ALBUQUERQUE — Not only did Utah State roll to a 52-13 win over North Texas in the New Mexico Bowl on Saturday, the Aggies broke a record previously held by rival BYU in the process.
Utah State finished the season with 618 points, setting the Mountain West team record for points in a single season. It surpassed the 608 points the Gary Crowton-led Cougars put up as a member of the league in 2001.
The Aggies, who entered the postseason third nationally averaging 47.2 points per game, also accomplished the feat in one fewer game. Utah State played 13 games this year, while BYU played 14 in 2001.
"That just makes it even more special," USU interim coach Frank Maile said, knowing the record was previously held by the Cougars. "From the bottom of my heart, I'm excited about any success that we have."
Utah State also tied BYU's New Mexico Bowl record with 52 points, while setting the bowl record for points in a half with 38. The Cougars beat UTEP 52-24 in the 2010 New Mexico Bowl.
OVER 1,000: Utah State senior running back Darwin Thompson passed the 1,000-yard rushing mark with 93 yards in the game. He ends the year with 1,044 rushing yards, the first time an Aggie rusher has surpassed the 1,000-yard mark since 2013.
THE MVPs: Sophomore quarterback Jordan Love (359 passing yards, four touchdown passes and a rushing touchdown) was named the offensive MVP of the New Mexico Bowl, while junior cornerback D.J. Williams (two interceptions) earned defensive MVP honors.
QUICK SCORE: Utah State put the first points on the board just 40 seconds into the game when a wide-open Aaren Vaughns caught a career-long 72-yard pass on a busted coverage third-and-7 play. It was the fastest score in New Mexico Bowl history. The ESPN telecast was still showing the end of the Kansas-Villanova men’s basketball game when the score occurred.
Utah State finished the year with 29 touchdown drives that took less than one minute.
TAKEAWAY CENTRAL: Utah State's four interceptions gave them 22 on the season, the most for the Aggies since 1986 when they had 24. The four picks also set a New Mexico Bowl record.14 comments on this story
The Aggies now lead the country in interceptions, after going into the postseason tied for first nationally with Maryland, Iowa and Boston College.
TECHNICAL DIFFICULTIES: The microphone cut out during the national anthem at the New Mexico Bowl, even after a mic switch. It ended strongly, though, as the mic cut back in for “home of the brave.”
SUNNY, COOL AND NOT FULL: Weather at game time was 46 degrees and sunny. The official attendance for the bowl game was 25,387 though most of the bleachers were empty in the stadium that seats a little under 40,000.