ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -
The season ended in disappointment for the University of Wyoming football program Saturday, as the Pokes lost a 36-30 nailbiter to New Mexico in the last game of the year.
Wyoming (4-8 overall, 2-6 Mountain West) had its chance to win it in the final seconds, only to throw an incompletion on fourth down to lose to New Mexico (4-8 overall, 2-6 MW) in front of 18,489 fans at University Stadium.
With 59 seconds left, the UW defense gave the Pokes a chance to snag the victory. The Lobos lost possession on a fourth and short attempt on an errant pitch with less than a minute. UW took over possession at the UNM 36. A long attempt from senior quarterback Colby Kirkegaard drew a pass-interference penalty, which moved the ball into UNM territory. On 3rd-and-10, Kirkegaard found sophomore Tanner Gentry for a 43-yard gain with just 32 seconds remaining to the Lobo 5.
But three out of the next four plays ended in incomplete passes, including the final pass from Kirkegaard, which glanced off the hands of Gentry in the endzone.In Kirkegaard's last game, he passed for a career-best 366 yards and one score. Senior wide receiver Dominic Rufan had five catches for 82 yards in his last hurrah. He finished his career No. 6 in career receptions (203), No. 6 in career yards (2,487) and No. 6 in receiving TDs with 15. He caught a pass in every career game, 49-straight, which is a UW and MW record. It leads the nation currently.
Freshman running back Brian Hill continued his great run over the last five games, posting 163 yards and one score on 29 carries. Hill finished with 802 yards rushing and 198 receiving yards to hit the 1,000-yard mark for total offense.
Saturday was an unusual game from a statistical standpoint. UW dominated in the box score, running 94 plays, possessed the ball for 41:53 and racked up 541 total yards. But New Mexico countered with big plays, including a 97-yard kick return TD, a 69-yard scoring run and a 75-yard scoring pass. The lead changed eight times over four quarters between the squads.
After trading scores, Wyoming held a 30-28 lead with 2:08 left in the third quarter. But New Mexico scored on the next play, returning the ensuing kickoff 97 yards for the deciding margin. The Cowboys trailed 21-20 going into halftime.