Ahmari Davis took four of his 21 carries over the goal line for touchdowns on Saturday night, as the New Mexico Lobos overcame early trouble to beat New Mexico State 42-25 in Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces.
Davis scored on runs of 1, 1, 3, and 16 yards to power the Lobos offense. Davis finished with 74 yards, and Tyrone Owens finished with 110 yards on 30 carries and added a 6-yard touchdown run of his own, as the Lobos went to 2-1 on the season.
The Lobos shook off a slow start as quarterback Sheriron Jones had his first pass of the night intercepted and taken back for a touchdown by New Mexico State’s Terrill Hanks. Following a punt, New Mexico State quarterback Matt Garcia engineered a six play, 57 yard drive, that culminated with him keeping the ball on an option play and scoring from 2-yards out. At the 10:50 mark in the first quarter the Aggies led 14-0.
A couple drives later the Aggies had to punt, and Lobo returner Marcus Hayes got the momentum swinging in favor of UNM as he took the NMSU punt back to the Aggie 30. That set up the first of Davis’ touchdowns. The Aggies would add a field goal to make it 17-7 at the end of the first quarter, and then the wheels fell off.
Garcia was intercepted twice in the second quarter, and both setup short scoring drives for the Lobos. Off the first Davis scored again to make it 17-14. Then off the second INT, Tyrone Owens capped a two play 6-yard drive with his score to put the Lobos out front for good at 21-17.
The Aggies missed an opportunity to get back into the game in the third quarter following an Owens fumble, but missed a 35 yard field goal. The Lobos made them pay going on a 16 play 80-yard drive that took over six minutes off the clock and ended in Davis’s third touchdown.
Another long scoring drive that lasted from the middle of the third quarter into the fourth quarter, with Davis scoring his fourth touchdown, seemingly ended the Aggies hopes as they fell behind 35-17. The Aggies would answer as third string quarterback Josh Adkins hit Jason Huntley with a 58 yard passing touchdown, and two point conversion, that cut the Lobo lead to 35-25.
After trading punts, Adkins had the Aggies on the move late in the fourth, when he was intercepted by Marcus Hayes, and Hayes took it back 60 yards for the pick-6. The Lobos defense held on from there to score the 17-point win.
The win is the first since 2015 for the Lobos in the Rio Grande Rivalry, and the fourth for head coach Bob Davie in the series. The loss drops the Aggies to 0-4 on the season, having allowed a combined 179 points in those four games.
The Lobos defense was great, causing five turnovers, but allowing 368 yards of offense. If the Lobos defense continues to give up tons of yards, it’ll be hard to keep up in the MWC this season.
Sheriron Jones struggled too in his first start, going 12/19 passing with 127 yards and the one interception. Jones’s struggles in this game, and the second half last week against Wisconsin, all but assure that Tevaka Tuioti will be the starter again once healthy.
The Lobos have found a new one-two combination in the backfield. Ahmari Davis has come on strong this season to compliment Tyrone Owens. The Lobos were saddled with just 198 yards on the ground, but can take solace in the fact that Owens broke the 100-yard mark for the first time this season.
Next up for the Lobos will be an off week next weekend, followed by a visit from the newly added to FBS school Liberty Flames, who sit at 1-1 with a big game this weekend against North Texas before visiting Albuquerque.