SB Nation's Miner Rush examines UTEP's keys to victory in this afternoon's New Mexico Bowl:
UTEP came into this season with high expectations returning a slew of veteran players including Senior QB Trevor Vittatoe, Senior RB Donald Buckram, and Senior WR Kris Adams from a 4-8 team that lost 5 games by a TD or less. In all, 48 letter winners, and 11 starters returned from that squad.
The season started on a high note as the Miners shot out to a 5-1 record, with its only loss coming on the road to a fully healthy Houston Cougar team. The Miners seemed poised to contend for a C-USA championship as their next three games would be against sub .500 opponents. UTEP wound up losing all three of those game to slide to 5-4 with SMU, Arkansas, and Tulsa still on the slate. The Miners went on to beat the Conference USA West champ SMU, at home, before losing on the road at no. 8 Arkansas, and at Tulsa to end the season.
The 2010 New Mexico Bowl kicks off at 2 p.m. EST. For more information, browse our complete 2010 college football postseason schedule.