BYU Cougars devour the UTEP Miners in New Mexico Bowl

December is typically a pretty slow month for me so I decided I would do the New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque, NM. With it being a day game the light would be amazing and make for some fun photos.

On top of the great light that day games usually provide at this stadium, I like covering the event because its an easy travel day with a short one hour flight there. When you fly as much as I do you will understand how I would choose my events based on what has a shorter flight. Ahh but I digress, on with the game.

The first thing I noticed upon landing at the Albuquerque Sunport was the heavy clouds which would end up killing the sun the entire game.

Oh well, even without cool light I will admit that I was excited for this game as it would be my first shoot with my new Nikon D3s.

Below, UTEP Miners quarterback Trevor Vittatoe is surrounded by teammates as they take the field for warmups prior to the game against the BYU Cougars in the 2010 New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 500iso, f4, 1/1600th, Aperture Priority

Walking from the “photo workroom” (which is really just a few tables set up in a crowded and noisy hallway) out towards the field I noticed a potential cool feature photo with a reflection off the window of the building. Below is a test shot I did of the BYU marching band heading out to the field.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual

I was happy with the photo and envisioned a kick ass shot with the BYU football team in uniforms heading out to the field before the game. A few minutes before the team would head out I walked back to the spot to set up. One problem….

A damn catering service parked a big truck and a security guard parked a UTV right in the middle of where I needed to line up the shot. Below is the glorious reminder that no matter how good you are (or think you may be) that there can always be things that occur beyond your control to ruin the best planned ideas.

Nikon D700, 24-70mm, 640iso, f4, 1/1600th, Manual

Below, UTEP Miners head coach Mike Price leads his players out of the tunnel prior to the game.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 400iso, f4, 1/640th, Aperture Priority

I really wish I had a better angle and background for the below shot of UTEP Miners wide receiver Marlon McClure as he jumped up and down to get himself hyped up to receive the opening kickoff. (For the record he dropped the kickoff and was relegated to downing the ball in the endzone.  #hypefail)

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 640iso, f5.6, 1/1000th, Manual

As with all football games, my initial concern was getting some decent shots of the quarterbacks and a bit of game action real quick to have something to post to the web for clients.

Below, USA; BYU Cougars quarterback (9) Jake Heaps looks for a receiver in the second quarter against the UTEP Miners in the 2010 New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 800iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual

BYU Cougars wide receiver (6) McKay Jacobson runs the ball in the first quarter against the UTEP Miners, below.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 640iso, f5.6, 1/1600th, Manual

Below, BYU Cougars wide receiver (2) Cody Hoffman does his best pretzel impression in the first quarter.

Nikon D3s, 400mm with 1.4 convertor (5500mm), 640iso, f5.6, 1/2000th, Manual

UTEP Miners quarterback (10) Trevor Vittatoe throws a pass in the first quarter, below.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 800iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

After that I ran to the photo room and sent out a few quick shots before heading back out to the field to hopefully shoot some good game action.

Another thing I should mention is before every college football game I shoot I always research both teams online to see who is projected to be a future NFL player. All the research I did on both teams really didn’t provide me with much as far as players with NFL talents except an offensive lineman named Matt Reynolds. Linemen are much harder to get shots of simply because they aren’t touching the ball (which is what most photographers follow) but I made sure to try and get some shots of him in action.

Below, BYU Cougars offensive lineman (70) Matt Reynolds in action during the first half against the UTEP Miners.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 640iso, f5.6, 1/1600th, Manual

UTEP offensive lineman Rod Huntley sits on the sidelines during the first half, below.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 800iso, f4, 1/640th, Manual

UTEP Miners wide receiver Pierce Hunter (below) dives for a first down in the second quarter against the BYU Cougars in the 2010 New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 800iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual

Here is an example of a cool shot ruined by players in the foreground, this is the number one way for cool sports photos to be ruined. One day I will have to do a blog on all my awesome shots ruined by a referee, umpire or player in the foreground….

Below, BYU Cougars offensive lineman Braden Hansen (left) pushes the helmet off UTEP Miners defensive lineman Ruben Munoz as they fight during the 2010 New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 800iso, f4.5, 1/1250th, Manual

BYU Cougars running back (10) J.J. Di Luigi runs into the end zone for a third quarter touchdown against the UTEP Miners, below.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Below, UTEP Miners quarterback (10) Trevor Vittatoe throws a pass in the third quarter against the BYU Cougars.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 1000iso, f4.5, 1/1000th, Manual

I had been getting some solid photos but nothing really indicative of the BYU Cougars domination of the game. When a team is beating the hell out of the other team (like in this game) the photos most editorial clients will run is action shots of the team scoring touchdowns or the team celebrating. I really had not gotten much of either. But in the second half it would get better for me.

Below, BYU Cougars wide receiver (2) Cody Hoffman leaps into the air to catch a third quarter touchdown pass against the UTEP Miners

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Following the catch Hoffman would celebrate with the ball, below.

Nikon D700, 80-200mm, 500iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

The band celebrates with an annoying tune, below.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 1250iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual

In the fourth quarter BYU Cougars running back Joshua Quezada (below) dives into the end zone for a touchdown.

Nikon D3s, 400mm, 1250iso, f4, 1/1250th, Manual

In the closing minutes of the victory over UTEP I was near the BYU sidelines wondering if the team was gonna dunk head coach Bronco Mendenhall. I really didn’t think it was going to happen since the victory would make BYU 7-6 which isn’t very impressive for a team that was much better the last few years. That combined with the fact that the temperatures were in the 40s led me to believe that no way in hell they’d dunk him.

Nevertheless I still hung out on the team bench just in case. Good thing I did…..

Just before the clock would hit zero BYU Cougar players bombarded head coach Bronco Mendenhall with a full cooler of powerade, below.

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

Unfortunately they weren’t sleuth enough to nail him before he noticed. Once he saw the shower coming he launched into a full speed run towards me…..

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

……with an athletic back arch mid run…..

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

…..he was able to avoid the dousing.

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/1000th, Manual

#coachdunkfail

Here is a video with highlights of the game including the dunk at the end, if you look on the left you can see me in action.

After the non dunk Mendenhall was surrounded by his celebrating players. It was hard to get in close so I had to bust out the “hail mary” and blindly hold the camera above my head towards the action.

First attempt was an epic fail, below.

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/800th, Manual

Here we go, thats better.

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/800th, Manual

For a brief moment the players lifted Mendenhall onto their shoulders, below.

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/800th, Manual

Below, BYU Cougars defensive back (7) Brian Logan lifts the champions trophy following the game against the UTEP Miners in the 2010 New Mexico Bowl at University Stadium. BYU defeated UTEP 52-24.

Nikon D3s, 24-70mm, 1600iso, f4, 1/800th, Manual

And after sending out a few shots it was time to haul ass to the airport three miles away from the stadium for my flight home.

All in a days work!

I got an ESPN the Magazine doubletruck out of the game.

Here are a few screen shots from the game:

One Response to “BYU Cougars devour the UTEP Miners in New Mexico Bowl”

  1. Ariel says:

    Great work Mark, as usual. Your header shots at the top are sick…

    You know, there used to be a site dedicated to shots of refs getting in the way. Refass.com or something. :)

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