The Lobos had their hands full in the 2016 Gildan New Mexico Bowl, battling tough conditions and an even tougher opponent in a quest to win their first bowl game since 2007.
With temperatures in the 40s and an unrelenting wind, most probably believed the weather would favor the run-oriented Lobos.
Though New Mexico (9-4) featured the nation’s top rushing attack, Texas-San Antonio (6-7) outrushed the Lobos by gaining 246 yards on the ground compared to 219 for the Lobos.
The Lobos got all it could handle from the
“UTSA was everything we thought they would be,” Davie said. “It was a well-played game, I thought the atmosphere was fantastic.”
The Roadrunners struck first in the game when Jarveon Williams, who looked like he would be tackled for a loss, squirted free for a 38-yd run.
The run led to an eventual 27-yd Victor Falcon field goal, after UTSA head coach Frank Wilson got his kicker closer with a successful gamble on fourth down.
The Lobos responded with a
New Mexico went back on top after it found the end zone on a 9 play,
UTSA appeared to be poised to reclaim the lead when Williams took the team down to the 1-yard line. But penalties stymied the drive as the Roadrunners were forced to settle for a field goal after being flagged for an illegal substitution, delay of game and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Wilson said he believed the substitution was legal, as the player was in the game on the previously play, and there shouldn’t have been a penalty. He said the penalties were disappointing and felt they were out of character for his team.
But the UTSA head coach said he was proud of his team and its fans. He said they represented well and had nothing to hang their heads about after the performance.
“I told them to hold their heads up high and to recognize they had nothing to be ashamed of,” Wilson said of his post-game message to the team. “They gave a valiant effort against a very quality football team.”
Lobo quarterback Lamar Jordan attempted his first pass just before halftime, hitting Gipson for an 18-yd pickup. It set up an impressive 52 yard boot by kicker Jason Sanders to add three more points before the end of the half, making the score 10-6.
UNM appeared to take control of the game after Teriyon Gipson capped the opening
Junior Roadrunner quarterback Dalton Sturm drove his team down for a potential answer, but there seemed to be confusion on a pass play and Lobo safety Lee Crosby made an interception at the 26-yd line.
But the Lobos were unable to capitalize on the turnover and UTSA scored on its subsequent possession with a 16-yd TD strike to Trevor Stevens. The extra point cut the lead to 16-13.
Jordan didn’t pass often, completing 3-of-4 through the air, but the throws were timely and made a big impact. Wide receiver Dameon Gamblin was snuffed out on a reverse, but the quarterback found him for a
With the Lobos clinging to a
The roll of the dice paid off, as McQuarley picked up the necessary yardage to move the chains and punched it in on the next run to put UNM in the lead 23-13 with 2:22 remaining in the game.
The Roadrunners made it interesting, going the length of the field to score again with 25 seconds left. Strum’s 4-yd touchdown to JaBryce Taylor made the score 23-20, but UTSA was unable to recover the onside kick to get another chance to score.
Chris Davis Jr. suffocated the ball to recover the kick and Jordan kneeled out the clock to give New Mexico its first bowl victory since a 23-0 victory over Nevada in 2007, also in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
It is only the fifth time in program history the Lobos have won nine games in a season. Jordan was named
UTSA’s Williams led all runners with 125 yards on the ground, while Jordan threw for 77 yards to go with his 81 rushing yards.
Robert Maler is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers football and men’s and women’s tennis. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @robert_maler.