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New Mexico vs. Wyoming final score: Big plays propel New Mexico to victory

The University of New Mexico Lobos (2-2) regains its offensive identity and leaves Laramie with a much needed 38-28 win as the University of Wyoming Cowboys' (0-4) struggles continue.

New Mexico running back Richard McQuarley had two rushing touchdowns, including one for 43 yards.
New Mexico running back Richard McQuarley had two rushing touchdowns, including one for 43 yards.
Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

On New Mexico's second play of the game, quarterback Lamar Jordan (15 carries for 147 yards, 5 completions for 107 yards) broke a 56-yard touchdown run out of the option to put the Lobos up 7-0. UNM would never look back as they prevailed in Laramie for the first time since 2008.

In this high-scoring affair, it was the cherry and silver who were able to capitalize on big plays. In addition to Jordan's 56 yard run, the quarterback also hit wide receiver Carlos Wiggins for his lone reception, a 64-yard touchdown. Running back Richard McQuarley (5 carries, 55 yards) had two rushing touchdowns, including a beautiful 43-yard sprint. The Lobos defense also contributed two interceptions. Ultimately these types of plays proved too much for the Cowboys to overcome on a cloudless day at War Memorial Stadium.

Despite New Mexico's wire to wire victory, this game had plenty of suspense. The Lobos defense stifled UNM's momentum in the first half with a couple of personal foul penalties that aided the Cowboys in moving the sticks to their first touchdown off of a 13 yard pass to Shaun Wick, making it 14-7 at that time. Wyoming would put another seven points on the board right before halftime to make the score 28-14. With Wyoming set to receive the ball after halftime, Lobo fans were certainly anxious as momentum seemed to shift yet again. Unfortunately for winless Wyoming, they were unable to close the gap any further until the last minute of the game.

The Lobos opened conference play with a strong victory that snaps a two game losing streak. Importantly, UNM rediscovered their offensive identity. Jordan and Jhurell Pressley (17 rushes for 103 yards), among others, ran the ball with great success and the triple-option kept the Cowboys' defense on their toes. Furthermore, the offense had stability for the first time this season as head coach Bob Davie seems to have finally settled on Jordan as quarterback; today was the first game that Apodaca did not play any meaningful minutes.

Aside from unnecessary penalties, New Mexico's defense provided fairly consistent play. In his press conference earlier this week, Davie expressed concern about Wyoming running back Brian Hill. Today the Lobos did an excellent job at containing him to 49 yards on 18 carries. Linebacker Dakota Cox deserves praise for anchoring the defense and making a timely interception in the fourth quarter. Linebacker Kimmie Carson also deserves recognition for having a huge first half in which he seemed to be everywhere on the field.

With Hill rendered ineffective, the Cowboys turned to quarterback Cameron Coffman to lead the offense. Coffman had a marvelous day going 30 for 42 for 366 yards and four touchdowns, with many throws going to wide receiver Tanner Gentry (9 receptions for 130 yards). However, Coffman unraveled in the fourth quarter when he threw two interceptions that stalled any hope of a Cowboy comeback.

In the end, the stats showed a close game: UNM had 409 total yards to Wyoming's 408; UNM had possession for 29:51 to the Cowboys 30:09; and the Lobos had 15 first downs to Wyoming's 26. Yet it was New Mexico's ability to make the big play that separated the two teams.

The Lobos will be back in Albuquerque next week for the Rio Grande Rivalry against the New Mexico State Aggies. Wyoming will look for their first win in North Carolina against the Appalachian State Mountaineers.