New Mexico Bowl @ Albuquerque, N.M.
BYU vs. UTEP
December 18, 11 am PT – ESPN
Expected to contend in C-USA, UTEP (6-6) limped to the finish, winning just one of its last six games. The main problem was the health and play of quarterback Trevor Vittatoe. Vittatoe threw 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions in UTEP’s six wins but five TDs and eight INTs in their six losses. For the first time in a long time BYU was forced to rebuild. The Cougars were hurt by graduation losses and instability at the quarterback position. They started 2-5 but got a favorable schedule down the stretch that propelled them to four straight wins. BYU snapped a five-year string of Las Vegas Bowl appearances. UTEP makes its first postseason showing since 2005.
Rob Veno’s Take:
(Power Rating: BYU -10.5) The Cougars figure to be a rare early bowl sizeable favorite that actually cares. The extra practice session should help head coach Bronco Mendenhall and his youthful, late season surging team prepare for next season. Underachieving UTEP is in a completely different position.
ACCU-STAT: True Rushing Numbers:
What the local media is saying: BYU is still upset
over its 17-16 loss to rival Utah in the season finale but says getting motivated for UTEP won't be a problem
. Despite the disappointing finish, UTEP seems pleased to be in the postseason
and playing a bowl close to home.