- Associated Press - Saturday, November 1, 2014

LAS VEGAS (AP) - New Mexico’s Teriyon Gipson danced untouched up the middle from three yards out with 1:22 left in the game Saturday, lifting New Mexico to a 31-28 win over UNLV.

After squandering a 17-7 halftime lead, and falling behind UNLV twice in the second half, the Lobos (3-5, 1-3 Mountain West) escaped with their first conference win of the season after UNLV’s Brian McIntyre’s 55-yard field-goal attempt fell just under the crossbar as time expired. McIntyre, a walk-on from Las Vegas’ Arbor View High School was making his first appearance for the Rebels. He was a soccer player until his senior year in high school.

McIntyre’s attempt was preceded by a first-down completion from UNLV quarterback Blake Decker to Devonte Boyd. New Mexico coach Bob Davie called a timeout with one second remaining, despite the fact the clock was set to start with :01 showing, on the official’s whistle.

“I wanted to make sure that No. 1 they were going to kick the field goal,” Davie said. “No. 2, I didn’t want to rough the kicker. I did not want to rough that kicker. You see it so many times on the last play of the game with a field goal like that. Really it was just a chance for us to talk. A 55-yard field goal is one thing, but don’t rough them and give them a 40-yard field goal at the end of time.”

The Lobos were led on offense by Jhurell Pressley, who ran for 138 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns. New Mexico freshman quarterback Lamar Jordan finished with a passer rating of 34.6, after completing just 2 of 7 pass attempts. New Mexico’s previous season-low for yards passing was in its previous game, at Air Force, where Jordan and Cole Gautsche combined to throw for 33 yards. Jordan now has two fourth-quarter game-winning drives to his credit.

UNLV (2-7, 1-4) was led by running back Shaquille Murray-Lawrence’s 125 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while quarterback Blake Decker completed 28 of 44 pass attempts for 271 yards.

UNLV, looking like an entirely different team than the squad that opened the contest and trailed 17-7 at halftime, came out in the third quarter and marched downfield to cut the gap to three, driving 77 yards in 10 plays, as Murray-Lawrence scored from 1 yard out with 11:46 left in the quarter.

After holding the Lobos on their first possession of the second half, the Rebels went 95 yards in 13 plays, capped by Murray-Lawrence’s second rushing score of the day, to give the Rebels their first lead of the day at the 5:49 mark in the third.

New Mexico capitalized on Isaiah Brown’s first-career interception, as he returned it 43 yards to put the Lobos in great field position at UNLV’s 4. Pressley bullied his way into the end zone on the next play, as the Lobos took a 24-21 lead with 12:05 left. The Rebels answered with a 12-play, 85-yard drive, Keith Whitely pummeling his way in from the 3 giving UNLV a 28-24 lead with 8:28 remaining.

“We were at a point where they rattled off 21 straight,” New Mexico coach Bob Davie said. “I.B. (Brown) taking that interception inside the 5, to me, was the turning point in this game because UNLV had completely seized momentum up until that point. The biggest play of that game was that interception.”

New Mexico got revenge for last year’s loss at home and tied the series, 11-11. The Rebels have won five of the last seven meetings, including last season’s 56-42 thriller.

“They did enough to get us today,” UNLV coach Bobby Hauck said. “We played well enough at times to come out on top, but came up short. Our guys fought hard today, but we made too many mistakes, particularly in the first half. The turnovers hurt you, and that was probably the difference in the game.

“We defended them pretty much as well as anyone has. It’s a good scheme, and when they run their triple stuff as much as they did today, they’re going to get some yards. I thought we defended them okay. It wasn’t certainly a dominating performance by us by any stretch.”

UNLV outgained the Lobos, 485-306, but the Rebels committed three critical turnovers - two interceptions and a fumble.

While the 2013 clash was a shootout, this year’s rendition lacked the same offensive fireworks before the teams exchanged touchdowns in the second half. At halftime last year, New Mexico had 436 yards of offense while UNLV had 328 yards, there was just one punt and the score was tied 35-35. This year, New Mexico had 199 yards while UNLV had 147, there were eight punts and the Lobos led, 17-7, at the half.

New Mexico got on the board first when Pressley rumbled through UNLV’s defense for a 34-yard touchdown with 2:42 left in the opening quarter. A second-quarter field goal put the Lobos ahead 10-0 with a little more than six minutes left in the half, and after forcing the Rebels to punt on a three-and-out on their next possession, the Lobos went 51 yards in 2:52, over six plays, capped by Pressley’s 1-yard run to go up, 17-0. Decker’s 2-yard TD run with 11 seconds left in the half finally got UNLV on the board.

New Mexico kept its bleak bowl chances alive, as it needs to win three of its last four games to become bowl eligible. Meanwhile, the Rebels, who fell to 0-7 when trailing at halftime, saw their chances at back-to-back postseasons come to an end, as they needed to win their last five games to become bowl eligible.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide