The University of New Mexico held off the UTSA Roadrunners 23-20 on Saturday afternoon in the 2016 New Mexico Bowl.
It was the first bowl win for the school since 2007 and only their second in the last 55 years.
In somewhat of a surprise, the Roadrunners hold the top ranked UNM rushing offense to the lowest totals of the season, with only 219 yards on 52 attempts.
UTSA actually out gained the Lobos on the ground with 246 yards on 38 carries, while quarterback Dalton Sturm completed 10 of 26 passes for 118 yards and two touchdowns.
Defense was key for both teams on a windy, cold day at University Stadium, with the wind playing havoc on special teams and the passing game.
Despite the difficult conditions, Lobo kicker Jason Sanders hit a 52-yard field goal straight into a 25 MPH wind to give the Lobos a 10-6 lead heading into halftime. The kick was the longest of Sanders’ career, and proved to be an important play in what turned out to be a close game.
“It wasn’t our best offensive performance, but I think UTSA obviously had a lot to do with that,” said UNM head coach Bob Davie after the game.
David made a point to mention UNM special teams, a unit that has come up big for the Lobos time and time again this year.
“Jason Sanders, again, the 52-yard field goal before the half, Chris Davis fielding punts in the wind, Chris Davis recovering the on-side kick,” said Davie.
Quarterback Lamar Jordan led the team in rushing yards on the day, while tailback Richard McQuarley added two touchdowns on the ground.
The two scores gives McQuarley 18 rushing touchdowns on the season, just one shy of tying former great DonTrell Moore with 19.
Fellow running back Teriyon Gipson finished the game with only 60 yards on 14 carries, but it was enough to give him 1269 rushing yards on the season, good enough for 4th all time on the school’s all time record book.