New Mexico Bowl: Arizona Wildcats vs. New Mexico Lobos

Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Arizona Wildcats vs. New Mexico Lobos

Date: Dec. 19, 2 p.m. ET on ESPN

Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico | University Stadium

Arizona Wildcats

Best moment: Upsetting No. 10 Utah in double overtime to become bowl eligible. The Wildcats were a disappointing 2-5 in conference play heading into their matchup with the Utes, including a demoralizing 49-3 loss to Washington just two weeks earlier. The win also had implications for the Pac-12 title as it pushed the Utes into a tie with USC for control of the South (and the Trojans held the tiebreaker since they had won in the head-to-head battle).

Lowest moment: Losing the Territorial Cup. Rich Rodriguez and Todd Graham have said it every year: The Territorial Cup is the most important game on the schedule. Last season it was the game that decided the South champion. This season it was for two teams that had mediocre years. With quarterback Anu Solomon out, the Wildcats' pass game struggled. Backup Brandon Dawkins threw for 350 yards, but that was paired with two touchdowns, two interceptions and a 53 percent completion rate.

Key player: Scooby Wright. If the Wildcats’ star middle linebacker isn’t on the bench there’s a decent chance Arizona picks up at least two more wins. His play was sorely missed and the Wildcats could’ve desperately used an emotional leader like Wright out there at times this season.

Motivation level: Hungry. If the Wildcats can get healthy in time for the bowl game, this will be a group that’s eager to prove that it’s better than a 6-6 record. If this is Wright’s last game in an Arizona uniform, expect him to come out and put on a show.

-- Chantel Jennings

New Mexico Lobos

Best moment: The Lobos posted their biggest win of the Bob Davie era when they upset No. 24 Boise State, 31-24, on the blue turf, becoming just the fifth team to win at Boise since 1999. The Broncos had won 18 in a row at home before the defeat. It was the Lobos’ first win over the Broncos in seven games, and it set them up to win the Mountain West's Mountain Division after being picked last in the preseason media poll.

Lowest moment: One of the toughest things for a team to do is maintain a level head after a big win, and the Lobos failed to do that a week after beating Boise State. They returned home and lost, 28-21, to Colorado State -- undone by three interceptions -- the defeat knocking New Mexico out of contention for the conference's Mountain Division championship and giving the title to Air Force outright. The Lobos would beat Air Force, 47-35, to conclude the regular season, but it didn't matter.

Key player: Linebacker Dakota Cox is the heart and soul of the improved Lobos defense, which ranks fourth in scoring in the Mountain West (27 points per game) after ranking 11th last year (36 points per game). Cox leads the Lobos in tackles and ranks second in tackles for a loss (11) and sacks (5). He also has an interception.

Motivation level: Extremely high, particularly if the Lobos end up playing what amounts to a home game in the New Mexico Bowl. This will be New Mexico's first bowl game since 2007, and Davie has led a significant turnaround for a program that seemed to be fading.

-- Ted Miller