New Mexico Bowl
North Texas (9-3) vs Utah State (10-2)
Date/Time: Saturday, December 15th at 1 pm CT
Location: Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, NM
Conference tie-ins: Mountain West, Conference USA
Last year’s result: Marshall defeated Colorado State 31-28
North Texas bowl history
North Texas is 2-7 all-time in bowl games including a 50-30 loss to Troy in last season’s New Orleans Bowl.
Their two bowl wins came in 2013 against UNLV and in 2002 versus Cincinnati.
This is the third consecutive bowl appearance for the Mean Green. They made four straight from 2001-2004 when they won four Sun Belt titles in a row.
Utah State bowl history
Utah State is 4-7 all-time in bowl games including a 26-20 overtime loss to New Mexico State in last season’s Arizona Bowl.
This is the seventh bowl appearance in the last eight seasons for the Aggies. Prior to 2011, their last bowl appearance was in 1997, which was only the sixth in their history.
The last bowl victory for Utah State came in the 2014 New Mexico Bowl against UTEP.
Utah State leads the series 4-3, however, North Texas claimed the last two matchups between the two. Those games came in 2003 and 2004 as Sun Belt Conference foes.
Key player to watch for each team
North Texas: Quarterback – Mason Fine
Utah State: Linebacker – David Woodward
The Mean Green bring the 15th ranked offense into this matchup. Mason Fine is one of the most underrated quarterbacks in the country. This season, he has passed for 3,734 yards along with 27 touchdowns and only five interceptions. North Texas has an athletic receiving corps led by Rico Bussey, Jalen Guyton along with Jaelon Darden. Their defensive star is E.J Ejiya who is a senior linebacker from Minnesota. He has accumulated 113 tackles with 23 tackles for loss, nine sacks, as well as 11 quarterback hurries. The North Texas defense is not awful, ranking 42nd nationally. They are particularly good against the run, however, they struggle some against the pass. Additionally, they rank 18th in tackles for loss, so they can make plays in the backfield.
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The Aggies surprisingly rank 11th in the nation in total offense. They are led by sophomore quarterback Jordan Love who had a phenomenal season. Love passed for 3,208 yards along with 28 touchdowns and only five interceptions. He also rushed for six touchdowns. Utah State possesses a middle of the road defense which struggles mostly come against the pass. In fact, they rank just 83rd in the nation in that category. Certainly, that is not good when facing a quarterback like Mason Fine from North Texas. Additionally, Utah State has the sixth best turnover margin in the country and are also tied for 22nd in tackles for loss
Expect a lot of points in this one considering these are two top 15 offenses going against two mediocre defenses. Also, keep in mind that these are two of the most productive quarterbacks in college football facing each other.
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