Texas El Paso earned an Independence Bowl bid with a 31-24 victory over Air Force in a Western Athletic Conference game Saturday at El Paso, Tex.
The Miners (10-2) set a team record for victories and finished second in the WAC, their best league finish.
The Miners’ bowl bid came after Wake Forest, which had the inside track, was tied by Appalachian State Saturday and finished with a 6-4-1 record.
The Miners will play Southern Mississippi on Dec. 23 in the Independence Bowl at Shreveport, La.
“Our players are really excited,” UTEP Coach Bob Stull said. “We had a straw vote. I asked them and they just about tore the place down, so I think they unanimously wanted to go.”
Air Force fell to 5-6 overall and 3-4 in conference play. The Falcons will play at Hawaii next week.
UTEP scored its winning touchdown with less than 4 minutes to play when tailback John Harvey scored from the 1-yard line. But Air Force came back, driving to the UTEP 6-yard line where the Miners held them on fourth down.
Harvey scored 2 touchdowns to finish his college career with 51, a school record. He also became the Western Athletic Conference’s all-time leading scorer with 306 points.
Steve Bartalo of Colorado State held the record with 294 points.
Utah 57, Brigham Young 28--At Salt Lake City, Scott Mitchell set 2 National Collegiate Athletic Assn. passing records, and Eddie Johnson rushed for 4 touchdowns as the Utes beat the Cougars for the first time in a decade.
Mitchell, a 6-foot 5-inch sophomore, finished the season with 533 attempts, topping BYU quarterback Robbie Bosco’s record of 511 attempts, set in 1985. Mitchell also broke former Cougar Jim McMahon’s 1980 record of 380.9 yards passing per game with a 392.9 average.
Johnson, a senior running back, tied former Ute Del Rodgers’ 1980 record for touchdowns in a game with runs of 2, 3, 2 and 7 yards. He carried 26 times for 112 yards.
Utah’s fourth straight win snapped a BYU’s nine-game winning streak.
Mitchell, who completed 21 of 30 passes for 384 yards, passed for 3 touchdowns, 2 to Dennis Smith and 1 to Carl Harry.
Utah finished at 6-5 and 3-4. BYU (8-3 and 5-3) plays Colorado in the Freedom Bowl on Dec. 29 at Anaheim Stadium.
San Diego State 18, New Mexico 10--Paul Hewitt ran for 140 yards and a touchdown, and Tyler Ackerson kicked 3 field goals as the Aztecs won their final game under fired Coach Denny Stolz, beating the Lobos at Albuquerque, N.M.
San Diego State finished with a 3-8 record, 3-5 in conference play. New Mexico finished 2-10 and 1-7.