The New Mexico Bowl is pleased to announce that the University of New Mexico Lobos have accepted an invitation to play in the 2nd annual New Mexico Bowl. The Lobos played in the inaugural game one year ago and once again, with an 8-4 overall record, have earned their way into the December 22nd.
"I am extremely happy to welcome the Lobos back to the New Mexico Bowl," said Jeff Siembieda, New Mexico Bowl Executive Director. "I have tremendous respect for Rocky Long and the program he has established at UNM. With an 8-4 record, New Mexico is in the midst of a great season and we look forward to another great event with the Lobos and their fans."
The New Mexico Bowl will be aired at 2:30pm (MST) on ESPN and ESPN-HD, live from University Stadium in Albuquerque, NM. Last year’s inaugural contest was played on December 23, 2006, with WAC representative San Jose State defeating New Mexico 20-12.
New Mexico finished the 2007 regular season campaign with an 8-4 record. Their 5-3 record in Mountain West Conference knotted them in a tie with Utah for third place in the conference standings. The Lobos are the only team in the MWC that has been bowl eligible every year since 2001. New Mexico will be participating in their fifth postseason contest in the last six years and their 11th bowl game in the school’s history. New Mexico is 2-7-1 all-time in bowl games.
New Mexico is coached by Rocky Long. Coach Long is completing his 10th season as head football coach and is the winningest coach in school history. An alum of UNM, Coach Long has spent a total of 19 years at the school as a player and a coach. Rocky Long coached teams are responsible for five of the eleven bowl games in the programs 109 year history. His teams have garnered tremendous respect in the league during his tenure including being one of three schools to have a defensive unit ranked in the top 30 nationally four years in a row from 2000-2004. Off the field, the Lobos have been just as successful boasting 73 academic all-conference performers since 2001. This year’s squad includes two "ESPN The Magazine" Academic All-Americans. Linebacker Cody Kase and Center Vince Natali were selected to the first and second teams respectively.
On offense the Lobos are led by senior wide receivers Marcus Smith and Travis Brown. Smith has grabbed 86 passes this season for 1039 yards and Brown has 69 catches for 911 yards on the year. Junior tailback Rodney Ferguson leads the Lobo ground attack. Ferguson has rushed for 1177 yards and 13 touchdowns during the 2007 campaign. The traditionally strong Lobo defense is led by senior safety O.J. Swift. Swift, the two year starter at safety, is second on the team in tackles but also is one of the teams biggest playmakers leading the squad in fumble recoveries and serving as a punt return specialist. The Lobo secondary is flanked by two excellent junior cornerbacks in DeAndre Wright and Glover Quin with five interceptions combined.
One of the brightest spots for the Lobos is senior kicker John Sullivan who leads the team in scoring. The former walk-on from Tehachapi, CA also leads the nation in field goals per game at 2.36 and holds both UNM and Mountain West Conference records for field goals in a season with 26.
New Mexico was defeated by San Jose State 20-12 in last year’s New Mexico Bowl. Prior to that game, the Lobos last bowl victory was a 28-12 victory over Western Michigan in the 1961 Aviation Bowl played in Dayton, Ohio.
The New Mexico Bowl is an ESPN Regional Television (ERT) owned and operated event. The Bowl is a certified college football bowl game owned and operated by ESPN Regional Television. ERT markets and owns four other bowl games—the Sheraton Hawai’i Bowl, Pioneer Las Vegas Bowl, Bell Helicopter Armed Forces Bowl and the PapaJohns.com Bowl.