LAS CRUCES - When asked on Saturday which bowl game he hopes the New Mexico State football team will play in, Aggies head coach Jerry Kill said, "Whichever game we can win."
Kill will look for his first bowl game victory as a FBS head coach in the Quick Lane Bowl on Dec. 26 against Bowling Green at Ford Field in Detroit. Kickoff is slated for 12:30 p.m. Mountain Time on ESPN.
Kill faces a team from the MAC, where he lost in the 2008 Independence Bowl and the 2009 International Bowl while at Northern Illinois. Kill did beat Bowling Green during the 2008 season, but NM State and Bowling Green have never played against each other.
The Aggies finished the regular season 6-6 in Kill's first year as head coach, leading the school to its fifth bowl game appearance and first since the Aggies won the Arizona Bowl in 2017.
"I started my career as a head coach at 32 years old at Saginaw Valley State in Michigan so I have a lot of ex players wanting tickets right now so I told them to go buy them," Kill said. "I think the biggest thing is I want to thank all the fans who came out and supported us. They bought stock in the team and you have to deliver when you buy a stock so we tried to deliver as best as we could."
The Quick Lane Bowl has bowl tie-ins with the Mid American Conference and the Big Ten, but the independent Aggies took a Big Ten slot against 6-6 Bowling Green (5-3 MAC). The Quick Lane Bowl has a projected payout of $2 million split between the schools, but since NM State is in its last year as an independent, the Aggies athletic department should pocket its share of $1 million.
NM State athletics director Mario Moccia did not know Sunday what the ticket sales requirement the program would need to meet as any shortfall would likely come from the bowl payout, but he urged supporters to buy tickets through New Mexico State through the Pan American Center ticket office by calling (575) 646-1420 beginning Monday at noon.
"This is a quality bowl, we are taking a Big 10 slot on ESPN," Moccia said. "A lot of people also say it would be great if it was just down the street like it was in Tucson (in 2017). We have terrific partners at the New Mexico Bowl. ... It just didn't really work out this time. ... There are a lot of things they don't control when it comes to game selection. We will do whatever we can to see if our supporters can help raise some funds for the band tickets and stuff like that so we will be announcing that shortly."
Jason Groves can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or @JPGroves on Twitter.
This article originally appeared on Las Cruces Sun-News: New Mexico State headed to Detroit for Quick Lane Bowl vs. Bowling Green