You never know when a player early on is going to come back and either help or hurt you, depending on which team you’re talking about, when it comes to the end of the game. But the odds are decent that if you can get points right before the half, you’re going to be glad for it come crunch time. That goes double if the team that scores right before the half gets the ball right back after the break.
That’s exactly what happened for New Mexico as one of Lamar Jordan’s three pass completions of the game went for 18 yards to Teriyon Gipson right before the half to set up a long field goal that gave New Mexico a 10-6 lead, that eventually became a 23-20 victory over the UTSA Roadrunners.
If that pass doesn’t happen, then that field goal on the last play of the half probably doesn’t happen, and UTSA’s touchdown with 25 seconds remaining either ties the game or give them the win if they wind up going for two and being successful.
So while it was definitely a big deal to get those points right before the half for the Lobos, it became an even bigger deal when the final minutes of the game rolled around.
The Roadrunners got off to a quick start and used a 38-yard run from Jarveon Williams on the second play from scrimmage as part of a six-minute drive that resulted in a field goal after the drive stalled out at the New Mexico 10-yard line.
The Lobos return fire with a 66-yard touchdown drive of their own, and then the two teams finished out the half by trading turnovers on downs and then field goals respectively.
The Lobos then came out after the half took the ball and drove straight down the field for a touchdown that gave them their first 10-point lead of the game. UTSA got the ball back and what had already been a rather uneven performance by the offense got a little bit worse.
Once again they got a 36-yard run from Jarveon Williams on their second play of the half – but eventually, Dalton Sturm started dropping back to pass and wound up with four straight incompletions, the fourth of which ended up getting caught by a New Mexico Defender.
The Lobos were unable to do anything with the ball as they went three-and-out, but those kind of sequences killed just enough momentum for UTSA that they ran out of time to come all the way back in the end.
In the final tally, the Roadrunners wound up out-gaining New Mexico by almost a hundred yards, but that one turnover and a handful of big plays like the one that set up the field goal right before the half for the Lobos were just enough to give New Mexico the win.
New Mexico gets their ninth win as a nice end to the season, and the roadrunners will finish at 6-7, but both are in great position heading into next season. New Mexico especially should flirt with the division title again, while UTSA might do the same if they can perform a little more consistently.