UTEP draws in-state bowl

Updated: November 24, 2004, 11:05 PM ET
Associated Press

EL PASO, Texas -- Texas-El Paso will play in the EV1.net Houston Bowl on Dec. 29 against a Big 12 opponent yet to be named, the school said Wednesday.

Under new coach Mike Price, UTEP (No. 25 ESPN/USA Today) clinched second place in the Western Athletic Conference on Saturday with a 57-27 victory over SMU, guaranteeing the Miners their third bowl appearance since 1967 and their first since 2000.

"Coach Price, his coaching staff and players have done an incredible job this year. We're looking forward to having them in Houston," said J. Shea Guinn, bowl chairman.

The Miners will face either Colorado, Iowa State, Nebraska or Oklahoma State in the game at Reliant Stadium.

Normally, the bowl would have pitted a Big 12 team against a Southeastern Conference team. But Houston Bowl officials said the SEC couldn't provide a team so they looked for a nationally ranked team to bring in.

UTEP officials said they were excited to be able to play in a bowl in Texas to allow fans and alumni a better chance to support the team.

"Not only does it give us the opportunity to play against a Big 12 opponent, it also gives our fans the best opportunity to support the team," UTEP athletic director Bob Stull said.

"It's great for the team, great for the fans, great for recruiting and a great place to play," Price said.

UTEP is 8-2 and 6-1 in the WAC. The Miners finish their regular season Saturday at Tulsa.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press