Tyrone Owens rushed for 159 yards, and a score and Tevaka Tuioti threw for 84 yards and a touchdown as the University of New Mexico Lobos came up just short in a heartbreaking 27-24 loss to Colorado State on Friday Night.
The Lobos controlled the ball in the first quarter, highlighted by a nine play, 74-yard drive capped by a three-yard Richard McQuarley TD run. After failing to score in the first 15:00 minutes of play, the Rams scored three touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 21-10 lead at the break.
CSU quarterback Nick Stevens threw both of his two touchdown passes on the night in the second period, including a 14-yard strike to Olabisi Johnson with 2:19 to play in the half. The Lobos quickly responded with an impressive 52-yard field goal from Jason Sanders to bring UNM within four, but the Rams promptly squelched any momentum taken by the Lobos with a third touchdown drive before the break.
The halftime break proved to be just what the UNM defense needed after the 21-point barrage by CSU in the second quarter, as the Lobos held Stevens and the Rams to two Wyatt Bryan field goals in the second half.
Tuioti hit Aaron Molina with a 12-yard touchdown pass with just 24 seconds on the clock to bring the Lobos within a field goal, followed by a well-executed onside kick recovery by the New Mexico special teams unit.
But with no timeouts and only 20 seconds left on the clock, the Lobos were unable to get into field goal range as Evan Colorito sacked Tuioit on a fourth-and-four pass play to end the game.
With the loss, the Lobos fall to 3-4 on the season and 1-3 in Mountain West Conference play. The Rams move 6-2 overall and 5-0 in conference play, one game ahead of Boise State for the lead in the Mountain Division.