UNLV Falls To New Mexico, 27-6
Nov. 24, 2007
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Marcus Smith caught a 63-yard touchdown pass from Donovan Porterie and Rodney Ferguson had 117 yards rushing as New Mexico ended the regular season with a 27-6 win over UNLV on Saturday night.
Smith also returned the second-half kickoff 82 yards, setting up a 1-yard TD plunge by Ferguson for a 24-6 lead.
The Lobos (8-4, 5-3 Mountain West) reached the 8-win mark for just the fourth time since 1965 and the second time in 10 seasons under coach Rocky Long. It's the ninth 8-win season in the program's 109-year history.
Now they'll wait to see if any bowl committees offer a postseason invitation. Unfortunately for New Mexico, those victories won't guarantee one of the Mountain West's four bowl slots.
Smith finished with eight receptions for 130 yards and Porterie was 18-of-32 for 199 yards passing. Kicker John Sullivan made two 45-yard field goals, boosting his national-best total to 26 on the season.
The Rebels (2-10, 1-7) managed 233 total yards and finished the season with a 15-game losing streak in Mountain West road contests. New Mexico has won six of the past seven in the series.
The Lobos survived two fumbles by Ferguson and two interceptions by Porterie on a chilly night. The temperature dropped to the mid-30s by the fourth quarter, and most of the 22,658 fans left at halftime.
Porterie's second interception came just before the break, on third-and-2 at UNLV's 4-yard line. Mil'Von James stepped in front of a pass intended for Matt Quillen in the right corner of the end zone.
It spoiled a great setup by New Mexico's Glover Quin, who leaped to intercept a throw by UNLV's Travis Dixon at midfield and returned it to the 23. Quin added a late interception that set up Sullivan's second field goal.
Now, it's on to some score watching for Long and his team.
The Lobos will monitor TCU's game at San Diego State late Saturday. If the Aztecs win, TCU would be 6-6 and New Mexico would land a bowl. No 6-win team can be picked over a conference rival with a better overall record.
Another assist for New Mexico's chances was Fresno State's 45-29 win over Kansas State, denying the Big 12 school a victory that would have made it bowl eligible. It could open an at-large slot in the Texas Bowl, for example.