College Football
Preview
New Mexico State vs Utah State
When: 5:30 PM ET, Friday, December 29, 2017
Where: Arizona Stadium, Tucson, Arizona



NOVA HOME LOANS ARIZONA BOWL STORYLINES

1. New Mexico State ended the nation's longest bowl drought when it accepted the bid to play Utah State in the Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29 at Arizona Stadium in Tucson, Ariz. The Aggies will be making their first bowl appearance since the 1960 Sun Bowl where they played, ironically, Utah State. New Mexico State, which is 2-0-1 all-time in bowl games, defeated Utah State 20-13 that year.

2. Last one out of Las Cruces turns out the lights. As one might imagine after such a long bowl drought, New Mexico State fans are fired up for the contest and quickly sold out their original required Sun Belt Conference allotment of 5,000 tickets. Las Cruces is just a four-hour drive down I-10 from Tucson and school officials expect around 10,000 fans to make the 275-mile trip which should give New Mexico State a pretty fair home field advantage.

3. Besides the 1960 Sun Bowl, New Mexico State and Utah State have a history, having played in the same conference for 26 years, the Big West (1985-2000) and the Western Athletic Conference (2001-2012). Utah State, which sweated out selection day because the Mountain West had just five contracted bowls for six bowl eligible spots, leads the all-time series 30-7 and will be making its sixth bowl appearance in seven years after missing out last season following a 3-9 finish. "When you get the call you're in, it's an extreme amount of joy and relief," Utah State coach Matt Wells said. "I'm excited for our players to go play another game, because they deserve it."
TV: 5:30 ET, CBS Sports Network. LINE: Utah State -4.

ABOUT NEW MEXICO STATE (6-6, 4-4 Sun Belt): Led by senior quarterback Tyler Rogers, who passed for 3,825 yards, 26 touchdowns and 16 interceptions, New Mexico ranks fourth among all FBS programs in passing offense (352.6 yards) with Rogers also ranking sixth nationally in total offense (348.1 yards). Jaleel Scott, a 6-6 wide receiver, was a first team all-conference pick after finishing with 73 receptions for 1,042 yards and eight touchdowns, while running back Larry Rose III was a second-team pick after rushing for 807 yards and nine TDs. The defense, which is tied for sixth with Texas A&M with 40 sacks, is led by a pair of first team All-Sun Belt performers in defensive end Cedric Wilcots II (8.5 sacks, three forced fumbles) and linebacker Dalton Herrington, who led the Sun Belt with 124 tackles, including 15 for loss, to go with 5.5 sacks.

ABOUT UTAH STATE (6-6, 4-4 Mountain West): The Aggies won three of their final five games to become bowl-eligible but come in off a 38-35 loss at Air Force to finish tied for fourth with the Falcons in the Mountain Division behind league champion Boise State, Wyoming and Colorado State. Freshman quarterback Jordan Love leads the offense and passed for 1,377 yards, eight touchdowns and six interceptions, while senior running back LaJuan Hunt rushed for a team-high 695 yards on 149 carries and scored 10 TDs. Senior cornerback Jalen Davis was a first-team all-conference selection after tying for the Mountain West lead with five interceptions, three of which he returned for touchdowns, while sophomore placekicker Dominik Eberle also earned first team all-league honors after connecting on 16-of-18 field goals, including a 52-yarder, and going 45-of-45 on extra-point tries.



PREDICTION: Utah State 30, New Mexico State 21
Stats and Records
Team Comparison
  W‑L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
New Mexico State 6-6 W2 29.6 30.5 3-2 3-4 2-1 3-3 4-4
Utah State 6-6 L1 31.0 27.0 3-3 3-3 1-1 0-0 4-4
Last Meeting
New Mexico State Utah State
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
10/20/12 NMSU 7 USU 41 321 132 189 516 256 260
Player Stats
Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
New Mexico State A. Manley 51.4 177 1 1
Utah State C. Keeton 61.5 257 2 0
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
New Mexico State G. Morrison 19 96 5.1 0
Utah State K. Williams 13 82 6.3 1
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
New Mexico State A. Franklin 8 84 10.5 1
Utah State C. Jacobs 4 94 23.5 1
Touchdowns Player TD
New Mexico State A. Franklin 1
Utah State C. Keeton 2
Season
Passing Player COMP % YDS TD INT
New Mexico State T. Rogers 62.3 3825 26 16
Utah State J. Love 54.5 1380 8 6
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
New Mexico State L. Rose III 170 792 4.7 9
Utah State L. Hunt 149 695 4.7 10
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
New Mexico State J. Scott 73 1042 14.3 8
Utah State R. Tarver 40 472 11.8 7
Touchdowns Player TD
New Mexico State L. Rose III 11
Utah State L. Hunt 11
Quickchart Matchup
New Mexico State New Mexico State Off vs  Utah State Utah State Def
New Mexico State 456.5 yards
Utah State 401.7 yards
New Mexico State 3.8 yards/rush
Utah State 4.4 yards/rush
New Mexico State 7.2 yards/attempt
Utah State 6.8 yards/attempt
Utah State Utah State Off vs  New Mexico State New Mexico State Def
Utah State 393.8 yards
New Mexico State 397.7 yards
Utah State 4.6 yards/rush
New Mexico State 4.2 yards/rush
Utah State 6.9 yards/attempt
New Mexico State 6.8 yards/attempt