The University of New Mexico Lobos will be home for the holidays. The Lobos accepted a bid for the 10th Annual Gildan New Mexico Bowl, to be played in UNM's home stadium of University Stadium, with an old foe awaiting them in the Arizona Wildcats out of the Pac-12 Conference.
The game renews a rivalry that dates back to when the respective states were just territories in 1908. New Mexico became the 47th state on Jan. 6, 1912, while Arizona the 48th state on Feb. 14, 1912. The first meeting was Nov. 26, 1908, with Arizona winning 10-6 in Albuquerque.
From 1938 through 1990, the two teams played for ownership of the Kit Carson Rifle. A Springfield 1866 model rifle that was rumored to have belonged to frontier scout Kit Carson, the game scores from each game from 1938 through 1990 were carved into the stock of the rifle. The rifle was retired prior to the 1997 Insight.com Bowl. Both teams were formerly in the same conferences for a while, the Border Conference and the Western Athletic Conference.
The Lobos enter the contest with an overall record of 7-5 and 5-3 in the Mountain West, tying for second place in the Mountain Division. Arizona started out great, but dropped four of its past five finishing at 6-6, and fifth in the Pac-12 South. The teams actually have a pair of common opponents from 2015 in Arizona State and Nevada. UNM lost to Arizona State (34-10) and also to Nevada (35-17), while Arizona defeated Nevada (44-20) and lost to Arizona State (52-37).
The selection of Arizona gives UNM a unique feat of facing both Fiesta Bowl opponents from a year ago, as Boise State defeated Arizona 38-30 in that game.
The meeting between the Lobos and the Wildcats will be the 67th all-time meeting between the two programs, and the first since 2008, when the Lobos defeated Arizona 36-28 in University Stadium. The game is a rematch of the 1997 Insight.com Bowl, won 20-14 by Arizona in Tucson.
New Mexico will be making its 12th bowl appearance in school history and its sixth since 2002, but just the first since 2007. It will also be making its third appearance in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, having appeared previously in 2006 and 2007. The 2006 appearance in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl was a 20-12 loss to San Jose State. In 2007, UNM again made it to the New Mexico Bowl, shutting out the Nevada Wolf Pack and Colin Kaepernick by a 23-0 count. That ended a 46-year drought without a bowl win for the Lobos. Overall UNM is 3-7-1.
For Arizona, the 10th Annual GIldan New Mexico Bowl is its 20th bowl appearance, and is 8-10-1 overall. The Wildcats are playing in their fourth straight bowl game.
New Mexico has actually won the last two in the series, which Arizona leads 43-20-3. Aside from the 36-28 win over the Wildcats in 2008, UNM took a 29-27 win in Tucson in 2007. Those two meetings were the first regular season meetings between the two schools since 1990.
For complete ticket information, visit UNM Tickets.
NOTES...Arizona led 24-14-1 in the battle for Kit Carson's Rifle…New Mexico will be playing in its home stadium, but UNM will have a different perspective on the game as the Lobos will occupy the East sideline and UNM's fans will be on the East grandstands...normally UNM's bench is on the west sideline...both teams won their last Gildan New Mexico Bowl appearance, with Arizona defeating Nevada in 2012, 49-48.