The game, which was telecast at 12 PM MT on ESPN, featured the UTEP Miners from Conference USA and the BYU Cougars from the Mountain West Conference. Both are former members of the Western Athletic Conference where the Cougars dominated the series with a 28–7–1 record. BYU, making its 29th bowl appearance, came into the game winning five out of seven games after a 1–4 start. UTEP, in just its 13th bowl, had dropped six of seven after opening the season 5–1. Both teams were making their first New Mexico Bowl appearance. UTEP was the first team from outside the WAC or MWC to play in the game due to the bowl organizers wanting a more regional matchup. 
BYU won the game in dominating fashion by a score of 52–24. Freshman quarterback Jake Heaps took home MVP honors with a game-record four touchdown passes, helping his team to a 31–3 second quarter lead. UTEP has lost five straight bowl games, the second-longest streak in the nation.