ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Freshman Jake Heaps threw four touchdown passes, connecting with Cody Hoffman on three scores, and finished with 264 yards passing to help BYU beat overmatched Texas-El Paso 52-24 on Saturday in the New Mexico Bowl.
It capped a big turnaround for the Cougars (7-6), whose 1-4 start included a rare loss to instate rival Utah State. At that point, BYU coach Bronco Mendenhall told his team it would be a remarkable feat to reach a bowl game and win it.
Mission accomplished for the Cougars, who won five of their last seven regular-season games to become bowl eligible. In the first game of college football's bowl season, Mendenhall's team showed just how far BYU came by dominating the Miners (6-7).
Hoffman had eight catches for 137 yards, while Joshua Quezada ran for 101 yards and J.J. DiLuigi added 98 yards on the ground to help the Cougars in their final contest before they begin play as an independent in football next season.
Trevor Vittatoe, who postponed surgery on his left ankle just so he could play in the postseason, threw three TD passes for UTEP, all to Kris Adams on plays of 67, 37 and 49 yards.
Northern Illinois 40, Fresno State 17
BOISE, Idaho (AP) - Quarterback Chandler Harnish ran for two touchdown and threw for another, and Northern Illinois made interim coach Tom Matukewicz a winner in his only game in charge.
After failing on fourth down at the Fresno State 31 on their opening possession, the Huskies were not stopped. They scored the next seven times they touched the ball, getting touchdown runs of 7 and 28 yards from Harnish, and a 22-yard TD pass to Kyle Skarb in the final minute of the first half to take a 23-10 lead.
Northern Illinois (11-3) earned a school-record 11th victory by settling a turbulent two-week stretch that started with a loss to Miami, Ohio in the Mid-American Conference title game, then was compounded 48 hours later by the departure of head coach Jerry Kill for Minnesota.
Running back Chad Spann ran for two touchdowns to take the national lead, for now, with 22 rushing TDs this season. Ryan Colburn threw two touchdowns for Fresno State, but the Bulldogs (8-5) fell to 0-6 in bowl games against non-BCS teams since 1999.
Troy 48, Ohio 21
NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Corey Robinson threw for 387 yards and four touchdowns, and Troy routed Ohio to set a New Orleans Bowl scoring record.
Robinson completed 23 passes for 285 yards and four TDs in the first half alone, when Troy (8-5) raced to a 38-7 lead. Tebiarus Gill had a New Orleans Bowl-record three touchdowns, all on receptions in the first half.
Troy finished with 602 offensive yards - also a New Orleans Bowl record.
The Trojans had a 371-39 advantage in offensive yards through the first two quarters, by which time it was apparent Ohio (8-5) was going to drop to 0-5 in its bowl history.
The Bobcats' Boo Jackson passed for 209 yards and three TDs.