By Ryan Nelson (@TheRyanNelson_)
ALBUQUERQUE - New Mexico narrowly escaped Albuquerque with a 23-20 win over UTSA in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl.
UTSA pulled within three points with 25 seconds left in regulation after QB Dalton Sturm found WR JaBryce Taylor for a four yard touchdown pass. Sturm finished with two touchdowns and an interception on 118 yards passing.
Any hopes of a comeback vanished with an unsuccessful UTSA onside kick attempt on the ensuing kickoff.
To the credit of the UTSA defense, New Mexico's triple option offense compiled just 219 yards on the ground -- which is good by most standards, but somewhat underwhelming for the Lobos.
The Lobos' New Mexico Bowl rushing total was well below their regular season average of 360.9 yards per game going into Saturday. The Road Runner offense outperformed the Lobos', totaling 364 yards versus 296 for New Mexico.
The best individual rushing performance of the game came from UTSA RB Jarveon Williams. Williams racked up 125 yards rushing on 16 carries.
New Mexico RB Richard McQuarley proved to be the difference in the game. McQuarley sniffed out the end zone twice on 68 yards rushing.
Though the numbers didn't align with past performances, the New Mexico offense lived up to its reputation. Lobos QB Lamar Jordan completed just three passes on the game, while rushing for 81 yards on the ground.
New Mexico won their second bowl game in nine years. The Lobos' last bowl victory came in the 2007 New Mexico Bowl, when New Mexico defeated Nevada 23-0.
This is New Mexico's second bowl win since the 1961 Aviation Bowl.