Preview: Utah State at Texas El Paso

When: 2:20 PM ET, Saturday, December 20, 2014
Where: University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico


GILDAN NEW MEXICO BOWL STORYLINES

1. Utah State lost nine starters to season-ending injuries - three quarterbacks - en route to making its fourth consecutive bowl appearance for the first time in its history at the New Mexico Bowl against UTEP in Albuquerque. The Aggies go for their third straight bowl victory after beating Toledo in the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl in 2012 and Northern Illinois in last year’s Poinsettia Bowl. Freshman quarterback Kent Myers threw five touchdown passes and ran for four scores in the last six games for Utah State.

2. UTEP won two games last season and went 5-2 in its last seven in 2014 to reach its first bowl game in four years since the 2010 New Mexico Bowl when it lost 52-24 to BYU. The Miners have dropped their last five bowl games since winning the 1967 Sun Bowl 14-7 over Ole Miss. UTEP averaged 30 points in the final seven games of the regular season after being held to three by Louisiana Tech on Oct. 4 and finished tied for second in Conference USA’s West Division.

3. The key matchup will likely be Utah State’s solid defense against a UTEP rushing attack that is led by Aaron Jones, who produced 14 total touchdowns this season. The Mountain West Defensive Player of the Year, linebacker Zach Vigil leads the way with 145 tackles (19.5 for loss) and nine sacks for the Aggies, who allowed 129.3 rushing yards per contest to stand 26th in the nation and 20.8 points (21st). Jones, a sophomore, has rushed for 1,233 yards and UTEP has totaled 2.552 – fifth most in the program history.

TV: 2:20 p.m. ET, ESPN. LINE: Utah State -10

ABOUT UTAH STATE (9-4, 6-2 Mountain West): Senior Chuckie Keeton was lost in the third game before fellow quarterbacks Darell Garretson and Craig Harrison went down with injuries while Myers completed 69.2 percent of his passes since with only two interceptions. Hunter Sharp boasts 63 receptions, 918 yards and seven touchdowns to lead the Aggies, although he was limited to a total of 48 yards the last three contests. JoJo Natson has combined for 915 yards rushing and receiving while scoring on two punt returns for Utah State, which saw its five-game win streak end with a 50-19 loss to Boise State on Nov. 29.

ABOUT UTEP (7-5, 5-3 Conference USA): Jones has recorded six 100-yard rushing performances this season, including two in the last three games and nine in 20 career contests. Senior Jameill Showers has thrown for 1,732 yards and 12 touchdowns with five interceptions – one during the final seven games of the regular season – and rushed for 288 and four scores, including a winning TD a 24-21 victory over Middle Tennessee on Nov. 29. The Miners have allowed only 11 sacks, tied for the fifth least in the country, and will get severely tested by a Utah State defense which has gotten to the quarterback 48 times.

PREDICTION: Utah State 27, UTEP 21 

Stats and Records

Team Comparison

  W/L Strk PF PA Home Away Grass Turf Conf
Utah State 9-4 L1 27.4 20.8 6-0 3-4 1-1 1-0 6-2
Texas El Paso 7-5 W1 28.3 28.7 5-1 2-4 2-0 5-1 5-3

Last Meeting

Utah State Texas El Paso
Date Away Home Tot Rus Pas Tot Rus Pas
No Previous Meeting.

Player Stats

Previous Matchup
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
USU N/A
UTEP N/A
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
USU N/A
UTEP N/A
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
USU N/A
UTEP N/A
TDs Player TD
USU N/A
UTEP N/A
Season
Passing Player COMP% YDS TD INT
USU D. Garretson 67.4 1140 8 3
UTEP J. Showers 55.7 1732 12 5
Rushing Player CAR YDS AVG TD
USU L. Hunt 106 529 5.0 1
UTEP A. Jones 217 1236 5.7 11
Receiving Player REC YDS AVG TD
USU H. Sharp 63 918 14.6 7
UTEP I. Hamilton 23 500 21.7 2
TDs Player TD
USU J. Natson 7
UTEP A. Jones 14

Quickchart Matchup

Utah State Off vs  Texas El Paso Def
381.5 yards
372.8 yards
4.8 yards/rush
5.1 yards/rush
7.2 yards/attempt
7.8 yards/attempt
Texas El Paso Off vs  Utah State Def
359.5 yards
362.3 yards
4.9 yards/rush
3.3 yards/rush
6.6 yards/attempt
6.5 yards/attempt

Live Game Odds

Lines History | All Odds
Home over/under
OPEN
-110
11
-110
52
Offshore Odds
CarbonSports
-115
10.5
-110
44
Sportsbook
-115
10.5
-110
44
5Dimes.eu
-105
10
-107
44
GTBets.eu
-110
10
-110
44
Top Bet
-110
10.5
-110
45
BetOnline.ag
-105
10
-110
44.5
BetDSI
-115
10
-110
44.5
AllYouBet.ag OFF OFF
BetDNA.com
-114
10
-114
44.5
Belmont
-115
10.5
-110
44
BookMaker.eu
-115
10
-110
44.5
Vegas Odds
Westgate
-110
10
-110
46
Mirage
-110
10
-110
46.5
Station
-110
10.5
-110
46.5
Best home line Recent line moves

Matchup Stats - Full Matchup

Utah State Overall Texas El Paso
9-4-0 W/L 7-5-0
6-7-0 ATS 9-3-0
7-6-0 O/U 5-7-0
27.4 Pts For 28.3
20.8 Pts Against 28.7
Utah State A/H Texas El Paso
3-4 W/L 5-1
4-3-0 ATS 6-0-0
3-4-0 O/U 3-3-0
20.4 Pts For 34.0
23.1 Pts Against 23.5