Some Gildan New Mexico Bowl nuts and bolts:
• Formation of the game was formally announced on May 1, 2006. “The New Mexico college bowl means that New Mexico is now a major player in college athletics,” then-New Mexico governor Bill Richardson said at a news conference.
Tourism and national exposure were touted that day as the prime reasons for the initiative. It was clear, though, that the New Mexico Lobos’ failure to land a bowl bid in 2005 despite being bowl-eligible had something to do with it. The Lobos lost to San Jose State, 20-12, in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl on Dec. 23, 2006.
New Mexico has been offered and has accepted an invitation to play in the New Mexico Bowl each of the four times it has been bowl-eligible.
• From its inception, the New Mexico Bowl has been owned by ESPN Regional Television and has aired each year on ESPN.
• In recent years, the game’s economic impact to Albuquerque and New Mexico has been estimated at $5 million.
• Gildan, a Canadian apparel manufacturer, signed on as the game’s title sponsor in 2011. Through the years, the state of New Mexico has contributed in varying amounts.
• The New Mexico Bowl’s payout to the participating teams is $456,250, fourth- or fifth-lowest among the six bowls with Mountain West Conference tie-ins. (The Arizona Bowl in Tucson has no predetermined payout.) But payouts from all the Mountain West bowls are pooled and shared equally by the member schools.
• According to Sports Media Watch, last year’s New Mexico Bowl game between UNM and Arizona drew a television audience of 1.832 million. That figure was down from 1.92 million for the 2014 game between Utah State and UTEP and from 2.77 million for the 2013 game between Colorado State and Washington State.
RECRUITING: New Mexico has offered a scholarship to a second junior-college quarterback.
For both Rathen Ricedorff and Jordan Taamu, there’s stiff competition.
Ricedorff, who played at Mesa (Ariz.) Community College, received the UNM offer this week. He led the junior-college ranks in passing yards (3,685) and passing touchdowns (42) this season.
He also has an offer from Boise State.
New Mexico was the first NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision school to offer a scholarship to Taamu, who played at New Mexico Military Institute. He ranked second nationally behind Ricedorff in passing touchdowns (32) and was third in passing yards (3,014).
The UNM offer was extended in October. Since then, Taamu has received offers from Ole Miss, Minnesota and Southern Mississippi.
Neither Ricedorff nor Taamu put up impressive rushing stats this season. Running ability is a prerequisite for a quarterback in UNM’s triple-option offense. Both, however, ran effectively as high school seniors.
Ricedorff, as a senior at Show Low (Ariz.) High School in 2010 rushed for 482 yards and 10 touchdowns with 5.2-yard average per carry. He served a two-year LDS church mission, then spent a year as a redshirt freshman at Arizona State before transferring to Mesa.
Mesa lists him at 6-foot-1 and 200 pounds.
Taamu is from Pearl City, Hawaii, where as a senior in 2014 he rushed for 392 yards and a 5.9 average per carry with two touchdowns. He’s listed by NMMI at 6-3 and 200 pounds.
The Lobos have three scholarship quarterbacks on the 2016 roster with eligibility remaining past this season.
Starter Lamar Jordan will be a senior next fall. JaJuan Lawson will be a redshirt junior, Tevaka Tuioti a redshirt freshman. Derek Martinez, a walk-on from Cibola, will be a sophomore.
Senior quarterback Austin Apodaca, who like Ricedorff played at Mesa, will suit up for his final game as a Lobo next Saturday.
PROPS FOR DAVIE: UNM coach Bob Davie, in an online item written by Paul Myerberg of USA Today, was listed as among the 10 college coaches who did the best job in 2016.
Davie guided the Lobos to an 8-4 regular-season record, UNM’s best since 2007.
Not listed, not even in “the next five” or for honorable mention, was Wyoming’s Craig Bohl, who was voted the Mountain West Coach of the Year.