The miracle Lobos did it again late Saturday night in Hawai'i.
New Mexico, which was a unanimous choice to finish last in the Mountain West Conference this season, has a winning record after beating the Warriors 35-23 on Oahu. UNM is 4-3 and has a shot at a winning record and a bowl bid.
That's a miraculous turnaround for a team that went 1-11each of the last three seasons and was expected to be a conference doormat again. UNM is 1-1 in the league and has won a game outside New Mexico for the first time since 2007.
``This was a gut check,'' said first-year UNM coach Bob Davie. ``They hung in there. This was a heck of a win for us. I couldn't be more proud of our effort.''
The Lobos jumped to a quick 21-0 lead and then hung on. Even ahead by three TDs, Davie knew it would not be a blowout. ``A blowout? That's not us,'' Davie observed. ``Let's not kid ourselves. I knew we'd have to weather a storm.''
And there was a storm. Hawai'i rallied in the second half and the score was 28-23 in the fourth quarter with the Warriors gaining momentum. But UNM responded with a 75-yard drive on 11 plays to eat 6:00 off the clock. Quarterback B.R. Holbrook scored on a 5-yard run on an option and the Lobos had fought off the threat.
Kasey Carrier had another impressive show for New Mexico. He was a workhorse by gaining 161 yards on 35 carries. He scored twice on runs of 23 and 1 yard.
Second in rushing for the Lobos was backup quarterback Cole Gautsche. He scored on a 76-yard run in the second half but suffered a concussion later and didn't play again. He finished with 104 yards on just five carries.
New Mexico actually threw the ball, at least some. Holbrook came out passing on the first drive before the Lobos settled back into their customary triple-option offense. UNM finished with 120 yards in the air, completing 8 of 13 passes, and Gautsche completed his only attempt.
UNM had 332 yards rushing on 62 carries and finished with a 17-minute advantage in time of possession.
``They turned the ball over three times. We had zero turnovers,'' Davie noted. ``That is big for us.''
Davie, who had been in TV broadcasting for the last 10 years, wasn't certain what kind of team he had when this season started. ``We are piece-mealing this thing together. We're just kind of grinding it out, trying to find a way to win. I'm really proud of this team and its performance tonight.''