Troy Babbitt-US PRESSWIRE
This is what is called a winning streak Wyoming fans. It's the first time has happened since back to back wins over Air Force and New Mexico.
A career day from Brett Smith meant another Cowboy victory. The sophomore is really looking comfortable leading the offense lately. Smith had four passing touchdowns and a career high 374 yards. Three of those touchdowns came in the second quarter and gave Wyoming a 21-7 lead at the half. New Mexico's running attack gained traction in the second half and scored 10 unanswered in the third quarter. When Smith found Jalen Claiborne in the end zone in the fourth quarter it gave Wyoming some breathing room with a 28-17 lead.
New Mexico managed a touchdown in the fourth quarter but missed on the two point conversion. The Lobos had a number of chances to win this one. Their opening drive of the second ended when they fumbled at the Wyoming 13 that was forced by Siaso Hala'api'api. The Lobos then scored on three consecutive drives. The Wyoming defense stood strong on a 1st and goal from inside the five. Three times the Pokes kept the Lobos out of the end zone and they had to settle for a FG.
With 6:22 left in the game New Mexico started started on their own 10 yard line. They drove towards midfield and failed to convert a third and long. It would have been a fourth and two but a personal penalty against New Mexico instead made it 4th and 17. Then Bob Davie made the decision to punt with 2:02 remaining. Wyoming looked to have a first down on a third down conversion and would have allowed them to kill the clock. However the catch by Dominic Rufran was ruled incomplete after the refs said it was bobbled. Wyoming punted with 1:40 on the clock. New Mexico went with a passing attack but ended up turning it over on downs.
Rufran was the favorite target of Smith today with six catches for 116 yards and a touchdown. Robert Herron caught the first score for the Pokes on a 81 yard catch and run. Jalen Claiborne made the most of his two catches that both went for touchdowns.
The run game was mostly a letdown for the Pokes. As a team Wyoming gained 55 yards and averaged just two yards per carry. With Smith slicing up the New Mexico secondary it meant that there wasn't much reason to run the ball often. The defense had some clutch moments but still gave up 551 yards. Freshmen QB Cole Gautsche threw for 155 yards and two touchdowns while also running for 149 yards.
It was nice to see the Pokes hang for the close victory. There have been plenty of narrows losses this year, no need to add to that list. Wyoming improves to 3-7 on the year and now have two conference wins. This was the Pokes first victory in University Stadium since the 2009 New Mexico Bowl. They lost to the Lobos in 2010 and to Temple in the 2011 New Mexico Bowl.