Utah State 52, North Texas 13

Utah State walked into the New Mexico Bowl with one of its best records in school history yet surrounded by uncertainty. Its head coach, Matt Wells, left to take the Texas Tech job. Interim coach Frank Maile had to prepare the Aggies with an army of graduate assistants even though former head coach Gary Andersen would return. However, Andersen opted not to attend the bowl game. North Texas’ highly-touted QB Mason Fine was injured in the first quarter, and the Mean Green ended up using four quarterbacks.


Marshall 31, Colorado State 28

Leading up to the New Mexico Bowl, Marshall wide receiver Tyre Brady kept hearing about Colorado State’s explosive offense. Doubters were overlooking the Thundering Herd’s own weapons, he thought. So when Brady’s chance came in the second quarter, the junior separated himself from Rams coverages and sprinted to a 76-yard touchdown reception for the first of three big scoring plays that allowed Thundering Herd hold off the Rams 31-28. He was joined by Keion Davis, who rushed for 141 yards, including a 68-yard touchdown run . Tyler King added a 90-yard rushing touchdown for the Herd (8-5). Chase Litton threw for 262 yards and two touchdowns, overshadowing the much-hyped Colorado State quarterback Nick Stevens, who was sacked five times. The Thundering Herd are 11-2 in bowl games — 5-0 under Doc Holliday. For Colorado State (7-6), it was another disappointing postseason. The Rams have lost four straight bowl games, and lost four of their last five this season after a 6-2 start. Tyre Brady (RS-Jr., WR) was recognized as the offensive MVP and Channing Hames (RS-So., DT) garnered the defensive MVP awards.


 New Mexico 23, UTSA 20

New Mexico head coach Bob Davie earned his first career bowl victory when the Lobos, boosted by a pair of short touchdown runs from Richard McQuarley, beat UTSA, 23-20. Despite the hype around New Mexico’s triple-option threat and the Lobos leading the nation in rushing, the Roadrunners ran for more yards than the Lobos. Jarveon Williams ran for 125 yards for the Roadrunners, who lost in their first bowl appearance in the program’s six-year history. UNM quarterback Lamar Jordan was voted as the Most Outstanding Offensive Player by the media, leading the team in rushing (81 yards on 13 carries) and passing (3-4-0 for 77 yards). Linebacker Dakota Cox was named the Defensive MVP, tallying 10 tackles (6 solo), 1.5 tackles for loss (4 yards), and one breakup.


Arizona 45, New Mexico 37

It looked like another wild, come-back victory was going into the Gildan New Mexico Bowl record book. The New Mexico Lobos were working on a potential game-winning drive after trailing by 18 when the Arizona Wildcats thwarted it with an interception to secure the 45-37 win. The Wildcats’ Anu Solomon took home the Offensive MVP award, throwing two touchdowns and rushing for another. He and the UofA offense needed just 19:38 minutes of possession to win their second bowl game in Albuquerque. Scooby Wright, III garnered the Defensive MVP honors with a game-high 15 tackles, including 11 solo, and 2 sacks.


Utah State 21, UTEP 6

It wasn’t a last-second victory like previous years but Utah State still churned out an improbable tale as the Aggies garnered a 21-6 win against UTEP, at times with its fifth-string quarterback leading the offense. The Vigil brothers were the other key component in USU’s third straight bowl victory. Zach Vigil was named the Defensive MVP with game-high 11 tackles while younger brother, Nick, notched seven tackles and a touchdown. The Aggies had one of the top-ranked defenses in the nation. The Vigils, who combined for 553 career tackles to rank first at the FBS level among active brothers, helped hold UTEP to 149 rushing yards and no touchdowns.


Colorado State 48, Washington State 45

For the second straight year, the winning team has scored at least 10 points in the final minute to win the Gildan New Mexico Bowl. Colorado State trailed by 22 points (35-13) before coming back to beat Washington State 48-45 in the bowl season’s opening game. That’s tied for the 2nd-largest deficit overcome to win in a non-OT bowl game. The Rams got back in the game when Cougars running back Jeremiah Laufasa fumbled at the Cougars 33, setting up Kapri Bibbs’ 1-yard run score and Donnell Alexander’s two-point conversion run that tied it at 45 with 33 seconds left. Then, Washington State’s Teondray Caldwell fumbled a kickoff return at the 24, setting up Jared Roberts’ 41-yard field goal as time expired. The teams combined for 58 points in the 1st half, which is a Gildan New Mexico Bowl record. It is tied for the 9th-most combined points in a half in bowl history (since 1937).


Arizona 49, Nevada 48

Arizona’s Matt Scott rallied his team in the final 46 seconds, tossing two short touchdown passes for an improbable 49-48 win. The Wildcats recovered an onside kick in the last minute, setting up Scott’s 2-yard toss to Tyler Slavin with 19 seconds left for the winning score. Arizona trailed 21-0 in the first quarter and was down 45-28 entering the final period. Scott threw for 382 yards and marched his team back into the game despite those two earlier interceptions. The nation’s rushing leader, Ka’Deem Carey, gained 172 yards for the Wildcats. Arizona receiver Austin Hill caught eight passes for 175 yards and two touchdowns. The teams combined for 1,237 total yards. Stefphon Jefferson, the nation’s second-leading rusher, ran for 180 yards for Nevada.


Temple 37, Wyoming 15

Temple’s win marks the second straight year the visiting team has taken home the trophy. The win by the Mid-American Conference (MAC) member also snaps the Mountain West Conference’s four-game win streak. The Owls are the first at-large selection to the Gildan New Mexico Bowl to be victorious. Temple’s Chris Coyer, the Offensive MVP, was 8-12 with 169 yards passing and 1 TD, plus 12 rushes for 71 yards. He is the fourth quarterback to receive the award and the first sophomore to garner the honor. Temple’s Tahir Whitehead, the Defensive MVP, recorded 11 tackles (six solo, five assisted), 1.5 tackles for loss for a total of 2 yards. He is the third linebacker to garner the award and fourth straight senior to take home the shield.


BYU 52, UTEP 24

Jake Heaps threw four touchdown passes, connecting with Cody Hoffman on three scores, and finished with 264 yards passing to help BYU beat overmatched Texas-El Paso, 52-24. Hoffman had eight catches for 137 yards, while Joshua Quezada ran for 101 yards and J.J. DiLuigi added 98 yards on the ground to help the Cougars in their final contest before they begin play as an independent in football next season. BYU also got two interceptions and one of the team’s four sacks from Andrew Rich, voted the most valuable defensive player.


Wyoming 35, Fresno State 28 (2 OT)

Wyoming trailed by 11 points in the fourth quarter. Its offense was led by a freshman quarterback, its defense was facing the nation’s leading rusher. Time to worry? Not these comeback Cowboys. Freshman Austyn Carta-Samuels threw three touchdown passes, the last a 13-yarder to David Leonard in the second overtime Saturday, and Wyoming rallied past Fresno State 35-28. The first of 34 bowls in the 2009 season was a high-scoring matchup that was decided at the end by defense. Wyoming (7-6) stopped the nation’s leading rusher, Fresno State’s Ryan Mathews, on three rushing attempts from the 1 in the first overtime. The Bulldogs (8-5) tried a quarterback sneak on third down, and Mathews came up short again on fourth down. The Cowboys, who won four times this season after rallying in the fourth quarter, scored on the first possession in double overtime, then held Fresno State on downs.