- Associated Press - Saturday, December 19, 2015

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - New Mexico coach Bob Davie looked at the positives after the Lobos’ New Mexico Bowl loss to Arizona.

“Our guys will fight, play with a lot of heart,” Davie said. “I think people probably recognized that across the country watching that.”

Anu Solomon threw two touchdowns passes and ran for another score to help Arizona hold off pesky New Mexico 45-37 on Saturday. Arizona (7-6) and its quick offense overwhelmed the Lobos (7-6) in a game that saw New Mexico surge late after being down as many of 18 points.

After taking over a team four years ago that had suffered through three straight one-win seasons, Davie has turned around the New Mexico program.

“Big picture-wise, this is just a start for us,” Davie said. “Obviously, we have to get better. But it’s encouraging.”

New Mexico fell behind 42-24 midway through the third quarter on Jared Baker’s 4-yard touchdown run, his third of the game, but the Lobos were able to make it close.

“We never back down from a fight,” said New Mexico linebacker Dakota Cox, who finished with eight tackles. That’s something I’ve learned from every one of them. … Every game we play in, we’re going to go out there and leave it on the field.”

The Lobos crept back into the game with quarterbacks Lamar Jordan and Austin Apodaca each scoring on short runs, pulling New Mexico to 42-37 early in the fourth quarter.

Jordan finished with 149 yards rushing and three touchdowns and threw for another score before suffering a knee injury late in the third quarter and being replaced by Apodaca.

Teriyon Gipson rushed for 84 yards and Jhurell Pressley added 75 for the Lobos, who had almost 41 minutes in time of possession.

Arizona’s Anu Solomon threw for 329 yards, Baker finished with 107 yards rushing, and Cayleb Jones had 182 yards receiving and a score.

“We knew we were going to be limited in possessions and possession time because of the offense they run,” Arizona coach Rich Rodriguez said. “They did a great job. They controlled the clock. They controlled possessions.”

New Mexico drove to the Wildcats 18 and faced a second-and-3 late in the fourth quarter. Apodaca’s next pass was nearly intercepted and the Lobos fumbled on the next play, recovering it on the 28. Rather than try a field goal, New Mexico tried a fourth-down conversion and Scooby Wright sacked Apodaca.

“I just felt like we could convert that there, particularly with Austin at quarterback,” Davie said. “They spent so much time on the running game, my hunch told me to go for it right there.”

The play proved to be pivotal as Arizona drove it back down the field, setting up Casey Skowron’s 37-yard field goal.

Apodaca threw an interception on the next possession, leaving Davie regretting Arizona’s big plays, particularly those on offense.

“It was a bizarre game,” Davie said. “We controlled the ball for the majority of the game. They didn’t have the ball much. When they had it, you see their big-play potential.”

Wright had two sacks and 11 solo tackles. After the game, he announced he would enter the NFL draft.

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