(Saturday, December 18th)
Final Score: BYU 52, UTEP 24
Albuquerque, NM (Sports Network) - Jake Heaps completed 25-of-34 passes for 264 yards and four touchdowns, as BYU thumped UTEP, 52-24, in the fifth annual New Mexico Bowl.
Cody Hoffman snagged eight passes for 137 yards and three scores, while Joshua Quezada ran for 101 yards and a touchdown for the Cougars (7-6), who won five of their last six games to close the 2010 season. JJ Di Luigi added 98 yards and a score on the ground.
BYU played in its final game as a member of the Mountain West Conference, which it joined in 1998; it will become a football independent starting in 2011.
Trevor Vittatoe threw for 245 yards and three touchdowns, all to Kris Adams, on 14-of-29 efficiency for the Miners (6-7), who ended their campaign by dropping six of their last seven games.
JD Falslev's 43-yard punt return set up BYU at the UTEP 37, from where it cashed in just four plays later to begin the scoring onslaught.
Heaps hit Hoffman for 31 yards to the Miners' 11 two plays before Bryan Kariya ran up the middle four yards to the end zone to make it 7-0 just 4 1/2 minutes into the contest.
After UTEP went 3-and-out, BYU put together a 12-play, 78-yard-drive that culminated in Heaps' nine-yard scoring toss to Luke Ashworth with 4:37 left in the period.
Marlon McClure brought the ensuing kickoff back 72 yards to the BYU 22, leading to a 52-yard field goal by Dakota Warren with 2:42 to go in the opening quarter.
Mitch Payne booted a 38-yard field goal for the Cougars with 34 ticks left in the quarter to make it a 17-3 contest.
Brand Ogletree intercepted Vittatoe on the first play of the second quarter, and BYU scored on its next play when Heaps found Hoffman open in the end zone from 31 yards away.
The Cougars then made it 31-3 slightly less than six minutes later on Heaps' three-yard scoring toss to Hoffman in the back of the end zone.
UTEP needed only one play to score on its next touch, as Vittatoe and Adams hooked up on a 67-yard catch-and-run.
The Miners drove all the way to the Cougars' three-yard line before a Vittatoe incompletion in the end zone brought the first half to a close.
Di Luigi's two-yard scoring run and a 29-yard scoring strike from Heaps to Hoffman sandwiched a 37-yard scoring reception by Adams that gave the Cougars a 45-17 lead after three quarters.
Quezada's eight-yard TD dash finished the scoring for BYU before Adams caught a 49-yard scoring strike from Vittatoe with just under 10 minutes remaining.
BYU played in a bowl game for a sixth straight season under head coach Bronco Mendenhall, who was recruited by UTEP head coach Mike Price. Price at the time was the head coach at Weber State...The Cougars are 11-17-1 in bowl games, while the Miners dropped to 5-8...UTEP was playing in its first postseason game since the 2005 GMAC Bowl...BYU leads the all-time series, 29-7-1...The MWC entrant has won this game the last four years...Kariya finished with 18 yards on six carries...Joe Banyard was UTEP's leading rusher with 11 yards on two totes, while Donald Buckram carried six times for 10 yards...Adams totaled 153 yards on his three scoring catches...McClure made four grabs for 38 yards.
12/18 18:38:33 ET