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Lobos Edged in Double OT by Utah State 44-41

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Quarterback Levi Williams scrambled 13 yards on a broken play after dropping the snap in the second overtime to give Utah State a wild 44-41 win over New Mexico that will put the Aggies into a bowl game, spoiling a spirited comeback attempt by UNM, which finished its season 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the Mountain West.

While the ending was disappointing, the Lobos finished with their most wins since the 2016 season when the Lobos went 9-4.

UNM trailed the entire game but was able to come back from down 10 in the final minutes.  After Utah State scored on a 15-play, 90-yard drive that killed off 6:36 of the fourth quarter clock, the Lobos found themselves down 31-21 with 5:30 left in the game, but UNM went to work on its own 25-yard line. Dylan Hopkins, who finished just 12-for-31 passing, hit Jeremiah Hixon for 28 yards and then on third-and-eight found him again for 14 yards to the Aggie 31.

Jacory Croskey-Merritt, who became the first player in school history to rush for back-to-back 200-yard games, broke away for a 21-yard run to set up UNM with first-and-goal.  After a pass interference penalty in the end zone, Devon Dampier rushed the ball in from two yards out to make it 31-28 with 3:24 left.

UNM kicked off and forced a punt and took over at its own 9-yard line with 2:09 left, and got the benefit of three pass interference penalties on Utah State over the course of four plays, sandwiched around an 11-yard catch by Ryan Davis, moving the ball from the 9 to the Utah State 36.  Those flags were part of a crazy night with flags as Utah State was penalized 13 times for 183 yards and New Mexico 15 times for 155 yards.

Croskey-Merritt rushed 20 yards to the 16, but an offensive pass interference penalty made it third-and-20, but Hopkins found Davis for a first down.  UNM spiked the ball to stop the clock with 17 seconds left, and two incompletions into the end zone left it at fourth down, and Luke Drzewiecki hit a 22-yard field goal to tie the game with four seconds left.

In the first overtime, Utah State scored first when Williams rushed in from six yards out.  UNM got the ball and Croskey-Merritt rushed twice to get the ball to the four before Dampier entered and completed the drive. UNM originally lined up for the win, but after a timeout by Utah State, tied it with Drzewiecki, sending the game to a second OT.

There, UNM looked to get a 6-yard rushing TD by Dampier, but a quick replay review put the ball just inches short of the goal line much to the chagrin of everyone watching the replay on the video board, which looked inconclusive at best in the stadium.  On third down, Croskey-Merritt lost a yard and UNM kicked a 19-yard field goal.

That led to Utah State’s drive, which saw Rahsul Faison convert a 4th-and-one to keep its hopes alive, leading to Williams bobbling the snap and somehow avoiding a bunch of red jerseys for the win.

Postgame Notes

This was the 30th meeting between the two teams.

Utah State now leads 17-13 in the series

New Mexico now leads 9-8 in Albuquerque

Utah State leads 9-4 in Logan

Utah State has now seven straight in the series and four straight in Albuquerque.


Starting lineup changes for UNM from published two-deep

Offense: Wyatt McClour was the skill player that didn’t start.

Defense: Destin Gainer started at end for Kyler Drake, and Avery Burt started at NT for Tyler Kiehne.


*New Mexico’s captains were Jeremiah Hixon, Donte Martin, Teedo Stafford, and Dylan Hopkins, the four seniors honored before the game.

*New Mexico’s Bryce Santana carried the state flag of New Mexico onto the field and Charles Steinkamp carried the United States flag.

*New Mexico won the toss and deferred.  Utah State received the opening kick and UNM has opened with the ball in 37 of 43 games in the Danny Gonzales era.



*New Mexico finished with 539 yards of offense to finish with 4,927 yards, which is eighth all-time in Lobo history in terms of total yards in UNM history.

*The Lobos were whistled for 15 penalties for 155 yards, both season-highs.  UNM ended the season with 119 penalties, the second-most in a season in school history, and with 1,076 penalty yards, which are the most in school history, topping the 1,029 in 1978.

*UNM’s 2,615 passing yards for the season were its most since 2007.

*UNM lost for the first time this season when recording a takeaway.

*UNM’s eight takeaways on the season were the fewest in school history, two fewer than the 10 recorded in 2013.

*Conversely, UNM’s 15 giveaways are the seventh-fewest in school history (and one of those seasons was in the seven-game COVID season of 2020).

*New Mexico’s 35 first downs in the game were the second-most in school history for a single game.  UNM had 37 against San Diego State on 9/27/1986.

*New Mexico’s loss was its first ever in multiple overtimes.  UNM had been 2-0, including a 39-36 win over Utah State in triple overtime in 1998.  Of UNM’s 11 overtime games, three have come against Utah State (a 39-36 win in 1998 in triple overtime and a 45-44 loss in 2002 when UNM missed an extra point).

*UNM’s opponents record 888 penalty yards, the eighth-most in a season, and 95 total penalties, tying for the seventh-most by an opponent.

*Utah State’s 183 penalty yards tied BYU’s 183 over November 3, 1973, for the second-most penalty yards against UNM in school history.



*Jacory Croskey-Merritt became the first play in school history to ever rush for back-to-back 200-yard games.

*Jacory Croskey-Merritt finished with 17 rushing touchdowns, third on the single-season list, and 18 total touchdowns, tied for second (with Richard McQuarley in 2016).

*Jacory Croskey-Merritt, who started the day outside the top 20 in single-season rushing, finished the game in seventh place with 1,190 yards, giving him an average of 99.2 yards per game.

*Jacory Croskey-Merritt’s 233 yards rushing is the sixth-most in a single game in school history.  He is now the fifth player to ever have two 200-yard games in his career (Mike Williams, Teriyon Gipson, Fred Henry, and Kasey Carrier), and his second 200-yard game made him the first player to ever have two 200-yard games in the same season, let alone back-to-back.

*Dylan Hopkins threw for 125 yards, giving him 2,074 on the year, becoming the first Lobo quarterback since 2009 to break 2,000 yards (Donovan Porterie).

*Devon Dampier was responsible for three touchdowns (two rushing, one passing) and for the season he was responsible for 10 touchdowns as a true freshman.

*Wyatt McClour’s touchdown in the second quarter was his first career touchdown.

*Dereck Moore led the team with 12 tackles, but Alec Marenco’s 11 gave him the season tackle lead with 66.

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