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David G. McIntyre for the Deseret News

Utah State to face New Mexico State in Arizona Bowl

By Kyle McDonald, KSL.com Contributor  |  Posted Dec 3rd, 2017 @ 9:44pm


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LOGAN — The Utah State football team had to sweat it out a little bit on Selection Sunday despite finishing the season 6-6.

On Sunday afternoon, the Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl announced that Utah State will be traveling to Tuscon on Friday, Dec. 29, to take on New Mexico State of the Sun Belt Conference at Arizona Stadium.

“We are extremely excited to accept the invitation to represent Utah State University and the Mountain West in the 2017 NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl,” said fifth-year Utah State head coach Matt Wells. “This bowl game is a great reward for our team and its accomplishments this year, and solidifies the strength and consistency of this program as we will be playing in our sixth bowl game in the past seven years.”

It will be the Aggies against the Aggies. It is the sixth time in seven years that Utah State is going to a bowl game. The Aggies missed a bowl game in 2016 after finishing 3-9.

Utah State finished the regular season with a 38-35 loss at Air Force and, in a flurry of selections, had to wait until the last minute to find out if it was going to a bowl game or not in 2017.

"It was about two hours of drama playing out on Twitter, phone calls and text messages," Wells said. "But, in the end we're very excited to be invited, to play in the game. But, yeah, it was stressful."

New Mexico State is going to a bowl game for the first time since 1960, which ends the longest bowl drought in the FBS-era. New Mexico State beat South Alabama 22-17 on Saturday to become bowl eligible. The Aggies finished the regular season with a 6-6 record as well.

“We are excited to prepare for a quality New Mexico State team that had an outstanding season. Our staff has great respect for New Mexico State head coach Doug Martin and the entire team with the success they had this season,” added Wells.

The last time Utah State and New Mexico State met on the gridiron was in 2012. Utah State blew out New Mexico State 41-7 on Oct. 20, 2012, in Logan.

Kickoff is slated for 3:30 p.m. MST at Arizona Stadium on Friday, Dec. 29, and can be seen on the CBS Sports Network.

Kyle McDonald is sports fan who loves the Chicago Cubs. Follow him on Twitter at @kylesportsbias

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