A 53-yard field goal from Jason Sanders with time expiring and an impressive outing for the New Mexico defense allowed the Lobos to secure a close win over the Tulsa Golden Hurricane, 16-13.
Playing without starting quarterback Lamar Jordan, who is still injured following a vicious hit last Thursday at Boise State, and without backup Tevaka Tuioti, meant that the man running New Mexico’s offense was third-stringer Coltin Gerhart.
The Lobos started out strong in the first half and wasted no time putting points on the board. They drove 79 yards down the field and Gerhart capped it off with a 19-yard touchdown run. The defense came out and showed that they were ready to play immediately and forced a turnover on downs.
However, the Lobos continued to be plagued by fumbles, as Richard McQuarley fumbled on the first play of the second drive and Tulsa was able to recover in New Mexico territory. Unfortunately for Tulsa, the Lobos’ defense held strong once again — something they did all afternoon — and held Tulsa to a field goal.
From there, the Lobos put together a drive that lasted 8:41 and spanned 73 yards but were unable to turn it into a touchdown, and the team had to settle for a field goal. Tulsa was able to turn the ensuing possession into a quick touchdown to tie the game at ten. The Lobos’ next drive was more of the same: another sustained drive, this time eight plays for 59 yards, but again they failed to put the ball in the end zone and had to settle for a field goal. A pair of punts rounded out the half with the game tied 13-10.
The second half was again the story of the defenses, especially Tulsa’s, as second half adjustments paid off. The Lobos started their first drive of the second half after a Tulsa punt and were putting together a very promising drive, but it came to an abrupt end when Gerhart fumbled within the 10 yard line.
The Golden Hurricane capitalized again on the turnover, cashing in with a field goal to tie the game up at 13 at the beginning of the fourth quarter. Tulsa’s defense did everything it could to give their offense a chance to win in the game, forcing an interception and a turnover on downs. With seven minutes left in the game, Tulsa had the ball and a chance to take the lead. However, Bijon Parker had other ideas. Parker dove in front of the receiver and pulled the ball in just before it hit the turf. Suddenly, the Lobos had the last chance to end the game in regulation.
With just over four minutes left in the game, the Lobos had the ball at their own 42. They drove down to the Tulsa 31, and with two seconds left lined up for the field goal. However, the first attempt, which went wide, was whistled dead due to a false start call. Suddenly, the Lobos were looking at a 53-yard attempt, a career long for Sanders, but he put it through the uprights with room to spare to give the Lobos their second win of the season.
The Lobos will be back in action next Saturday as they take on the Air Force Falcons at 5 p.m. at Dreamstyle Stadium.
Cameron Goeldner is a freelance sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer, but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.