With construction slated to commence on the Sun Bowl Stadium project, the reseating process has begun for the 2019 UTEP Football season.
The Sun Bowl Stadium project is scheduled for completion in 2020 and will feature the addition of the GECU Terrace as well as a new Sky Lounge and various premium seating options.
The renovation of the Sun Bowl and subsequent removal of approximately 5,000 seats made a reseating of the stadium imperative.
The Miner Priority Points system was developed to provide a fair and equitable process to assist in the selection of seats. The Miner Priority Points system tracks history of season ticket purchases, financial support to UTEP Athletics and other UTEP affinity metrics.
Current UTEP Football Season Ticket Holders received notification of their preliminary Miner Priority Points total late last year.
The same fans will receive an updated Miner Priority Points total (as of March 1) by the end of April. They will also receive notification of their assigned appointment date and time during which they may select their seats for the 2019 football season.
These appointment times will begin on Friday, May 3. Fans will be able to select their seats online through their Ticketmaster account, in-person at the Season Ticket Office (Brumbelow Building, 201 Glory Road) or over the phone by calling (915) 747-6150.
Parking will be assigned for 2019 as normal.
Season Ticket Holders who have questions about the reseating process can contact the Season Ticket Office at (915) 747-6150, or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Out in the parking lot, before the game, the connection of community, both local and from afar, was everywhere.
This was my first time covering the Sun Bowl, and only the second Sun Bowl game I’ve ever been to. I decided to go out and discover what people like best about the city and the game.
No matter who I spoke to, there was one common theme – El Paso is a great city with great people.
The Villarreal family, all Stanford alums, were out to show their support for both their school, their team, and the city of El Paso.
“Well, the Sun Bowl is, you know, it’s our marquee event,” says Jose Louis Villarreal of El Paso. “Growing up here, it’s a matter of pride to showcase the city.”
For Jose he attends every Sun Bowl game Stanford has ever played in, beginning in 1977 when he was only in the sixth grade. He’s also attended a total of 30 Sun Bowl games!
“Both things run in my blood, Stanford and the Sun Bowl, and it’s just a great day,” said Jose. “The Sun Bowl has a reputation of being the most hospitable bowl,” says Jose. “Stanford has been to other higher tier bowls, and they say there is no comparison to the way they’re treated here.”
“First time at the Sun Bowl, first time in El Paso,” says Jeff Gamza of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. “It’s a beautiful area.”
Before today’s game, he spent three days in El Paso, and what stands out to him?
“The landscape and all the mountains,” said Jeff. “This is a beautiful area.” He also spoke of the people and the fan fiesta.
“People of El Paso have been very friendly,” he said. “The Sun Bowl committee has done a great job here. The fan fiesta was great; it was open to the entire public for free. They had some great stuff there for the kids and the families. It was a great time.”
Lynn and Matt Watson made the trip to the Sun Bowl from Claysville, Pennsylvania.
“We are huge Pitt fans, we’ve been at every Pitt game since he was six-weeks-old,” said Lynn Watson as she pointed to her son Matt, who is not seventeen years old.
Matt will be graduating from high school soon and will be heading off to college not long after. What does he want to do?
“I’m not sure yet,” says Matt, “but probably something to do with sports.”
Don Barr, who is originally from Pennsylvania, and now lives in Phoenix came to El Paso to cheer on Pitt.
“I love everything about Pitt, we’re very close to Pitt,” says Don. “I like the basketball, especially when they were in the Big East, now they are in the ACC. We’ve always been Pittsburg Fans.”
Barr added that Pitt has played one of the toughest football schedules in their division. “At one point they played about seven teams that were in the top twenty,” said Don.
Patricia and Doug have a daughter in the Pitt Marching Band. “She’s a senior,” said Patricia as Doug said they were so proud of her.
“And we love El Paso,” said Patricia. “People are so friendly here. Every Uber we’ve taken has been wonderful.” This was their first time in El Paso and Texas.
For everyone who came from out of town, they could not stop talking about how friendly El Paso is, or how much they loved the food – even Chico’s Tacos.
As I continued to walk through the crowds, talking to people, they were just amazed that El Paso is as friendly as it is. Then, there are those, like the Villarreal family, who are from El Paso, who’ve made the Sun Bowl game a family tradition.
“We always come to the Sun Bowl,” says Ray Lopez. “It’s our tradition,” says his wife, Cynthia.
The Lopez family has been to at least fifteen games they say. Who are they cheering for? Let me tell you; their answer was one of the best I’ve ever heard.
“We are only going for Stanford ‘cuz we have our annual tickets that we pay for,” says Cynthia Lopez. “We’re right next to the band. So, whoever’s on our side, that’s who we root for, who I root for.”
Then there is the food. In every parking lot, there are people who’ve brought out the grills and began cooking. I was treated to everything today, from hamburgers to burritos. But the best ones came from Carl Townsend.
“We have about 20-25 people that we tailgate at the Sun Bowl every year,” said Carl Townsend. “I try to make what I call the world’s best burritos.”
Let me tell you, they were made from smoked filet mignon and they literally melt in your mouth!
“I’ve been to probably the last twenty-five in a row,” said Carl Townsend, talking about how many Sun Bowl games he’s attended. “Sometimes we have really good games; sometimes we don’t. But you know what? We always have a good time.”
“It’s a very positive image for the city of El Paso,” said Carl of the Sun Bowl. “We have the best weather in the United States. We are a progressive town, a good town. It’s seen nationally.”
He was rooting for Pitt, as he is originally from the mid-west. But there was a bit more behind his decision.
“Stanford, their top boys, don’t like to show up, so I root for the Pitt Panthers,” he said.
It was about this time that I caught up with Drew, a member of the Stanford band.
“This is my first time in El Paso,” said Drew. “It’s beautiful. I’ve never been in a desert like this before; I don’t really know if this is a desert. It’s beautiful, and the people are really nice.”
Now, if you’ve never seen the Stanford Marching Band before, I don’t know what to tell you. They are a band that has as much fun as humanly possible.
“They are fun,” says Aubrey, a ten-year-old from Pittsburgh. “It’s not boring when they play.”
She’s right, and Drew agrees.
“It’s a lot of fun,” says Drew. “It’s a good way to express ourselves, a good way to just have a good time on campus. I love it. We rock out every day.”
I also spoke with Brad Townsend, the band director for Pitt. Ten years and twelve years ago he was at the Sun Bowl when he was with Oregon State.
“I like, it’s just a big event,” said Brad. “Everybody in town is so into it and so appreciative of the teams being here.”
Those fans, the people from El Paso, from out of town, this game is big. Even if you are Robles, an excited four-years-old, who is attending his first Sun Bowl. His dad has attended the past four Sun Bowl games. What does he like best?
“The excitement, the marching bands, battling it out. Everybody hitting hard on the field,” said Robles. “A good family environment.”
What does he say to those who have never attended a Sun Bowl game before?
“You’ll see a great game, a lively game,” said Robles. “The two teams are going to play very hard, all the way to the fourth quarter. You’re going to see two great marching bands. Very loud and thunderous. It’s just an excellent atmosphere.”
Simi Fehoko, wide receiver for Stanford, who took a two-year break from football to serve a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints in Korea made his bowl debut today.
It’s been good; it’s been fun this whole week of games and events. People are very nice,” said Simi. “Football is big in Texas. We went to the mall the other day, and everybody was stopping us, ‘oh, you play football for Stanford,’ it was just awesome.”
To sum it up, the one thing almost everyone had to say was that this is an amazing game, a tradition that continues. For those who came
from out of town, they simply couldn’t believe how friendly everyone is.
El Paso is, as I’ve discovered through the eyes of visitors, an amazing place.
Have a story you want to share? Get in touch with Steve at Steven@EPHeraldPost.com or call 915-201-0918. Follow Steve Zimmerman
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For the second time in three years the Stanford Cardinal came to El Paso and were outgained yardage-wise by their opponent, and for the second time in three years the team from the Pac-12 came out with a Sun Bowl victory as the Cardinal outlasted the Pittsburgh Panthers, 14-13, to win the 85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl.
Stanford (9-4), which had to stave off a late North Carolina rally in 2016 to win by two points, had to do the same on Monday in front of 40,680 fans to hold on to a one-point win over Pitt (7-7). It is the first one-point final in the Sun Bowl since 2006.
The game was also turnover-free for the first time in 20 years.
With the win the Cardinal move to 4-1 in the Sun Bowl. The four wins are the most my any team, other than El Paso’s own UTEP (five wins), in Sun Bowl history.
Stanford was outgained in total yards 344-208, lost the time of possession battle by over seven minutes and went 1-for-10 on third downs, but found a way to pull out the victory on a lost fumble by quarterback K.J. Costello at the 3-yard line that somehow found its way right into the hands of running back Cameron Scarlett who was standing in the end zone.
“It’s not about yards, it’s about points. There’s so many different stats and I appreciate the Pro Football Focus stuff, but that doesn’t win football games,” Stanford coach David Shaw said. “You’ve got to run the ball well, you’ve got to stop the run, you’ve got to be great on first down, you’ve got to be great on third down and you’ve got to be great in the red zone.”
Pitt had a final possession to try and steal the win, and after a 4th-and-11 conversion from its own 3-yard line with 2:27 left it seemed as if it might just be the Panthers’ day. But another fourth-down conversion fell short a few plays later and sealed the win for the Cardinal.
Scarlett finished with 94 yards on the ground and two touchdowns for Stanford on his way to being named the C.M. Hendricks Most Valuable Player of the game. Costello finished with 105 yards through the air while senior wide receiver JJ Arcega-Whiteside had three catches for 90 yards, including the biggest catch of the game, a 49-yard catch and run that set up the wacky winning touchdown in the fourth quarter. Defensive end Thomas Booker nabbed the Jimmy Rogers, Jr. Trophy as the game’s best lineman.
“Coach Shaw referred to it in the locker room, I mean this game was a lot like the season, the first half of the season, but effort was never a question with these guys, they are going to figure it out,” Costello said.
On the Pitt side, quarterback Kenny Pickett finished 11-of-29 for 136 yards passing. Senior running back Darrin Hall finished with a game-high 131 yards on the ground while receiver Taysir Mack accumulated 68 yards on four catches.
“I look at our 208 yards rushing and 344 total yards to their 208 and I just doesn’t add up how that score ends up being 13-14 but that’s really the only stat that matters,” Pitt coach Pat Narduzzi said.
The game got off to a slow start as the Sun Bowl had a scoreless first quarter for the first time in six years.
The Panthers drove into Cardinal territory during its first two drives, including getting to the Stanford 28-yard line on its second drive of the day. But a loss of yardage during a running play and a 10-yard sack thwarted the Panthers’ drive.
Pitt finally broke through on the second play of the second quarter as its third drive ended on a 29-yard field goal by Alex Kessman. The biggest play on the 6-play, 54-yard drive was a 47-yard scamper by Hall. Kessman was named the John H. Folmer trophy winner as the game’s top special teams player after going 2-for-3 on field goals.
“Really we just wanted to take advantage of the coverage that they were showing. We felt that we could get the ball out quick and do some work there, which I thought we did,” Pickett said. “We only had a couple of explosives down the field passing. I wish we had some more deep shots that would’ve ended up in touchdowns.”
Stanford, on the other hand, could not getting anything going during its first four drives as the team from the Pac-12 started the game with four consecutive three-and-outs. The Cardinal were held to a total of three yards in the first quarter and did not get their initial first down until the 10:53 mark of the second quarter.
But after its initial first down, the Stanford offense finally came alive as the Cardinal went on a 7-play, 64-yard drive that was capped off by a 1-yard touchdown run by Scarlett.
Even though Stanford was outplayed by the Panthers, they still held a 7-3 lead midway through the second quarter.
Pitt, however, had an answer. The Panthers showed the power of their running game as they answered the Cardinal touchdown with one of their own.
Pitt’s 75-yard drive ate up over five minutes of playing time and culminated with a 6-yard touchdown run by Hall, who finished with 93 yards rushing in the first half. The touchdown gave the Panthers a 10-7 led at the half.
The teams traded three-and-outs to start the second half, but with Pitt at midfield during it s second drive, Pickett hit Mack down the left sideline for a 41-yard hookup that put the ball at the Cardinal 9-yard line.
The Panthers could not punch it in the end zone, however, as they settled for Kessman’s second field goal of the day, a 28-yarder that increased the Pitt lead to 13-7 at the 8:13 mark of the third quarter. It would be the only score of the quarter.
“Offensively we have to finish drives in the red zone,” Narduzzi said. “Overall, offensively and defensively we outplayed them we just didn’t win on the scoreboard which is unfortunate and I feel bad for our seniors.”
Stanford’s winning drive began in the third quarter, and after eight plays and 78 yards the Cardinal marked the final points of the game with 11:28 left.
Pitt drove down the field on its next possession trying to answer Stanford’s score as it had in the first half. The Panthers drove to the Cardinal 35-yard line, but a couple of negative plays forced a 55-yard field goal, which Kessman missed short and wide right.
Pitt would get its final try after forcing a Stanford punt, but the drive ended after a non-conversion of a 4th-and-three with 1:44 left.
Gallery by Andres ‘Ace’ Acosta, Chief Photographer, El Paso Herald Post
SUN BOWL GAME NOTES
The 17 combined points at halftime were the least since Dec. 31, 2012 when USC and Georgia Tech combined for 14 points. Georgia Tech and Utah combined for 17 points at the half on Dec. 31, 2011.
The 20 combined points through three quarters were the fewest since 21 points combined by USC and Georgia Tech on Dec. 31, 2012.
Stanford’s one-point win over Pitt was the first one-point margin of victory since Oregon State edged Missouri, 39-38, on Dec. 29, 2006.
The combined 27 points was the least since Oregon State’s 3-0 victory over Pitt on Dec. 31, 2008. The 2012 Sun Bowl saw 28 combined points (Georgia Tech 21, USC 7).
The three combined touchdowns were the least since USC and Georgia Tech combined for four touchdowns on Dec. 31, 2012.
The combined 552 total yards was the least since 451 yards were combined for in 2008 (Pitt vs. Oregon State).
Stanford and Pitt combined for zero turnovers. It’s the first time since Dec. 31, 1998 (TCU vs. USC) that neither team committed a turnover in the Sun Bowl game.
With Stanford’s victory, it now has four wins in the Sun Bowl game, the second most ever behind UTEP’s five victories. The Cardinal also defeated North Carolina, 25-23 (Dec. 30, 2016), Michigan State, 38-0 (Dec. 31, 1996) and LSU, 24-14 (Dec. 31, 1977).
Stanford has won its last two Sun Bowl appearances, but has been outgained yardage wise in both contests. North Carolina outgained Stanford 398-283 on Dec. 30, 2016, while Pitt outgained Stanford, 344-208.
Stanford punter Jake Bailey punted nine times (401 yards), ranking tied for seventh most in Sun Bowl history. Bailey’s three punts inside the 20-yard line ranks tied for sixth most in Sun Bowl history.
Jake Bailey, who tallied 401 yards on nine punts, is one of seven punters in Sun Bowl history to hit 400-plus yards.
Pitt’s Alex Kessman connected on a 29-yard field goal, first points for Pitt in the Sun Bowl since Dec. 30, 1989. Henry Tuten caught a 44-yard touchdown from Alex Van Pelt in the fourth quarter that year.
Darrin Hall rushed for 123 yards. He’s the first player to rush for over 100 yards in the Sun Bowl game since Stanford’s Bryce Love rushed for 119 on Dec. 30, 2016. Hall added a touchdown, six-yard rush in the second quarter.
SUN BOWL MVP
Stanford RB Cameron Scarlett was named the C.M. Hendricks MVP
Scarlett rushed for 94 yards on 22 carries and scored two touchdowns
Scarlett is the seventh RB to win the C.M. Hendricks award since 2005
Scarlett gave Stanford a 7-3 lead on a one-yard TD run during the second quarter
Scarlett gave Stanford the go-ahead lead with a fumble recovery in the end zone in the fourth quarter with 11:28 to play
Scarlett had a long rush of 16 yards during the third quarter
First Quarter Notes
First scoreless first quarter since in the Hyundai Sun Bowl since 2012.
Pitt outgained Stanford in total yards, 114-1.
Pitt RB Darrin Hall rushed for 67 yards.
Stanford LB Sean Barton tallied four total tackles.
Second Quarter Notes
Pitt tallied 112 yards compared to Stanford’s 84.
Pitt threw for 53 yards and rushed for 59.
Stanford threw and rushed for 42 yards, respectively.
Pitt outgained Stanford in total yards in the half, 226-85.
Pitt edged Stanford in total possession time, 19:43 – 10:17.
Pitt went 4-of-9 on third down, while Sanford went 0-of-5.
Stanford linebacker Sean Burton finished the first half with seven total tackles.
Pitt running back Darrin Hall rushed for 93 yards, which was more than his previous game in the ACC Championship.
Third Quarter Notes
Pitt outgained Stanford in total yards, 65-16.
Pitt held Stanford to zero pass yards in the third quarter.
Stanford rushed for 16 yards compared to Pitt’s 15 rushing yards.
Fourth Quarter Notes
Stanford regained the lead (14-13) with a fumble recovery touchdown by Cameron Scarlett at the 11:28 mark.
Stanford outgained Pitt in the final quarter, 107-53.
Stanford tallied 46 pass yards compared to Pitt’s 38.
The Sun Bowl Association along with the El Paso CVB have announced the musical acts for the 21st Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl Fan Fiesta presented by El Paso Live and the Sun Bowl Pregame Fan Party presented by Visit El Paso.
Bosse will headline the 21st Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl Fan Fiesta at the El Paso Convention Center on Sunday, December 30.
The local act who call themselves “The Live Jukebox!” will keep it interesting by playing an array of covers from Classic Rock, R&B, Disco, Rock-En-Español, 80’s Rock, Country, Cumbias, Tejano and more.
The Fan Fiesta will also feature mariachis, university pep rallies including a parade through downtown El Paso, and the popular Battle of the Bands.
The following morning Ryan G. Band will perform at the Sun Bowl Pregame Fan Party located on the corner of Glory Road and Sun Bowl Drive beginning at 8:30 a.m. (MT).
Ryan Gonzalez is an aspiring singer-songwriter from El Paso who was a contestant on ‘La Voz Mexico’ in 2017. He sings covers from popular songs in both English and Spanish.
“We’re excited to have local acts perform at this year’s Fan Fiesta and Pregame Fan Party,” said Sun Bowl Association Executive Director Bernie Olivas. “El Paso is full of talented artists and we’re always happy to showcase they’re wonderful talents to our guests, especially those coming in from out of town.”
Both events are free and open to the public and will feature food, drinks, games and giveaways.
21st Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl Fan Fiesta presented by El Paso Live Date: Sunday, Dec. 30 Time: 3 – 9 p.m. Place: Downtown El Paso Convention Center Admission: FREE – Open to the public
3:00 PM – Doors Open
3:00 PM – 4:00 PM – Dancers Perform
4:00 PM – 5:00 PM – Live Music
5:00 PM – 5:15 PM – National Anthem & Introduction to Sun Court
5:15 PM – 6:00 PM – Mariachis
5:30 PM – Marching Bands Through DTEP
6:00 PM – 6:40 PM – Battle of The Marching Bands
7:00 PM – 9:00 PM – Live Music by Bosse
Sun Bowl Pregame Fan Party presented by Visit El Paso Date: Monday, Dec. 31
Time: 8:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.
Location: Corner of Glory Road and Sun Bowl Drive Admission: FREE – Open to the public
Current PGA players such as Dustin Johnson, Jordan Spieth, Ricky Fowler, Phil Mickelson and Tiger Woods have hit the links at the El Paso Country Club and this year there are 29 amateurs from around the country invading the Borderland.
“The golf committee continues to work tirelessly to bring some of the best amateur players in the country to El Paso,” said Sun Bowl Association Executive Director Bernie Olivas. “This year is no different. We invite everyone to come out and watch the competition and even get autographs and pictures with future pros.”
Participants are from all around the country and the world and have accomplished some amazing achievements on the course. They have achieved All-America status or have a high-amateur ranking.
“Players are invited to this tournament because of their many college achievements and outstanding amateur career and ranking,” said Tournament Director Bob Kimble. “I can assure the fans that many future PGA Tour players will be out on the course during this tournament.”
Doug Ghim of Texas won last year’s All-America Golf Classic carding rounds of 67-64-64.
The Sun Bowl Marathon All-America Golf Classic is one of the premier amateur golf tournaments in the country. Some of golf’s brightest stars have traveled to El Paso to compete in the tournament since its inaugural year in 1974.
Jordan Spieth, Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Davis Love III, Justin Thomas, Notah Begay and Jerry Pate are just a handful of past participants who went on to have successful PGA careers.
College All-America Golf Classic Alumni have combined to win 52 major championships and have earned over $2 billion in career earnings.
The annual event starts with the Titleist Long Drive Contest and PING Putting Contest on Sunday, November 18 at 9 a.m. (MT). The best opportunity for fans to get photos with the future PGA players and obtain autographs is on Sunday immediately following the two contests.
Rounds one and two are scheduled for Monday, November 19 with a shotgun start scheduled for 8 a.m. (MT) while the final round is set for 8 a.m. (MT) on Tuesday, November 20.
The Lee Trevino Trophy will be presented to the winner immediately following Tuesday’s play.
2018 Sun Bowl Marathon All-America Golf Classic Participants
John Augenstein – Hometown: Owensboro, Ky. – Amateur Status: Jr. at Vanderbilt
2018 All-SEC Second Team and 2018 SEC Academic Honor Roll selection
Named to the GCAA Freshman All-American team and as a GCAA Honorable Mention All-American selection in 2017
Named SEC Freshman of the Year and to the All-Freshman Team in 2017
Clinched the SEC Championship in 2017 after winning the deciding matches in the semifinals against Florida and the finals against Texas A&M
Career round of 63 came in second round of Carmel Cup at Pebble Beach Golf Links in 2017
Quade Cummins – Hometown: Weatherford, Okla. – Amateur Status: Jr. at Oklahoma
Division I PING All-America honorable mention selection and All-Region pick by the GCAA after the 2017-18 season
Won the 2016 Oklahoma Amateur Championship
Finished third at The NCAA Norman Regional shooting his fifth 67 on the season. That was the seventh top 10 finish of his career.
Second-team Division I PING All-American after the 2017-18 season
Named a 2017 Division I PING All-America honorable mention selection
Sank championship-clinching putt at the 2017 NCAA Championships
Earned first collegiate win at the 2017 NCAA Stanford Regional
Competed in The 2017 Masters and 2017 U.S. Open
2017 Division I PING All-America honorable mention selection
Finished as the runner-up at the 2016 U.S. Amateur
Alex del Rey – Hometown: Madrid, Spain – Amateur Status: Jr. at Arizona State
Two-time Spanish National Champion (U16/18).
Posted four top-10 finishes and had a 70.89 stroke average in 12 tournaments and had 12 rounds in the 60s in sophomore season.
In 2017-18 he earned All-Pac-12 first-team honors after a solid sophomore season and then earned PING All-West Region honors.
An accomplished junior golfer on the Spanish circuit, he has been a member of the Spanish national team since the age of 14
Chandler Eaton – Hometown: Alpharetta, Ga. – Amateur Status: Jr. at Duke
Named to PING All-East Team after averaging a 71.70 scoring average over 37 rounds, second best on the team
T-15 finish at the NCAA National Championship, giving him honorable mention All-America status
A PING All-East Region selection after the 2016-17 season and was also named to the All-ACC and All-ACC Academic teams that year
Tied for the team lead in rounds played (39) during the 2016-17 season and also garnered the team’s second-best scoring average with a 71.74 that year
Austin Eckroat – Hometown: Edmond, Okla. – Amateur Status: So. at Oklahoma State
Received honorable mention All-America recognition from the Golf Coaches Association of America after the 2017-18 season
Finished at 218 and alone in 19th place at the NCAA Columbus Regional before posting a 1-over 289 total at the NCAA Championship to tie for 19th place. earned a 1-up victory over Alabama’s Davis Shore in the NCAA title match
Runner-up at the 2018 Pacific Coast Amateur
Runner-up to teammate Hayden Wood at the 2018 Oklahoma Golf Association State Amateur Championship
Stephen Franken – Hometown: Raleigh, N.C. – Amateur Status: Sr. at NC State
ACC Player of the Year and ACC Scholar-Athlete of the Year
GCAA and Golfweek Second-Team All-American
All-ACC, ACC Honor Roll and ACC All-Academic Team
Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-America Scholar and PING All-Region East Team selection
Finished season with stroke average of 70.56 in 36 rounds played … Season stroke average was second lowest in program history
In 12 tournaments during his junior year, Franken finished in the top-10 eight times, the top-five six times and won once
Will Gordon – Hometown: Davidson, N.C. – Amateur Status: Sr. at Vanderbilt
2017-18 Scoring Average: 70.89
Named GCAA Honorable Mention All-American and a GCAA All-America Scholar
Won medalist honors at the East Lake Cup in front of a national television audience on the Golf Channel with an even-par 72
2018 SEC Academic Honor Roll, 2018 GCAA Honorable Mention All-American and 2018 All-SEC First Team selection
2017 Tom Cousins Award, 2017 SEC Academic Honor Roll and 2017 SEC Community Service Team
2016 GCAA Freshman All-American, 2016 SEC First Year Academic Honor Roll, 2016 All-SEC Second Team and 2016 SEC All-Freshman Team
Blaine Hale – Hometown: Dallas, Texas – Amateur Status: Sr. at Oklahoma
2017-18 stroke average: 71.69
Division I PING All-America honorable mention selection after the 2017-18 season
All-Region selection by the GCAA
Finished fourth at The 2018 NCAA Norman Regional shooting a 54-hole score of 209 (-7)
Earned wins in the semifinal and final to help OU secure the 2017 NCAA Championship
Shot career-low 64 at Nike Golf Collegiate Invitational (Oct. 1-3)
Two top-5 and six top-10 career finishes during his OU career
2017 Division I PING All-America honorable mention selection
Harry Hall – Hometown: Hayle, England – Amateur Status: Sr. at UNLV
Named PING All-West Region after the 2017-18 season
Selected All-Mountain West for the third straight year
Named a Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-American Scholar and also Academic All-MW for the third straight year
Was a member of the international team at the Arnold Palmer Cup
Finished first in Santa Rosa at the U.S. Amateur Qualifier and also finished first in Las Vegas at the U.S. Open Pre-Qualifier
Earned Dean’s List honors for both Fall 2016 and Spring 2017 and was named to the Academic All-MW team for the second straight year in 2017. He also earned the league’s Scholar-Athlete Award that year
Philip Knowles – Hometown: Bradenton, Fla. – Amateur Status: Sr. at North Florida
PING All-American, honorable mention in 2018 and the North Florida Male Athlete of the Year during the same year
PING All-Southeast Region and All-ASUN First Team in 2017 and 2018
ASUN All-Freshman team in 2016
ASUN All-Academic in 2018 and ASUN Academic Honor Roll for three consecutive years (2017-18 | 2016-17 | 2015-16)
Walker Lee – Hometown: Houston, Texas – Amateur Status: So. at Texas A&M
2017-18 stroke average: 73.03
Tied atop the player leaderboard at the Aggie Invitational (211,-5) to earn his first career victory and was named SEC Freshman of the Week following his win at the Aggie Invite
Finished tied for 32nd at the NCAA Bryan Regional and posted a tie for 41st at the NCAA Championship to help that Aggies advance to match play
Before arriving at Texas A&M, Junior Golf Scoreboard rankings regarded Lee as the No. 2 player in the state of Texas as well as the No. 18 player nationally
Joshua Martin – Hometown: Pinehurst, N.C. – Amateur Status: Sr. at North Carolina
Has played in 18 tournaments with a stroke average of 73.55 over 51 rounds during his time at North Carolina
Semifinalist at the 2016 North Carolina Amateur Match Play Championship (was No. 1 seed after two rounds of stroke play)
The No. 1 ranked player in the state of North Carolina and No. 14 in the nation by Golfweek in 2015
AJGA Rolex All-America selection in 2010 and 2012 • The 2014 North Carolina Junior Player of the Year by the Tar Heel Youth Golf Association and the Carolinas Golf Association
Won the 2014 North Carolina Amateur with rounds of 67-65-71-67 becoming the youngest champion in event’s history
Patrick Martin – Hometown: Birmingham, Ala. – Amateur Status: Sr. at Vanderbilt
Averaged 71.37 strokes per round as a junior
2018 GCAA Honorable Mention All-American, GCAA All-America Scholar and 2018 All-SEC Second Team
2017 Nicklaus Award Finalist, 2017 GCAA First Team All-American, 2017 SEC Academic Honor Roll and 2017 All-SEC First Team
• 2016 All-SEC Second Team, 2016 Tom Cousins Award Winner, SEC First Year Academic Honor Roll and 2016 SEC All-Freshman Team
Led Vanderbilt with 70.34 stroke average in 2016-17, the second-lowest in program history.
Finished runner-up at the SEC Championship after posting a 10-under par, 200, a Vanderbilt record at the event.
Won the Schenkel Invitational in 2017 for his first collegiate individual title
Garrett May – Hometown: Hope, Ark. – Amateur Status: Jr. at Baylor
2016-17 stroke average: 71.24
Earned 2018 Golfweek All-America third team honors and honorable mention All-America from GCAA
Two-time PING All-Central Region selection (2017, 2018)
Two-time Academic All-Big 12 honoree, picking up second team honors in 2017 and first team recognition in 2018
Earned 2018 GCAA All-America Scholar recognition and five-time Big 12 Commissioner’s Honor Roll selection.
2017 & 2018 U.S. Amateur Qualifier, advancing to the quarterfinals in 2018
2018 Srixon/Cleveland Golf All-American Scholar
Qualified for the U.S. Amateur in Pebble Beach, California, advancing to the quarterfinals of match play, the deepest run by a Bearcat in the nation’s top amateur tournament in school history
Jackson Suber – Hometown: Tampa, Fla. – Amateur Status: Fr. at Ole Miss
High School Stroke Average: 71.0
Two-time State individual runner-up
In 2016, was named Tampa Bay Hillsborough Player of the Year, Spectrum Sports Player of the Year, and H.B. Plant’s Player of the Year
Had a third-place finish in the Florida Amateur, a top-20 in the USJR Championship and Florida Boys Jr. Amateur
Named to 2018 Wyndham Cup Team
Travis Trace – Hometown: Jacksonville, Fla. – Amateur Status: Sr. at North Florida
2017-18 Stroke Average: 72.66
2018 PING All-American, honorable mention and PING All-Southeast Region, 2nd team
2018 All-ASUN, 2nd tea
2017 ASUN All-Tournament and 2017-18 ASUN Academic Honor Roll (2017-18)
Became first UNF player to qualify for NCAA DI Championship as an individual in May of 2018
Thomas Walsh – Hometown: High Point, N.C. – Amateur Status: Sr. at Virginia
2017-18 Stroke Average: 70.71
PING third team All-America
Finished the 2017-18 season 39th in final Golfstat ranking and No. 65 by Golfweek
2018 ACC individual champion
Was 12th at the 2018 NCAA Regional
Named an honorable mention All-American by PING/GCAA after the 2016-17 season
Hayden Wood – Hometown: Edmond, Okla. – Amateur Status: Sr. at Oklahoma State
Was named a first-team Academic All-Big 12 pick
Tied for 23rd place at the NCAA Championship
Earned medalist honors at the 2017 U.S. Amateur
Earned honorable mention Rolex All-America honors in 2012
Helped Edmond North to four consecutive Oklahoma Class 6A state titles
Chun An Yu – Hometown: Taoyuan, Taiwan – Amateur Status: Jr. at Arizona State
2017-18 Stroke Average: 71.61
Won the 98th annual Western Junior title in the summer of 2015 as he rallied late and won in a sudden-death playoff and joined the likes of Rickie Fowler, Hunter Mahan and Jim Furyk on the Milt Woodard Champions Trophy.
Won the 2015 Junior Players Championship with a 5-under 67 and won the tournament by one stroke after trailing by six.
Finished second at the 2014 Callaway Junior Championship and finished third at the 2014 Asia games
The Sun Bowl Association has verified the results and winners for the Peter Piper Pizza Sun Bowl Punt, Pass and Kick (PP&K) that was held on Wednesday, October 10 at the Sun Bowl Stadium.
“Since the NFL stopped sponsoring this event last year, we decided to put this together because the kids really enjoy it,” said Sun Bowl Association Executive Director.
“El Paso loves football and we are always finding ways to bring fun events for children in the community. All of the kids did excellent in the competition, and they expressed how much fun they had.”
“On behalf of the Sun Bowl Association, I would like to thank the sponsor of this event, Peter Piper Pizza,” Olivas said. “Also, a big thanks to the El Paso Parks and Recreation department for once again assisting us with this event.”
The winner in each age division will be honored in the 2018 FirstLight Federal Credit Union Sun Bowl Parade on Thanksgiving morning and will also be honored at the 2018 Hyundai Sun Bowl on New Year’s Eve.
Ages 6/7 – Nicholas J. Perez (punt: 6’10”; pass: 20’1”; kick: 26’11”; Total: 53’10”)
Ages 8/9 – Carlos E. Puente (punt: 53’11”, pass: 62’; kick: 46’11”; Total: 162’10”)
UTEP President Diana Natalicio and Director of Athletics Jim Senter today announced the Hunt Family Foundation has made a commitment to give $2 million to assist in the renovation of the Sun Bowl stadium.
“We are grateful to the Hunt family, longtime supporters of The University of Texas at El Paso, for their generosity as we continue to modernize this iconic campus venue,” President Natalicio said. “The Sun Bowl, which recently celebrated its 50th birthday, has been the site of many memorable moments for all of us at UTEP and in the surrounding region. The Hunt family’s generous gift will help ensure that this facility continues to serve the campus and community as a premier venue for major events for many years to come.”
The gift to UTEP Athletics will launch construction of the Hunt Family Sky Lounge, replacing the existing Captain’s Club on the west side of the stadium. The new lounge is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2019.
Director of Athletics Jim Senter said the Sun Bowl stadium renovation project is being conducted in two phases. Phase One included comprehensive work to modernize the stadium’s west concourse. Senter explained that Phase Two will include the new Hunt Family Sky Lounge and other major venue enhancements.
Josh Hunt, Executive Vice President of Hunt Companies and President of the Hunt Family Foundation said, “For generations, our family has been a supporter of UTEP and that certainly includes its athletic programs. UTEP is a critical component in the economic development of this region and the Sun Bowl plays a major role in that as well as in our quality of life. The Sun Bowl Restoration Project will make the stadium a better, more competitive facility and we are pleased to be a part of this initiative.”
“We are so grateful to the Hunt family for their contribution to the Sun Bowl revitalization,” Senter said.
“The excitement for this project continues to grow, and it wouldn’t be possible without the support of tremendous community partners like the Hunt family.” Senter added that UTEP fans can now purchase loge boxes and club seating in the new Sun Bowl.
The Hunt Family Foundation, a private family foundation founded in 1987 by Woody Hunt and his wife Gayle, supports not-for-profit organizations and initiatives that focus on the Paso del Norte region which includes El Paso County, Texas; Doña Ana County, New Mexico; Otero County, New Mexico; and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, México.
The Foundation also supports organizations whose programs impact the state of Texas, and the nation as a whole. Charitable giving is focused on healthcare, education, arts, local heritage, quality-of-life initiatives, and regional economic development.
Officials with the 85th Annual Hyundai Sun Bowl announced on Wednesday that tickets are on sale now for the Southwest’s most iconic bowl game.
The 2018 Hyundai Sun Bowl will kick off at 12 p.m. (MT) Monday, December 31, 2018 and will feature teams from the ACC and Pac-12 conferences.
“I am continually amazed that our local fans are so loyal to this longtime tradition and to see how excited they are every year to return to the Sun Bowl for great football games,” said Hyundai Sun Bowl Executive Director Bernie Olivas.
“Our game is an El Paso tradition and the prices for tickets are very affordable, especially when one compares it to other forms of entertainment.”
Tickets for the game can be purchased online or by calling the Sun Bowl Association office at 915-533-4416. Fans are also invited to stop by the Sun Bowl Association office in El Paso at 4150 Pinnacle Street, Suite 100 to purchase tickets. Fans have already begun purchasing tickets and renewing their ticket plans.
Fans can help send others to the game through our “Salute a Soldier Program” and “Take a Child to the Game Program.”
“As a non-profit organization we are always looking for ways to have others join us in giving back to the community,” Olivas said. “Our ‘Salute a Soldier Program’ and ‘Take a Child to the Game Program’ are two great ways to show love to the community we live in. The Fort Bliss soldiers who have received tickets in the past have been ecstatic and it’s always great to give tickets to children, especially as a Christmas gift.”
The “Salute a Soldier Program” allows fans and companies the opportunity to give a Fort Bliss soldier a memory to last a lifetime. As a sponsor, you will give the soldier an opportunity to attend the game while your company is recognized during the game.
If a fan or company would prefer to take part in the “Take a Child to the Game Program” that person or company affords local children the opportunity to attend the Hyundai Sun Bowl. With the game falling only four days after Christmas, this would make an excellent Christmas gift. The goal is to send 3,000 children to the game and give them an experience they will never forget.
Along with the goodwill that comes with sending a child to the game, any person or company taking part in this program will receive recognition at the game. The Sun Bowl Association is happy to provide a list of youth organizations that your company may choose from, if you do not already have a connection with one in the community. Contact the Sun Bowl Association ticket or marketing offices for details on the two programs.
This year’s game marks the 51st consecutive year the Sun Bowl has been broadcast by CBS, which makes it the second longest program on the same network on all of television only behind the Master’s Golf Tournament.
The Hyundai Sun Bowl also works with Ticketmaster, call the Ticketmaster toll free line at 800-745-3000 or download the Ticketmaster mobile app for both iOS and Android to purchase tickets. Tickets purchased through Ticketmaster will have additional handling and convenience fees.
On Wednesday, the Sun Bowl Association and WestStar Bank announced the match-ups for the 57th Annual WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.
The four-team tournament includes two top-100 (RPI) teams and a former UTEP-conference rival from the Western Athletic Conference. Wyoming returns to El Paso for the holiday tournament and joins East Tennessee State, Norfolk State and home team, UTEP on the hardwood.
“We appreciate all the hard work that the Sun Bowl committee puts into hosting this tournament and finding quality opponents to compete in it year in and year out,” said UTEP Head Coach Rodney Terry.
East Tennessee State, who is making its first appearance in the oldest collegiate holiday basketball tournament in the nation, will open against Wyoming at 5 p.m. (MST) in the Don Haskins Center. Wyoming is making its second appearance in the tournament. The first time the Cowboys played in the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational was in 2007, going 1-1 that year.
UTEP will open the tournament against Norfolk State, which is making its third appearance in the Invitational after making it to the championship game in 2015.
The Miners have played in every tournament since it began in 1961.
In 2009, the tournament was renamed to honor former UTEP head coach and Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Famer Don Haskins. “The Bear” coached at UTEP from 1961 to 1999, winning 719 games and making 14 postseason appearances. Haskins famously led the Miners to victory in the 1966 National Championship game over Adolph Rupp and the heavily favored Kentucky Wildcats.
Officials added, “The Sun Bowl Association would like to thank WestStar Bank for supporting the nation’s oldest holiday basketball tournament as it has been the title sponsor for 10 consecutive years.”
The tournament will be held in the Don Haskins Center, Friday and Saturday, December 21-22.
Staff Report May 7, 2018NewsComments Off on Scott Mann Introduced as Sun Bowl Association’s 85th President
The Sun Bowl Association and Executive Director Bernie Olivas announced Scott Mann is its 85th President for the 2018-19 year this weekend.
As president, Mann will be the spokesman for the Board of Directors and Board of Advisors, as well as the general supervisor of the various association committees and activities.
“Mann’s vast experience and love for the El Paso community is a huge benefit for the Sun Bowl Association,” Olivas said. “His knowledge of the Sun Bowl Association makes him a great fit to lead our Board. We are all looking forward to another great year with Scott at the helm.”
Mr. Mann is an attorney and partner in long-time El Paso law firm, Kemp Smith’s Trial Department. He is also a member of the firm’s Management Committee. The primary focus of his law practice is the defense of healthcare providers in the state and federal courts of Texas and New Mexico, as well as before licensing boards in both states.
Mann will oversee the Association’s continued commitment to El Paso through various events, including the 85th Hyundai Sun Bowl on December 31, 2018. The Sun Bowl Association puts on a variety of other community events, including the Academy Sports + Outdoors Sun Bowl International Soccer Tournament, the Sun Bowl Andeavor All-America Golf Classic, the FirstLight Federal Credit Union Sun Bowl Parade and the WestStar Bank Don Haskins Sun Bowl Invitational.
Over the years, Mr. Mann has participated in a variety of capacities with the Association. He was a member of the basketball committee in 2008 and was part of the golf committee from 2008-2012 and again in 2014.
Mann joined the Board of Directors in 2009 and has been the Association’s Vice President of Legal Affairs since 2012.
Scott Mann is married to Tekla and together they have three children; Reese, Caroline and Walt.
Joining the 85th president of the association on the Board of Directors are Stuart Sliva (President-Elect), Natalia Flores (Executive Vice President), Bill Coon (Immediate Past President), Jimmy Rogers, Jr. (Chair Emeritus), Tamara Gladkowski (Secretary), John Aranda (Treasurer), Bryan Crowe (VP Community Relations), Robert Dunlop (VP Marketing), Scott Mann (VP Legal Affairs), Wayne Thornton (VP Public Relations), Michael Guerra (VP Volunteers), Barry Kobren (Basketball Chairman), Asher Feinberg (CBS Host Chairman), Linda Smith (Coronation Chair), John Folmer (Football Chairman), Mark Pelletier (Golf Chairman), Jim Lawrence (Parade Chairman), Art Muñoz (VP Special Events), Allen Rystad (Provisions Chairman), Richard Dayoub (Board Member)Ernest Eisenberg (Board Member), Travis Hughes (Board Member), Michelle Kaip (Board Member), Richard Limas (Board Member), Victor Rueda (Board Member), Victor Salazar (Board Member), James O. Stewart III (Board Member) and Tony Valtier (Board Member).
The 2018 Sun Bowl Association Board of Advisors is made up of past presidents Amen Ayoub, Steve Beltran, Walker Crowson, Linda East, Chris Mott, Marilyn Munden, Mike Rogers, Joe Valenzuela, along with members Joana Alferez, Ruben Batista, Gil Blancas, Joseph Bocanegra, Cassandra Davisson, Celia Dubrule, David Forti, Greg Groves, Frank Hernandez, Brian Kennedy, Tommy Lewis, David Lindhuber, Leila Melendez, Andre Miranda, David Morales, Cindy Ramos Davidson, Terri Rangel, Jim Senter, Jeff Stevens, Eric Swanson, Brad Taylor, Brooke Underwood, Pat Valdez-Rios, Mario Vega and Rebekah Wierson.
UTEP President Diana Natalicio, Director of Athletics Jim Senter and GECU President and CEO Crystal Long unveiled a vision for the future of Sun Bowl Stadium in a press conference on Friday at the Larry K. Durham Sports Center.
The project will bring spectacular, widespread enhancements to the 55-year-old iconic venue – from a new press box and Sky Lounge to the introduction of the GECU Terrace. Other components of the Sun Bowl project include a renovated concourse with modernized fan amenities, restrooms and ADA capabilities.
“The planned renovation of Sun Bowl Stadium is a key step in our continued campus transformation that enhances the overall experience of our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” President Natalicio said. “We are grateful for the collaboration and support of our longtime community partner GECU as we begin modernizing this iconic facility that serves not only the UTEP campus but the entire region.”
“One of the most beautiful stadiums in college football will become even more breathtaking,” Senter said. “We thank GECU for their partnership, their commitment and their investment in helping get this project underway.”
Located directly beneath the press box, the GECU Terrace will feature club seats, loge boxes and outdoor cantinas. GECU Terrace will be a collaborative place for families to gather year-round to support UTEP, and will also impact the lives of community members through GECU’s financial education and free tax preparation initiatives. It is targeted for completion in 2019, along with the all-new press box and Sky Lounge, which will replace the existing Captain’s Club.
“We’re excited to unveil the GECU Terrace,” Long said. “As a proud partner with UTEP, we work together and share the common goal of improving lives for generations to come.”
Staff Report April 5, 2018NewsComments Off on Sun Bowl International Soccer Tournament Returning for 2018; Early Registration Encouraged
The Sun Bowl Association reached its max capacity for the number of youth soccer teams participating in the 2017 annual Academy Sports + Outdoors Sun Bowl International Soccer Tournament and is hoping to replicate that for the 2018 tournament.
This year’s tournament is set for June 8-10 at the West Side Soccer Complex in El Paso.
“Our job here with the Sun Bowl Association is to put on quality events for the city, and this is just another of the many events the Association produces,” said Bernie Olivas, Executive Director of the Sun Bowl Association. “As a non-profit organization our goal is to put on a great event for the community and especially for the youth of El Paso. We are working to make each event better and better and this tournament has grown from the humble beginnings of 48 teams to the nearly 200 teams that participated in 2017.”
The Academy Sports + Outdoors Sun Bowl International Soccer Tournament brings together soccer teams from El Paso, Juarez, Albuquerque, Tucson, Las Cruces, Midland, Odessa and surrounding areas to compete together in friendly competition.
The tournament is open to boys and girls that range from U6 to U19.
“Teams and the community appreciate this tournament,” said Joe Daubach, the Special Events Director for the Sun Bowl Association. “It’s exciting to challenge all of our volunteers to take this tournament to the next level year after year. We strive to promote El Paso, while encouraging visitors to stay in hotels and eat in local restaurants. Teams leave with a great outlook about El Paso.”
Teams can save money by signing up for the tournament before May 10. The “Early Bird Entry Fee” is as follows:
U6 to U8–$200;
U9 to U12 – $325;
U13 to U19 – $375.
Teams that sign up after May 10 will be charged the full entry fee. Entry fee for teams signing up after May 10 is as follows:
U6 to U8– $225;
U9 to U12 – $350;
U13 to U19 – $400.
Teams will be accepted until a bracket is complete. For more information on the 2018 Annual Academy Sports + Outdoors Sun Bowl International Soccer Tournament,
For more information about the tournament, please contact the Sun Bowl Association at 915-533-4416 or go online.
Only In El Paso is a series of shorts produced, directed and edited by local filmmakers. Cruise around the channel to learn about our culture, community and landscape that makes El Paso so unique.
The Sun Bowl is one of the oldest traditions in college football storied history, with the first Sun Bowl played on January 1st, 1935 as a fundraising event for a local club, and has grown into one of El Paso’s top national attractions. With its stadium nestled between two mountains, it has become a piece of Southwestern sports history.
The Sun Court has been around since the first Sun Bowl game in 1935 and the tradition continues for 2018. Now area young women can apply to take their place among the Sun Court Royalty.
“We are hoping that getting the application out earlier will allow those interested in applying to look at their schedules so that they can be a part of all the events we have,” said Sun Bowl Association Executive Director Bernie Olivas. “This is a great tradition for the Sun Bowl and for El Paso. We tend to get some of the best women in the community to represent the Sun Bowl Association and the City of El Paso.”
In order to be eligible applicants must meet the following criteria. All Sun Princesses must be within the ages of 18-22 as of September 1, 2018. Applicants must be enrolled as a full-time student, with a minimum of 12 credit hours and must hold a GPA of 2.5 or better on a 4.0 grading scale. Applicants may not hold any other title, as well as never being married and have not had any children.
If the applicants meet these requirements they must submit their application, official transcript, professional resume, a 5×7 color head shot, and an essay by Friday, June 15, 2018. Applications are available online.
The essay may contain no more than 500 words explaining their; community involvement, activities, awards, employment, and simply information on themselves and why they would like to be a Sun Princess.
Interviews will held at 4150 Pinnacle Street, on Saturday, July 7, 2018 starting at 9 a.m. All applicants will be notified with their interview schedule after the application deadline on Friday, June 15, 2018.
If applicants are selected as a 2018 Sun Princess, they will then be eligible for the Sun Queen competition in 2019. The 2018 Sun Queen will be based on the performance of the 2017 Sun Princesses during the Sun Bowl events of that year.
Any and all questions can be answered by Amber Herrera either by email (email@example.com) or by phone at (915)-533-4416.
This year’s Sun Court Coronation will be on Saturday, August 1, 2018.
Not one, not two, but three rushing touchdowns for North Carolina State’s running back Nyheim Hines in the first half proved to be the difference for the Wolfpack as they defeated Arizona State 52-31 in the 84th Hyundai Sun Bowl.
The Wolfpack controlled the game from the start, forcing a fumble on the second play from scrimmage and turnovers proved to be costly for the Sun Devils as quarterback Manny Wilkins was intercepted three times to swing momentum back to the Wolfpack just when it seemed they were creeping back into the contest.
Hines’ three scores earned him game MVP honors accounting for half of the the rushing touchdowns for the Wolfpack on the day setting a new Sun Bowl record of six.
“This is all due to the offensive line, they did a great job blocking, we’ve had two thousand-yard rushers the past two years so this is a testament to all the offensive linemen,” Hines said. “It’s an honor (to win MVP) it’s really humbling, I didn’t think things like this were possible when I was younger.”
The Sun Devils looked to be gaining momentum after trailing 21-3 late in the second quarter, cutting the Wolfpack lead 21-10, but a failed onside kick gave the ball back to NC State with just over two minutes on the clock.
The Wolfpack took advantage as quarterback Ryan Finley hit Jakobi Meyers on a flat route who then broke a tackle for a 25-yard touchdown to take a 28-10 lead with one minute left in the half.
A muffed punt by Hines in the third quarter gave ASU life who trailed by 21 at that point. The Sun Devils gave it right back after quarterback, Manny Wilkins threw the ball into double coverage to be intercepted by Jarius Morehead for a touch back ending any momentum for ASU.
“I don’t think we turned the ball over four times in one game all year, I don’t think we turned it over twice in one game and that was the difference in the game,” ASU head coach, Todd Graham said. “We have to give them a lot of credit, they’re a very good football team. They came out and we just couldn’t stop them, I don’t think they punted the ball at all in the first half. You have to play better defense than that to have a chance.”
Graham, was fired hours after defeating in-state rival, Arizona, to become bowl eligible and was still tasked to coach the Sun Devils in the Sun Bowl.
Former NFL head coach and ESPN commentator, Herm Edwards, is replacing Graham as their head man.
“It’s very uncomfortable and it’s hard not to have emotion,” Graham said. “I’m going to coach until they throw dirt on my head, I’m going to be a football coach. This has been, for my wife and I, a once in a lifetime opportunity. It’s great for them to be here, my son Michael was with us, there was a lot of tears but really no sadness, I’ve go a full heart.”
The Wolfpack controlled nearly every facet of the game, from their record-setting six rushing touchdowns, forcing four turnovers and time of possession, holding the ball for just over 32 minutes.
“We were dominating the line of scrimmage, running the ball, catching it, throwing it,” NC State head coach, Dave Doeren , said. “I just think we got hot and finished drives, guys really started fast, got a takeaway and did some really good things.”
Doeren congratulated players and coaches on the field after the game, but suddenly stopped to dance with his wife.
“They were playing Marty Robbins’ El Paso, great song. Had to dance that one,” Doeren said.
Despite the comeback attempts, the Wolfpack kept countering with scores of their own and applying pressure to Wilkins all game long as linebacker, Airius Moore, intercepted Wilkins with just under one minute left to play to seal the win for the Wolfpack.
“We showed that we’re a great defense, (Bradley) Chubb is a great player, but the guys that filled his spot stepped up so that’s big for us it just shows that we’re a complete team,” Moore said. “It felt good (getting the interception), I’m a senior, I wish I didn’t take that knee but that’s just how it happened.”
Chubb elected to not play in the bowl game as he prepares for the NFL and is projected to be a top 10 draft pick.
“This team is a great team with or without me, I knew that from the get go…this team didn’t need me to play, they have so many great players,” Chubb said. “That’s why I didn’t come out and say it publicly that I wasn’t playing, because I didn’t want the focus to be on me. This is a great team that got us to the Sun Bowl and I’m happy for them.”