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New Mexico holds off Hawaii in MWC game

By Star-Advertiser Staff

LAST UPDATED: 10:00 p.m. HST, Oct 13, 2012

At the beginning of the season, tonight's Mountain West Conference football game at Aloha Stadium against New Mexico was a certain win in most Hawaii fans' minds. But after the Warriors' woeful start, no matchup is a gimme for head coach Norm Chow's crew as Hawaii lost 35-23.

The defeat dropped Hawaii to 1-5 overall and 0-3 in league play. New Mexico is now 4-3 for the season and 1-1 in the MWC. The Warriors have a bye this week before returning to the mainland for back-to-back road games vs. Colorado State and Fresno State. The Lobos travel to Air Force this Saturday.

They'll be feeling pretty good about themselves after opening up a 21-0 lead and holding on late for the win. It is the first time New Mexico has won a road game outside the state since Oct. 20, 2007. The Warriors certainly had their chances to keep that from happening.

Down by 11 at the half, Hawaii's defense held New Mexico on its opening series of the third quarter and then moved steadily down the field on a nice series of runs and passes, setting up a fourth and 1 at the New Mexico 16. Hawaii converted on a 2-yard run by John Lister, but the drive stalled as New Mexico stopped Hawaii on another fourth and 1 at the New Mexico 5 with 6:10 left in the third.

From there, the Lobos took the Warriors out of the game on a 76-yard touchdown run by New Mexico quarterback Cole Gautsche as Justus Adams added the PAT to make it 28-10 Lobos with 4:52 left in the third.

But UH return man Mike Edwards got Hawaii back in it with a 100-yard kickoff return that cut New Mexico's lead to 28-17 with 4:40 left in the third as Tyler Hadden added the PAT.

Hawaii appeared to be headed toward another score early in the fourth, but UH quarterback Sean Schroeder fumbled the ball as New Mexico's Joseph Harris recovered it. He came out of the pile late and then returned the ball 71 yards for a touchdown. But after a booth review, the call was reversed when the replay showed Harris was down on one knee when he picked it up.

Still, momentum was back on the Lobos' side as they drove the ball into Hawaii territory, setting up a third and 3 at the UH 41. The Lobos converted the first down and then appeared to have a first and 10 at the Hawaii 12, but an illegal forward pass was noted by the replay officials, moving the ball back to the UH 38.

Two plays later, New Mexico faced another fourth-down situation, but failed to convert for the first time in four tries as Hawaii took over at its own 35, down 11 with 11:36 to play.

The Warriors went to a no-huddle to change the tempo of the game and quickly moved into scoring position, setting up a second and goal from the 1 as burly back John Lister scored on the next play. The Warriors went for 2, but failed to convert as New Mexico continued to hold the lead 28-23 with 9:49 left in the game.

New Mexico took over on its own 25 and mixed run with pass to move to the Hawaii 4, taking precious time off the clock every step of the way. Facing a first and goal, New Mexico called timeout to make sure everybody was on the same page. It must have worked, as quarterback B.R. Holbrook scored on a keeper from 5 yards out on third down as Adams added the PAT to make it 35-23 with 3:49 left in the game. New Mexico ran 6 minutes off the clock on the 75-yard drive to seal the win.

The Lobos got off to a good start, scoring 21 unanswered points in the first half. After the New Mexico defense forced a three and out on UH's opening offensive series, the Lobos took to the airways and quickly moved down the field, going 83 yards on six plays to take a 7-0 lead with 11:58 left in the opening quarter as Adams added the PAT.

The Lobos began the drive with five consecutive passes that set up a 23-yard touchdown scamper by Kasey Carrier, who rushed for 161 yards and two scores. Last week in a win over Texas State, New Mexico threw the ball only three times. The Lobos nearly doubled that on the opening drive alone.

Edwards fumbled the ensuing kickoff as New Mexico recovered at the Warriors 38. The Lobos converted a pair of fourth-down plays that gave them the ball at the Hawaii 12. Two plays later, SaQwan Edwards scored from 6 yards out to make it 14-0 New Mexico with 5:51 left in the first.

Carrier got his second touchdown of the game on a third and goal from the 2. He took the pitch play out of the triple option and scored easily to culminate a 14-play, 66-yard drive to make it 21-0 New Mexico as Adams added the PAT with 12:24 left in the second quarter.

Hawaii finally got a first down at the 12:11 mark of the second quarter and moved the football into the red zone on a pair of nice runs by Will Gregory, but had to settle for a 39-yard field-goal try by Hadden that sailed wide right.

The Warriors got on the scoreboard on a 51-yard touchdown pass from Schroeder to a wide open Scott Harding to culminate a five-play, 77-yard drive as Hadden added the PAT with 5:55 left in the half to make it 21-7 New Mexico.

The UH defense forced a three and out as Hawaii set up shop at the New Mexico 49 late in the second quarter. Harding made good from 49 yards out, a career long, as Hawaii trailed 21-10 with 16 seconds left in the half.

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