San Diego St. 20, New Mexico 13
ALBUQUERQUE (AP) _ Sophomore quarterback Billy Blanton made a solid debut with San Diego State’s no-huddle offense and New Mexico killed a pair of potential scoring drives in the third quarter with fumbles in the Aztecs’ 20-13 win Saturday.
San Diego State (3-4, 1-3 Western Athletic Conference) snapped a four-game losing streak and a string of seven consecutive WAC losses, the longest in school history.
New Mexico (1-6, 1-3), which lost to the Aztecs for the 11th straight year, lost a close one for the fifth time this season. Five of the six losses have been by a touchdown or less.
The Lobos got a final shot when linebacker Dan Coverley recovered San Diego State’s only turnover, a fumble by reserve halfback Frank Brady at the New Mexico 37 with 40 seconds left. New Mexico got to midfield, but two passes into the end zone by Stoney Case fell incomplete, the latter as time ran out.
Blanton, starting for the first time this season because Tim Gutierrez suffered a broken collarbone against Utah last week, completed seven of his first eight passes. He finished 14-for-24 for 193 yards, including a 12-yard TD pass to DeAndre Maxwell with 7:37 left in the second quarter.
Halfback Wayne Pittman ran for 129 yards on 27 carries and scored the game- winner with a 1-yard run with 10:25 left in the third quarter. The score capped an 80-yard, 10-play drive on the Aztecs’ first possession of the second half.
New Mexico got a 4-yard scoring run from Case and field goals of 42 and 44 yards by Nathan Vail. The second was a career-best boot by Vail which spiraled through the rain and tied the game at 13-13 with 5 seconds left in the first half.
Winslow Oliver rushed for a season-high 163 yards for New Mexico but his lost fumble at the end of a 35-yard run to the San Diego State 12 midway through the third quarter proved costly. On its previous possession, New Mexico also erased a good drive when Eric Young lost a fumble one play after Case had scampered 48 yards off the option to the Aztecs 32.