This is an archived article that was published on in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

UTEP running back Aaron Jones considers himself an extremely competitive guy. That is why he loves what he sees when he studies tape of the Utah State defense.

"I want to go against the best every week, and they are one of the best in the country," he said. "We want to prove that we are a good team, so I'm excited."

Fans should be excited too, since Saturday's New Mexico Bowl is a classic matchup between a good rushing team and solid defense. The game will be televised on ESPN with a 12:20 p.m. kickoff.

Jones, a 5-foot-10, 185-pound sophomore, leads UTEP's rushing attack. Despite missing one game with an injury, he still had the sixth-best single-season rushing total in program history, finishing with 1,233 yards on 217 carries. He had 11 rushing touchdowns and totaled 1,517 all-purpose yards, the ninth-most in his school's history.

His talents certainly caught the attention of USU coach Matt Wells, who credited Jones' talent plus a good offensive line for helping the Miners average 212.7 rushing yards a game.

"They've opened up holes, he does a good job of running behind his pads and he has good vision," Wells said. "He's a weapon."

Jones had six 100-plus yard games this year as he became the first UTEP player since Donald Buckram rushed for 1,594 yards in 2009 to break the 1,000-yard mark.

The El Paso, Texas, native said he isn't worried about being the biggest concern for the Aggies; he has been a marked man all year, yet his offensive line keeps finding ways for him to be successful.

"We have to execute our blocks well," he said. "They're physical and they have a lot of movement, but I think I'm patient too. When it comes to running I can sit behind my blocks but then if I get a break I can go fast."

He has been successful enough to help the Miners enjoy one of the biggest turnarounds in college football this season. The Miners finished 2-10 in 2013, but improved to 7-5 under second-year coach Sean Kugler.

Getting a bowl win would be the next step in the program's return to success, Jones said. The Miners haven't won a bowl game since 1967 and are on a five-game bowl losing streak.

"We're glad we made the bowl, but we want to win to show we are a good program," Jones said. "We've been the underdogs in a lot of games this year, and we have proved a lot of people wrong, and we want to do that again. We can send our seniors out winning."

The question is, can his best be good enough to beat the Aggies, who were solid against the run all year until Boise State's Jay Ajayi burned them for 229 yards and five touchdowns in the Broncos' 50-19 win.

That game embarrassed Utah State's defense, and the Aggies are determined to stop Jones, defensive end B.J. Larsen said.

"We've tapered off a bit toward the end of the season," he said of Utah State's run defense. "It's really our job, and a pride issue to get that back."

Jones, for one, is looking forward to the challenge.

"They're good against the run, and that is what we like to do," he said. "They're a great opponent."

Prep girls' basketball: Alta 47, Skyline 41

P • Alta senior and Alaska transplant Brandy Bookout made a trey with 1:34 reamaining to break a 38-38 tie, propelling the Hawks to a victory over the Eagles on Tuesday night. •

UTEP by the numbers

Passing yds • 144.3

Rushing yds • 212.7

Points for • 28.3

Points against • 28.7

QB Jameill Showers • 146 of 262, 1,732 yds, 12 TDs

RB Aaron Jones • 217 carries, 1,233 yds, 11 TDs

WR Ian Hamilton • 24 receptions, 506 yds, 2 TDs