New Mexico 17, Central Florida 7
Sep. 15, 1996
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) _ Quarterback Donald Sellers atoned for a rare interception by leading unbeaten New Mexico on two fourth-quarter scoring drives Saturday night in a 17-7 victory over Central Florida.
Sellers, who has thrown only four interceptions in 263 career passes, had one picked off by Central Florida defensive back Donnell Washington late in the third quarter. Washington returned Sellers' mistake 80 yards to put the Golden Knights (1-2) up 7-3.
Sellers, who was 19-of-31 for 232 yards and added 102 more on 16 rushes, then took over. He guided the Lobos (3-0) on an 81-yard, nine-play drive that ended with Sellers floating a 5-yard TD pass to tight end Jeremy Banks.
New Mexico scored again on its next possession, this time going 80 yards in eight plays. The key plays were Sellers' 12-yard scramble on third-and-9, a 14-yard pass to Banks and Sellers' 39-yard scoring run off the option.
Central Florida, with starting quarterback Daunte Carpenter sitting out most of the second half with a sprained left ankle, struggled all night offensively and finished with just 114 total yards and was minus-14 yards rushing.
Defensively, Central Florida had no answer for the Sellers-Banks connection. Banks, who dropped a sure touchdown after getting 15 yards behind the Golden Knights defense in the third quarter, finished with a career-high eight catches for 143 yards.
But New Mexico kept Central Florida in the game through the first three quarters with mistakes on offense. Besides Banks' drop, the Lobos also had an 85-yard TD pass from Sellers to Larry Brown in the second quarter wiped out by a holding penalty; kicker Colby Cason hit the right upright with a 43-yard, first-half field goal attempt; and halfback Lennox Gordon fumbled at the Central Florida 6 in the third quarter.