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AP
Utah State quarterback Jordan Love (10) looks to throw the ball against Boise State in the second of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Nov. 24, 2018, in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won 33-24. (AP Photo/Steve Conner)

No. 23 UTAH STATE (10-2) vs. NORTH TEXAS (9-3)

Kickoff: Saturday, noon (MT)

Dreamstyle Stadium (37,457) — Albuquerque, New Mexico

Turf: FieldTurf

TV: ESPN

Livestream: WatchESPN

Radio: 92.3 FM

Weather: Partly cloudy, temperatures in the low 50s.

THE STAKES

  • For Utah State … The Aggies can end the year with 11 wins and are trying to finish the season ranked in both major polls, both for only the second time in school history (in 2012, USU was 11-2 and finished the year ranked in the top 20 of the final Associated Press and Coaches polls).
  • For North Texas … The Mean Green would reach double-digit victories for the third time in program history with a bowl win.

THE TRENDS

  • For Utah State … The Aggies are playing in their seventh bowl game in eight seasons and trying to improve upon a 3-3 record during that stretch.
  • For North Texas … The Mean Green are playing in their third straight bowl game and looking for their first win in a bowl since 2013.

THE CRYSTAL BALL

  • For Utah State … The Aggies will prevail if they utilize a combination of potent offense and disruptive defense, a recipe for success they often used in 2018.
  • For North Texas … The Mean Green have the firepower to make things interesting and their best chance for a win is likely to prevail in a shootout.

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Jordan Love, Utah State quarterback: Love captains an explosive offense, throwing for 3,208 passing yards and 28 touchdowns — a single-season school record — while completing 65.8 percent of his passes.

Jake King
North Texas quarterback Mason Fine (6) prepares to begin a play during an NCAA college football game against SMU on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018 at Apogee Stadium in Denton, Texas. (Jake King/The Denton Record-Chronicle via AP)

Mason Fine, North Texas quarterback: The two-time Conference USA Offensive Player of the Year is having a standout season with numbers similar to Love, with 3,734 passing yards, eighth nationally, to go along with 27 TD passes with a 64.6 percent completion rate.

KEY MATCHUP

Quarterbacks vs. secondaries: Both quarterbacks have done a fine job protecting the ball this season with only the five interceptions each. The Aggies, meanwhile, have intercepted 18 passes this season, tops in the country. On the flip side, the Mean Green have intercepted 17 passes.

QUOTABLE

"I want to say thanks to Matt (Wells), and the coaches that are not here. They all played a big role in where we are today. The goal is to continue to climb up that mountain."

— Utah State interim head coach Frank Maile

“There’s no doubt in my mind they’re the best team we’ve faced so far. They lost two games by single digits this season. We understand the challenge.”

— North Texas coach Seth Littrell

NEXT UP

The New Mexico Bowl marks the end of the season for both Utah State and North Texas.

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UTAH STATE RESULTS

Aug. 31 — Michigan State 38, Utah State 31

Sept. 8 — Utah State 60, New Mexico State 13

Sept. 13 — Utah State 73, Tennessee Tech 12

Sept. 22 — Utah State 42, Air Force 32

Oct. 5 — Utah State 45, BYU 20

Oct. 13 — Utah State 59, UNLV 28

Oct. 20 — Utah State 24, Wyoming 16

Oct. 27 — Utah State 61, New Mexico 19

Nov. 3 — Utah State 56, Hawaii 17

Nov. 10 — Utah State 62, San Jose State 24

Nov. 17 — Utah State 29, Colorado State 24

Nov. 24 — Boise State 33, Utah State 24