North Texas headed to New Mexico Bowl to take on Utah State

North Texas headed to New Mexico Bowl to take on Utah State

North Texas headed to New Mexico Bowl to take on Utah State
December 02
17:20 2018

The Mean Green will be heading to Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, NM, on Dec. 15 to face the Utah State Aggies. Kickoff is scheduled for 1 p.m. CST and will be broadcast on ESPN and the ESPN app.

“We are excited to be playing in the New Mexico Bowl against a very good opponent in Utah State,” head coach Seth Littrell said. “Albuquerque is an easy travel destination for our fans and alumni, and I know this team is excited to play in front of a national audience on ESPN in the very first bowl game of the season. It will be a tremendous challenge, but we are excited to get to work.”

This is the third year in a row the Mean Green will be participating in postseason football under head coach Seth Littrell, and the first time North Texas has played in three consecutive bowl games since 2002-2004.

“[We’re] excited to be in a bowl game for the [third] consecutive year,” said Wren Baker, vice president and athletic director, in a tweet Sunday afternoon. “Our team will get a chance to beat a top 25 team in Utah State.”

North Texas has not won a bowl game since the 2014 Heart of Dallas Bowl when the Mean Green defeated the Nevada-Las Vegas Rebels 36-14 under former head coach Dan McCarney.

This will be the eight time the two programs have met, with Utah State holding a 4-3 series lead.

North Texas is riding a two-game win streak heading into the matchup with Utah State and finished the year with an overall record of 9-3 (5-3 Conference USA) with notable wins over Arkansas, Liberty and Southern Mississippi.

The Mean Green are led by quarterback Mason Fine who has thrown for 3,734 yards and 27 touchdowns this season and a defense who averages giving up 21 points per game.

The Aggies are coming into the game ranked No. 23 in the Amway Coaches Poll after losing their last game of the season to Mountain West Conference runner-up Boise State. However, Utah State still managed to finish with an overall record of 10-2 (7-1 MWC), with their other loss coming at the hands of Michigan State.

Much like North Texas, Utah State has not won a bowl game since 2014 when they defeated Texas-El Paso in the New Mexico Bowl by a score of 21-6.

The Aggies are ranked No. 1 in three different statistical categories throughout all of FBS Division 1 College Football. Utah State leads the nation in interceptions (18), kickoff return yards (29.7 yards per return) and scoring drives under one minute (24).

Things to look at:

  1. The absence of Utah State head coach Matt Wells who recently accepted the head coaching job at Texas Tech. Assistant coach Frank Maile was named as the interim head coach for the bowl game against North Texas.
  2. Littrell is also being mentioned to fill several head coaching vacancies throughout the nation. There have been several reports saying Kansas State is targeting Littrell as a potential replacement for head football coach Bill Snyder who announced his retirement Sunday.
  3. Both teams are vying for their first bowl win since 2014, and North Texas is looking to win 10 games for the first time since 1977 when the Mean Green went 10-1 under head coach Hayden Fry.
  4. The defensive back units are both ranked in the top 10 when it comes to interceptions, and both teams have combined for 35 interceptions.
  5. DeAndre Torrey has a chance to eclipse 1,000 yards rushing even though he has only been the starter since Week 6. Torrey currently has 942 yards of rushing.

Featured Image: North Texas junior Mason Fine looks to pass the ball in a game against Southern Methodist University. Sara Carpetner

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Bronte Hermesmeyer

Bronte Hermesmeyer

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