North Texas (9-3, 4-8 ATS) is a heavy underdog against Utah State (10-2, 9-3 ATS) in the New Mexico Bowl. The game will be played at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerue, New Mexico, at 2:00PM ET on December 15th.
The line opened with Utah State as 11-point favorites, but has since relaxed to 7.5 or 8.0 points. Utah State has had a truly terrific year, and head coach Matt Wells has ridden that success to the head coaching position at Texas Tech.
Utah State scored 47.2 points per game this year. They also went 10-2 and very nearly won the Mountain West. It was truly a magical season for the Aggies.
Quarterback Jordan Love threw for 3,208 yards and 28 touchdowns, and was also third on the team in rushing. Leading the team in rushing was Darwin Thompson, who averaged 7.2 yards per carry, rushed for 14 touchdowns, and caught two more. Utah State fielded one of the nations top offenses this year, and will bring it all to bear in the New Mexico Bowl.
The defense didn’t exactly lag behind either. The Aggies weren’t stifling on defense, but kept opposing teams to a manageable 385.2 yards per game, much less than most need to keep up with the Utah State offense.
North Texas also loves to score, averaging a much higher-than-average 36.4 points per game. Quarterback Mason Fine completed 64.6% of his passes for 3,734 yards and 27 touchdowns this season, while running back Deandre Torrey rushed for 942 yards and 14 touchdowns. The pair made a deadly combination, and Torrey was particularly dangerous catching the ball out of the backfield.
Wide receivers Rico Bussey Jr and Jalen Guyton made life difficult for opposing defenses. Bussey caught 68 passes for 1,017 yards and 12 touchdowns, a remarkable 15 yards per catch. Guyton caught 50 for 702 yards and 5 touchdowns. It’s hard to know who to cover.
The most obvious pick here is the over (currently set at 68 points), since these are both offense-oriented team who are more than happy to get into a shootout. It’s hard to tell how the absence of Matt Wells will affect Utah State’s performance, and this is a pretty wide spread.