Mitch Sherman, ESPN Staff Writer 642d

New Mexico grinds to second bowl victory in 55 years

New Mexico stayed home and churned out a bowl victory.

The Lobos of the Mountain West Conference reached nine victories for the first time since 2007 with a 23-20 win over first-time bowl participant Texas-San Antonio, running for 219 yards at their home stadium in the Gildan New Mexico Bowl on Saturday in the first of 41 FBS postseason college football games.

Each of New Mexico’s first three bowl appearances came at University Stadium in this bowl game, dating to 2006. A 2007 meeting with Nevada also marked the Lobos’ last postseason win -- and lone bowl victory for the school in the past 54 years.

Coach Bob Davie’s team secured the victory with a typical 12-play, 75-yard drive that covered 7:21 after the Roadrunners cut the lead to three points at 16-13 with just less than 10 minutes to play. UTSA again cut the lead to three with a late score, but the Lobos recovered an onside kick with 25 seconds to play.

New Mexico (9-4) led the FBS in rushing yards per game (360.9) and per attempt (6.8) in the regular season. It relied the same plan against the Roadrunners, getting 81 yards on the ground from quarterback Lamar Jordan, 68 from Richard McQuarley and 60 from Teriyon Gipson.

Jordan threw his first pass Saturday in the final seconds of the first half in a drive that led to a career-long 52-yard field goal by Jason Sanders -- into a stiff wind -- that put New Mexico on top 10-6.

Davie, in his fifth year at the school, earned his first bowl win in five tries as a head coach, the first three of which came in his time at Notre Dame from 1997 to 2001.

Davie and offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse rebuilt this program behind a triple-option offense. The Lobos dominated opponents this year at the line of scrimmage and added seven rushes Saturday of 10 yards or more to their nation-leading total of 121 through 12 games.

New Mexico lost second-leading rusher Tyrone Owens to an injury in the first half. Jordan left for part of one series in the third quarter. But the Lobos stiffened defensively, holding UTSA to 30 passing yards through the first three quarters.

The Roadrunners (6-7), in their third season of bowl eligibility, made a field goal on their opening drive but struggled to find the end zone until quarterback Dalton Sturm engineered two fourth-quarter touchdowns.

They remain among 11 FBS programs without a bowl victory.

Two others -- Old Dominion in the Dec. 23 Popeyes Bahamas Bowl and South Alabama in the Dec. 30 Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl -- will get their chances soon.

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