BYU Football Holds Off SMU To Win 2022 New Mexico Bowl

Dec 17, 2022, 8:57 PM | Updated: Jan 2, 2023, 12:43 pm
BYU quarterback Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters (Courtesy of BYU Photo)
(Courtesy of BYU Photo)

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M.Β – The BYU Cougars stopped the SMU Mustangs on a two-point attempt with eight seconds to go and captured a victory in the 2022 New Mexico Bowl.

The Mustangs and Cougars played at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico on Saturday, December 17.

BYU beat SMU, 24-23.

With the win, the Cougars improved their record to 8-5 this season.

New Mexico Bowl Preview

Today marks the final game of the Independence era for BYU. After today, BYU will join the Big 12 Conference starting in 2023.

Both teams come into the New Mexico Bowl with 7-5 records. However, the big story around BYU is at quarterback. Fifth-year junior Jaren Hall is expected to be out, leaving an opening for a new face to emerge as the starting quarterback.

BYU has three players they are considering at quarterback. None of the three quarterbacks have played a snap this season. Those quarterbacks are Boise State transfer Cade Fennegan, Sol-Jay Maiava-Peters, and preferred walk-on Nick Billoups.

“All three guys can do things that are unique and may be different from each other. But we feel really good about all three guys,” said BYU coach Kalani Sitake to KSL Sports. “I gave the challenge to (BYU offensive coordinator) A-Rod (Aaron Roderick) to just play the right guy at the right times. We have no tendencies right now with the three [quarterbacks], so just go out and have fun and see what we can do.”

On the opposite sideline, SMU quarterback Tanner Mordecai is preparing for his final game with the Mustangs. Mordecai, an Oklahoma transfer, is pursuing an NFL career after today’s game.

Pregame Notes

  • Today is the fourth meeting all-time between BYU and SMU on the gridiron. BYU leads the series 3-0.
  • The last meeting occurred with both programs playing as Western Athletic Conference (WAC) members.
  • This will be the second bowl meeting featuring BYU/SMU. The first was one of the great finishes in college football history, the 1980 Holiday Bowl. BYU won 46-45 after trailing by 20 points with less than three minutes left.
  • SMU coach Rhett Lashlee said in Friday’s press conference that he showed his team highlights of that ’80 Holiday Bowl to explain any bowl game can make college football history.
  • This will be BYU’s second appearance in the New Mexico Bowl. The first was in 2010, BYU’s final game as a Mountain West program; they defeated UTEP.
  • BYU WR Puka Nacua is not expected to play today. The star receiver has accepted a Senior Bowl invitation. He was not suited up for practice on Thursday.
  • BYU kicker Jake Oldroyd is three points away from becoming BYU’s all-time leading scorer, passing former kicker Mitch Payne.
  • BYU will be shorthanded on the coaching staff. The Cougars do not have Ilaisa Tuiaki, Preston Hadley, Kevin Clune, or Ed Lamb on the staff. Kalani Sitake has said they are leaning on analysts and graduate assistants to fill the gaps.

First Half

First Quarter

Second Quarter

Second Half

Third Quarter

Fourth Quarter

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m.) on KSL Newsradio. Follow his coverage on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.

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BYU Football Holds Off SMU To Win 2022 New Mexico Bowl