Passing Touchdowns: 4

- Passing Completions: 26

- Most Plays: 86

- Most Possession Time: 38:16

- Most First Downs: 28

- Most Passing First Downs: 18

- Third-Down Conversions: 9 (tied)

- Red Zone Scores: 5

- Red Zone Touchdowns: 4 (tied)

- Red Zone Chances: 5 (tied)

- Red Zone Conversion %: 5 (tied)

- Kickoffs: 9

- Punting Average: 53.3

- Punt Return Average: 21.0

- Tackles-for-loss: 9 (tied)

- Tackles-for-loss yards: 69

- Sacks: 4

- Sack Yardage: 58

- Most Interceptions: 3

Individual

- Most Points: 18, Cody Hoffman (3 TDs)

- Most Receiving Touchdowns: 3, Cody Hoffman

- Most Touchdowns: 3, Cody Hoffman

- Most Receptions: 8, Cody Hoffman (tied)

- Most Receiving Yards: 137, Cody Hoffman

- Most Passing Touchdowns: 4, Jake Heaps

- Most Pass Completions: 25, Jake Heaps

- Most Interceptions: 2, Andrew Rich

- Most Interception Yards: 43, Andrew Rich (tied)

- Best Punting Average: 53.3, Riley Stephenson (3 punts, 160 yards)

- Long Punt Return: 43, JD Falslev

- Punt Return Average: 21.0, JD Falslev

- Kick Returns: 5, Cody Hoffman

- Kick Return Yards: 125, Cody Hoffman (tied)

- Tackle-for-loss Yards: 19, Vic So’oto

- Most PATs Made: 7, Mitch Payne