Air Force defeats New Mexico 28-23

New Mexico tailback Kasey Carrier ran all over the record book.

He just wished that he could rewrite the outcome.

Wes Cobb had three 1-yard touchdown runs, and Air Force overcame

Carrier’s Mountain West Conference-record 338 yards rushing with a

28-23 win over New Mexico on Saturday night.

”It’s definitely frustrating,” Carrier said. ”We don’t work

hard to come out and lose games. But it shows that we are going to

come out and fight to the end and we can come out and play with the

best teams.”

Carrier, who ran the ball 39 times, broke loose for runs of 68

and 59 yards in the game’s opening minutes, getting chased down

just short of the goal line. He scored on a pair of 1-yard runs as

well as a 37-yarder that pulled the Lobos to within five points

with 12 minutes remaining.

”It was an amazing effort by Kasey to keep us in the game,”

said Lobos defensive back Tim Foley, who forced an Air Force

turnover late in the game that New Mexico couldn’t convert. ”We

just need to fight harder, on both sides of the ball.”

The Falcons (4-3, 2-1) won despite losing Cody Getz, the

nation’s second-leading rusher, on their first snap when he

appeared to aggravate a sprained left ankle. New Mexico (4-4, 1-2)

played the second half without quarterback B.R. Holbrook, who

suffered a concussion after taking a hit during the Lobos’ final

series of the second quarter.

Sophomore Quinton McCown saw time at quarterback, and wide

receiver Lamaar Thomas and Carrier stepped in as well, taking

direct snaps in a variation of the option as the Lobos leaned on

their rushing attack.

The workload fell mostly to Carrier, who broke New Mexico’s

single-game rushing mark of 265 yards set by Quincy Wright against

Weber State 10 years ago. He also surpassed the conference mark of

285 yards set by Gartrell Johnson of Colorado State against Fresno

State in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl.

Carrier said he never imagined that kind of performance.

”I am shocked,” he said. ”I didn’t know how many yards I had,

but it starts up front with the offensive line. Those guys worked

hard this game, and the wideouts, blocking down the field.”

Said New Mexico coach Bob Davie: ”Whoever thought Kasey Carrier

wasn’t tough needs to reconsider.”

Trailing by five, the Lobos reached the Air Force 12 after a

strip by Foley of receiver Ty MacArthur, but linebacker Alex Means,

who earlier returned an interception for a touchdown, stuffed

Thomas for a 4-yard loss on fourth-and-4.

Means gave his team a lift with his interception return but he

said the stop was an even greater source of satisfaction.

”I think that was a more critical point of the game,” he said.

”The interception, I actually didn’t run the right play. We had a

little miscommunication on what the play was. I kind of ran it late

and I was in no man’s land and … we got lucky, but we’ll take

it.”

The Falcons chewed up the final 3:57 to secure their fifth

straight win over New Mexico, which was trying to win back-to-back

road games in conference play for the first time since 2007.

By halftime, Carrier, a senior from Pearland, Texas, had amassed

227 yards on 22 carries, surpassing his career high of 191 yards

set just two weeks ago against Texas State.

The Lobos, however, trailed 14-10 at the break thanks to Means’

first career touchdown.

Means reached high with his right hand to tip B.R. Holbrook’s

pass to running back Chase Clayton in the right flat, gathered in

the fluttering ball and sprinted 65 yards for the touchdown that

erased New Mexico’s 10-7 lead.

Carrier stepped through the line and raced 68 yards on his first

carry before Steffon Batts chased him down and knocked him out of

bounds at the 7. The Lobos had to settle for Justus Adams’ short

field goal.

Carrier also was chased down just shy of the goal line minutes

later when he burst up the middle for a 59-yard run, tripped up by

Christian Spears at the 1. Carrier took it in from there for a 10-0

lead.

Just when it looked like Carrier and the Lobos were going to

steamroll the short-handed Falcons, MacArthur stepped up to make

sure that didn’t happen.

He returned the ensuing kickoff 21 yards, caught an 11-yard

pass, ran for 16 more and hauled in a 25-yard throw at the 1, then

watched Cobb score from there to make the score 10-7.

Carrier carried seven times for 37 yards on another New Mexico

drive, but that’s when Means changed the game with his

interception.

Carrier capped New Mexico’s first drive of the second half with

a 1-yard TD that put the Lobos back on top 17-14.

The Falcons responded with Cobb’s second 1-yard TD run for a

21-17 lead, and his third short TD made it 28-17.

The Lobos missed the two-point conversion after Carrier’s

37-yard scoring run with 12 minutes remaining.