BYU opened the 2010 bowl season with its fourth bowl victory in the last five years with a 52-24 triumph over UTEP in the New Mexico Bowl. The Cougars had a record-setting day to finish the season with a 7-6 record and wins in five of their last six games. New Mexico Bowl Offensive MVP Jake Heaps went 25-of-34 for 264 yards and four touchdown passes, passing Ty Detmer’s freshman record for most touchdown passes. Heaps also set the BYU bowl record for best completion percentage (.735) in a bowl game. Senior safety Andrew Rich was awarded the game’s Defensive MVP in his final game as a Cougar, finishing with four solo tackles, two interceptions, one tackle-for-loss, one sack and a pass breakup. BYU played well from the start at University Stadium, scoring on its first five possessions to take a 31-3 lead and set a new first-half New Mexico Bowl scoring record. The Cougars went up 14-0 after Heaps found senior wide receiver Luke Ashworth for a nine-yard score with 4:37 to go in the first quarter. While BYU’s offense was successfully moving the ball, the Cougar defense was equally successful keeping the Miners from gaining ground. BYU finished the first quarter with a 17-3 lead while totaling 143 yards and holding UTEP to minus-5 yards. The 24-3 lead became 31-3 when Heaps and Hoffman hooked up for their second touchdown of the game, this time from three yards out. The Cougars took a 45-17 lead into the final quarter. Hoffman set career highs across the board with eight receptions for 137 yards and three touchdowns, tying a BYU bowl game record for most touchdown receptions in a game. After freshman running back Joshua Quezada bulled his way to an 8-yard touchdown with 12 minutes remaining, Payne converted the point-after attempt to pass Owen Pochman as the Cougars’ all-time scoring leader with 334 points
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