- Associated Press - Saturday, October 1, 2016

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - Richard McQuarley ran in three touchdowns and New Mexico held off San Jose State’s fourth-quarter rally for a 48-41 win Saturday.

New Mexico led 41-20 three minutes into the fourth quarter before the Spartans scored two quick touchdowns. But San Jose State (1-4, 0-1 Mountain West) twice had the ball with a chance to drive for the tying touchdown and instead went three-and-out.

“When you’re up 14-0 and up 21 points in the second half and you would like to freewheel and just let it rip,” Lobos coach Bob Davie said. “Just go win big time That’s been a reoccurring deal because we can’t get it exactly solved on defense.”

The game marked the return of Spartans quarterback Kenny Potter, who missed the last game with a leg injury. He played with a brace on his right leg and at times appeared to be limping while finishing with 314 yards and three touchdowns.

“It was a really gutty performance,” Spartans coach Ron Caragher said. “In the fourth quarter, it was evident that we kept fighting. We had 21 points to their 7. We had the ball twice with an opportunity to tie up the game and unfortunately we failed.”

With Lamar Jordan, noted as more of a running quarterback, in for the injured Austin Apodaca, the Lobos (2-2, 1-0) returned to its ground attack, grinding out 448 rushing yards. Teryion Gipson led the attack with 156 yards and a touchdown. McQuarley finished with 83 yards on 16 carries and Tyrone Owens had 117 yards on 16 carries.

San Jose State’s Tim Crawley and Deontae Cooper each had a touchdown reception and run.

THE TAKEAWAY: New Mexico had double-digit leads in its previous two games and let both games get away.

“It was kind of the same story,” Davie said. “Whether it was down in Las Cruces (against New Mexico State), or at Rutgers, or here (Saturday), we had such an opportunity to catch the momentum of the game, truly catch the momentum of the game. But because of big plays against us or mistakes, we can’t quite get over the hump and totally seize momentum.’

But this time the defense stiffened when it needed to, then the offense put together a 79-yard touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter to seal it.

San Jose State has allowed an average of 41 points per game so far this season and is giving up chunks of yards.

“They pounced on us,” Caraghar said. “They made some nice touchdown runs.”

SHELL GAME: It just took the Spartans some time to get the defense used to New Mexico speed.

“It’s one of those shell games,” Caragher said. “Movement. You have to be disciplined to stay in your gaps and a couple of times guys got out of their gaps early and that’s where the ball popped out for big gains. It is tough to simulate and that’s why they run that offense. It’s a challenge to get ready for in five days, six days. I thought we came around, but it was too late.”

UP NEXT:

NEW MEXICO: The Lobos take on Boise State Oct. 8. The Broncos are looking for paybacks after New Mexico came out of Boise with a rare win last year.

SAN JOSE STATE: The Spartans play host to Hawai’i Oct. 8. In the last three years, the visiting team has won each meeting between the schools.

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