The New Mexico Lobos racked up over 300 yards on the ground and dominated the line off scrimmage on both ends, defeating in-state rivals the host New Mexico St. Aggies 27-14 before an announced crowd of 25,211 at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, NM Saturday night.
Junior Kasey Carrier ran for 131 yards on 21 carries and scored a crucial touchdown in the third quarter that put UNM over the top against NMSU while the ball hawking defense forced two fumbles and kept the dangerous Aggie offense in check for much of the game.
"First and foremost, this is what kind of team we have to be," said New Mexico head coach Bob Davie. "There's not a great amount of room for error. This is what we have to be. We rushed the ball for 300 yards. They rushed the ball for 70."
The Lobos (2-2) have done well dominating the time of possession in all three previous games, but that domination did not show up on the scoreboard. Against New Mexico St. that statistic illustrated UNM’s dominance on this night.
"Whether it's the first half against Texas, whether it's against Southern or New Mexico State, we have to control time of possession," said Davie. "We have to create some turnovers on defense. We have to be really good in the kicking game. With all that said, I'm really proud of this team, to come in here after games on the road at Texas and Texas Tech and we're beat up.
"The secondary got all the publicity but we had a lot of guys that got beat up," he said. "Just the physical nature of the way they played this game is something I think we can build on. I really do."
The Lobos allowed NMSU to rack up 334 yards of total offense as NMSU quarterback Andrew Manley went 22-of-34 passing for 256 yards with no interceptions, one sack and one touchdown pass – a 23-yards pass to Austin Franklin late in the fourth quarter after a Lobo touchdown by Jhurell Presley gave UNM a commanding 24-7 lead.
Pressley finished the game with 71 yards off 15 carries and two touchdowns.
UNM quarterback B.R. Holbrook tacked on 126 yards of total offense, going 11-of-18 passing for 92 yards and rushing for 42 yards on 9 carries.
UNM’s defense kept the Lobos in the game by preventing the big play from NMSu while coming up with a few of their own. The biggest came in the opening drive of the third quarter.
With NMSU driving, sophomore linebacker Toby Ball forced NMSU receiver Joe Matthews to fumbled the ball after a 7-yard gain to the UNM 35-yard line.
Redshirt freshman defensive back Brandon Branch pounced on the ball and returned it to the Aggie 40-yard line to quash the NMSU threat.
UNM jumped out to a 10-0 lead after the first quarter and closed the first half with a second field goal by Justus Adams that gave the Lobos a solid 13-7 lead.
The win breaks a 24-game road losing streak by UNM that dated back to 2008 and ended a three-game losing streak to New Mexico St.
"I knew as soon as I became coach here (NMSU) was our No. 1 rival," said Davie. "It's the biggest game of the year. I think it was probably February when I started putting 9/22/12 every time we met as a team. I got tired doing it. But there's no question we put a lot into this game emotionally."
Davie saved his biggest praise for the team’s seniors.
"I'm proud that the monkey's off these kids' back," he said. "We have 14 seniors that have played for three different head coaches. Seven seniors transferred in here from different parts of the country, all with unbelievable journeys, unbelievable stories. I really like these guys. I really do. I'm just glad these senior are able to leave this university having beaten their biggest rival because they've been through a lot.
"I'm happy for them and for this coaching staff – let's head home," he said. "We've been on the road three straight weeks. We're 2-2. We're 2-2."