New Mexico stumps Wyoming Cowboys for 1st win of 2020

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Posted at 7:01 AM, Dec 07, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-07 11:19:48-05

(Editor's note: UW Athletics release)

LAS VEGAS - The Wyoming Cowboys dropped a 17-16 contest to New Mexico over the weekend in Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas. The two teams combined for 506 rushing yards on the night, as the Lobos snapped their three-game losing streak to the Cowboys.

“It was a hard fought game and I want to congratulate New Mexico and coach Gonzales and Rocky Long,” UW head coach Craig Bohl said. “New Mexico dialed up some big plays on defense tonight. Our guys played hard tonight we just left too many points in the redzone. We came up on the short end of the stick and get back to Laramie to get ready for Boise State.”

Wyoming had a chance to take the lead late but a pair of turnovers by the Cowboys inside New Mexico territory dropped the Cowboys to 2-3 on the season, as New Mexico moved to 1-5 overall.

“We certainly have to play smarter and have to capitalize on some things,” Bohl said. “The stunting that New Mexico did really affected us in the running game tonight. We moved the ball well enough to win it just came to getting those scores in the redzone.”

Wyoming recorded 374 yards of total offense rushing for 283 yards for the game. New Mexico recorded 315 yards of total offense and rushed for 223 yards for the night. The Lobos recorded over 34 minutes of possession in the contest and held the Cowboys to 1-of-11 on third down.

Wyoming was paced offensively by senior running back Trey Smith with 154 rushing yards with one touchdown. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry including a 58-yard score. Wide receiver Isaiah Neyor had a 54-yard reception and a 58-yard rush. Redshirt freshman quarterback Levi Williams was 4-of-12 passing for 73 yards and also rushed for 29 yards.

The Wyoming defense featured a career-high 14 tackles from senior safety Esaias Gandy including one tackle for loss. Senior defensive end Garrett Crall added a career-high 12 tackles for the night. Redshirt freshman Easton Gibbs added a career-high 10 tackles alongside junior linebacker Chad Muma, who was ejected from the game in the first half.

The Cowboy defense got Wyoming off to a fast start with a fumble recovery on New Mexico’s opening drive, as linebacker Charles Hicks scooped up the ball and returned it inside UNM territory. The Pokes tacked on a field goal from 29-yards out from John Hoyland for a 3-0 lead a little over three minutes into the game.

The following drive saw the Lobos find success on the Pokes in the running game, but the Pokes held strong and junior corner back C.J. Coldon recorded his first interception and first of his career to give Wyoming the ball back with 7:05 left in the first half on UW’s four-yard line. But the Pokes were forced to punt.

The Lobos opened the second quarter with a 21-yard touchdown run from Nathaniel Jones to make it a 7-3 advantage for New Mexico. It was a part of a nine-play, 59-yard drive that lasted 4:39. The Lobos rushed for 53 yards on the drive.

The Pokes took the lead back on a 58-yard rush from Smith with 8:56 left in the second quarter. The second longest touchdown run of his career made it a 10-7 lead for UW. In only what was a two-play drive, Smith rushed for 64 yards.

The Lobos took the ensuing kickoff 75-yards deep into Wyoming territory. But the Pokes defense held strong forcing a 40-yard field goal from Donovan Murphree. A holding penalty and a tackle for loss from Muma stalled the Lobo drive.

Wyoming responded with a field goal following the Lobos tying the contest. This time Hoyland knocked in a field goal from 26-yards for a 13-10 UW advantage with 2:31 left in the half. The drive was setup by a 54-yard play action toss from Williams to redshirt freshman Isaiah Neyor to the New Mexico 13-yard line. The Pokes took that lead into the half.

Both teams got off to a slow start in the second half until the closing minutes of the third quarter with the Lobos driving deep into Wyoming territory. New Mexico went for it on fourth down and were stopped by the Pokes on the UW five yard-line.

Wyoming followed the defensive stop with a field goal from Hoyland from 25-yards to make it a 16-10 game early in the fourth quarter. The field goal was set up by and end around rush from Neyor for 58 yards for the longest rush by a wide receiver since a 68-yard run by Robert Herron at New Mexico on Nov. 6, 2010.

New Mexico took the lead back with 6:22 left in the game when Isaiah Chavez found Bobbi Cole for a 44-yard touchdown pass to make it a 17-16 game in favor of the Lobos. The two-play drive gave New Mexico its first lead of the second half.

After Levi Williams left the contest with an injury, true freshman quarterback Gavin Beerup found Ayden Eberhardt on an 18-yard reception and then rushed for 38 yards to the UNM seven yard line. But the Lobos forced a fumble to halt the Cowboy drive.

Wyoming turned around and forced a three and out for the Lobos and the Pokes took over after the punt on the New Mexico 44 yard line. But the Lobo defense held and took the contest 17-16 snapping Wyoming’s three-game winning streak over the Lobos.

The Lobos were led offensively by Cole with 131 rushing yards on 22 carries. He also added two receptions for 53 yards. Quarterback Isaiah Chavez was 5-of-10 for the game with one touchdown coming in relief.

The Cowboys return to action next Saturday hosting Boise State in War Memorial Stadium in the regular season finale. The contest is set for a 4 p.m. kick on CSB Sports Network.