The New Mexico rushing attack was too much for the Cowboys to overcome in a 56-35 loss to the Lobos on Saturday evening in University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M. The Pokes allowed a school record 568 rushing yards. It was the most since allowing 548 to Wisconsin on Oct. 6, 1973.
“I think we really need to give credit to New Mexico they finished off on a high note,” UW head coach Craig Bohl said. “In particular, their offense was more troublesome than what we anticipated. They're numbers were true tonight. The speed of the game could never get caught up to that. Obviously it was something we need to prepare better for and we will."
With the loss the Pokes fall to 8-4 overall and 6-2 in the MW. New Mexico improved to 8-4 and 6-2 in the MW to earn a share of the Mountain Division crown with Wyoming and Boise State. The Pokes own the tie breaker and will play in the MW Championship next Saturday in a site to be determined.
Junior running back Brian Hill rushed 126 yards with three touchdowns on the night. He broke his single-season rushing record of 1,631 last season. Hill has rushed for 1,674 this season. He also went over 4,000 career rushing yards becoming the third running back in conference history to reach the mark. He now has 4,101 rushing yards in his career. He tied Eddie Talboom’s school record 34 rushing touchdowns with his three scores on the night.
Senior wide receiver Tanner Gentry grabbed five catches for 112 yards. He now has 1,132 yards receiving this season ranking sixth in single-season school history. He also has 2,621 in his career with the Cowboys ranking sixth in career receiving yards.
Senior linebacker Lucas Wacha recorded nine tackles on the night along with sophomore safety Andrew Wingard. Wacha has 334 career tackles, as he tied Tyler Gottschalk (2000-03) for eighth in career tackles with 334.
The first quarter saw the Lobos rush for 262 yards and jump out to a 21-0 lead. New Mexico wasted little time getting on the board to open the game with a four play, 93-yard drive at the 13:23 mark of the first quarter. The touchdown drive featured runs of 24-yards, 27-yards and 42-yards. The Lobos extended their lead to 14-0, when Richard McQuarley added his second score of the night on a 53-yard rush with 8:23 remaining in the opening frame. UNM added their third touchdown of the quarter on a one-yard rush by Teriyon Gipson.
The Cowboys got on the board to open the second quarter. Senior Shaun Wick got the Pokes into scoring position on a pair of 17 yard runs, which tied a season-high for a single carry. He rushed for 41 yards on the drive that helped set up a four-yard touchdown run by junior quarterback Josh Allen to cut the deficit to 21-7 with 12:12 remaining in the second quarter.
The Lobos responded two minutes later with a 39-yard touchdown run by Diquon Woodhouse to take a 28-7 advantage on the Cowboys. The touchdown was set up on a 28-yard completion from Lamar Jordan to McQuarley, as it was the Lobos first completion on the game. UNM extended the lead to 35-7 on a 59-yard touchdown by Gipson that propelled New Mexico to a 35-7 halftime lead.
The Lobos halted the Cowboy offense to opened the second half and added to their lead on a flea flicker touchdown pass from Jordan to Q’ Drennan to make it a 42-7 four minutes into the second stanza.
The Pokes responded the following drive with an eight play, 75-yard drive that ended in Hill’s 19th touchdown of the season. Hill broke his single season rushing record (1,631) on a 20-yard run that set up his seven yard scamper to make it a 42-14 game. The Pokes cut back into the lead in the final minutes of the third quarter. This time redshirt freshman Austin Conway scored on a reverse to cut the deficit to 42-21. Sophomore Josh Harshman set up the touchdown with an impressive catch to get the Pokes inside the redzone.
After the Lobos added a touchdown to extend the lead to 49-28. The Pokes responded on a touchdown run by Hill. It was his 20th career touchdown and the 33rd rushing score of his career. He tied Talboom’s record with a touchdown with 3:12 remaining to make it a 56-35 game.
New Mexico’s Gipson, Jordan and McQuarley each rushed for over a 100 yards. It marked the first time in UW history that their different opposing players rushed for 100 yards. That trio combined for six touchdowns on the night.
“We got beat by a good football team and we're going to need to play well for a chance to win,” Bohl said. “We didn't get it done and we need to get ready to play San Diego State in a short amount of time."
The site of the Mountain West Championship will be determined on Sunday morning by conference office. Visit GoWyo.com for more information.