BYU 24, SMU 23 New Mexico Bowl What Happened, What It All Means

Ivan Pierre Aguirre-USA TODAY Sports

BYU 24, SMU 23 New Mexico Bowl What Happened, What It All Means

Bowls College Football Playoff

BYU 24, SMU 23 New Mexico Bowl What Happened, What It All Means

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BYU beat SMU to win the New Mexico Bowl. What happened, who was the player of the game, and what does it all mean?


BYU 24, SMU 23 New Mexico Bowl What Happened, Player of the Game, What It All Means

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New Mexico Bowl What Happened

– Down 24-17, SMU got a touchdown pass from Tanner Mordecai to Jordan Kerley with eight seconds to play. SMU went for two, Mordecai chose to run, and he was stopped well short. The onside kick attempt went out of bounds, and BYU got out with a somewhat improbable win, because …

BYU star QB Jaren Hall couldn’t play on his injured ankle, and the offense didn’t complete a pass in the second half. However, Ben Bywater took a Mordecai pass for a pick-six, Christopher Brooks gave the Cougars a 24-10 lead late in the third on a 22-yard touchdown run, and the defense hung on for dear life on the final two-point try.

Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters stepped in for Hall and ran for a touchdown and a game-high 96 yards, but he only hit 7-of-12 throws for 47 yards with an interception. SMU got two touchdown passes out of Mordecai and 91 rushing yards and a score from Tyler Lavine.

New Mexico Bowl Player of the Game

Ben Bywater, LB BYU
He came up with a game-high 11 tackles, and his 76-yard pick six early in the third quarter turned the game around.

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New Mexico Bowl Fun Stats

– SMU outgained BYU 389 yards to 256.

– The two teams combined to convert 4-of-5 fourth down tries.

– SMU converted 10-of-18 third down tries. BYU converted 5-of-12.

New Mexico Bowl What It All Means

It might have been a bit of a disappointing season overall, but BYU was able to come a whole lot of adversity and injuries to get out of this with a gut-check win. No, Maiava-Peters wasn’t going to wing it around, but that wasn’t his job. He ran well, the offensive line took over for stretches, and the ground attack and defense got it done.

With this, it’s the second bowl wins in the last four seasons and Kalani Stake has won 29 games in the last three seasons.

SMU is going to be kicking itself for not being able to take control of this right away. It didn’t have to worry at all about the BYU passing game, its own offense was able to move just enough early on.

It was an unfortunate two-point conversion try at the very end – it was like SMU ran its best red zone play for the touchdown – but the offense was able to outgain BYU by 133 yards, it was far more effective, and it had a whole lot of chances.

Even with the loss, it was a good first season under Rhett Lashlee and a fourth straight winning season for the program. However, it’s now 0-3 in bowls since its last win in the 2012 Hawaii.

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