North Texas will kick off bowl season with a game against Utah State in the New Mexico Bowl at 1 p.m. Dec. 15.
The Mean Green earned their third straight bowl berth after a 9-3 season. UNT has played in a bowl every year under Seth Littrell but hasn’t claimed a postseason victory since beating UNLV in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2014. Littrell is 0-2 as a head coach in bowl contests, with losses to Army in the Heart of Dallas Bowl in 2016 and Troy at last year’s New Orleans Bowl. Before 2014, UNT went a decade without a bowl berth after losing to Southern Miss in the 2004 New Orleans Bowl.
The New Mexico Bowl, hosted at Dreamstyle Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has ties with Conference USA and the Mountain West, leading to the match-up between the Mean Green and Utah State.
The Aggies notched a 10-2 record this season, but the New Mexico Bowl will be their first game without coach Matt Wells, who recently accepted the head coaching job at Texas Tech. Assistant head coach Frank Maile was deemed Utah State’s interim coach for bowl season.
Utah State will be coming off a road loss to Mountain West runner-up Boise State. The deficit was the Aggies’ only conference loss but was enough to keep them from playing for a conference title. Utah State’s first loss was to Michigan State in Week 1, 38-31, which was followed by a 10-game winning streak for the Aggies.
UNT and Utah State haven’t met since 2004, when both teams were members of the Sun Belt Conference. The Mean Green won that meeting 31-23 and claimed the conference title that season under Darrell Dickey.
The latest meeting between the Mean Green and Aggies is scheduled to broadcast on an ESPN Network channel.