DENTON - North Texas has accepted an invitation to play in the New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 15 at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque against Mountain West foe Utah State.
“Conference USA has had a great relationship with the New Mexico Bowl and we are honored to be representing the league, the entire UNT community and the North Texas region in a postseason bowl game,” North Texas Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics and Director of Athletics Wren Baker said. “Coach Littrell, this coaching staff and these student-athletes have raised the level of expectations for this program. Playing in our third consecutive bowl game is something everyone associated with this university should take pride in.”
The Mean Green continue their streak of consecutive bowl appearances under head coach Seth Littrell, posting a 9-3 regular season record. Littrell guided UNT to its second-ever back-to-back seasons with nine wins (1977-78) and the Mean Green have an opportunity to win 10 games for the third time in program history.
This will be the 11th bowl game in North Texas history and third straight after playing in the 2017 R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl and the 2016 Zaxby's Heart of Dallas Bowl. It will be the eighth bowl game for UNT in the last 18 years, and this is the Mean Green’s first trip to the New Mexico Bowl.
“We are excited to be playing in the New Mexico Bowl against a very good opponent in Utah State,” Head Coach Seth Littrell Said. “Albuquerque is an easy travel destination for our fans and alumni and I know this team is excited to play in front of a national audience on ESPN in the very first bowl game of the season. It will be a tremendous challenge but we are excited to get to work.”
North Texas was the only team in the Football Bowl Subdivision to never trail by more than one possession in 2018. The Mean Green had another banner year from their quarterback, junior Mason Fine, who has thrown for 3,734 yards with 27 touchdowns to only five interceptions, while also adding two more scores on the ground. The defense took a major step forward in 2018 for North Texas, as it improved its points-per-game allowance by 13.2 ppg and ranked fifth in the country in interceptions with 17. Offensively, The Mean Green are on pace to set a program record in points-per-game, at 36.4. The current record is 36.2, set in 1951. UNT also ranks within the top-25 nationally in 20 major team statistical categories heading into its bowl game.
This marks the first time since 2002-2004 that North Texas will play in a bowl game in three consecutive seasons. In those years, North Texas concluded the four-year run in the New Orleans Bowl after winning four consecutive Sun Belt Conference championships.
North Texas and Utah State have met seven times, with the Aggies holding a 4-3 edge. The last meeting was in 2004, when the Mean Green knocked off Utah State 31-23 in Logan, Utah. The Aggies finished the 2018 regular season with a 10-2 record and a 7-1 mark in Mountain West play. Following head coach Matt Wells’ departure to Texas Tech last week, the Aggies have tabbed Frank Maile as their interim head coach for the bowl.
Bowl tickets are now on sale. For ticket prices and to purchase tickets online from the North Texas Ticket Office, visit MeanGreenPostseason.com.