Gipson's late TD boosts New Mexico over UNLV 31-28
LAS VEGAS (AP) New Mexico's Teriyon Gipson scored from three yards out with 1:22 left in the game Saturday, lifting New Mexico to a 31-28 win over UNLV.
After squandering a 17-7 halftime lead, and falling behind UNLV twice in the second half, the Lobos (3-5, 1-3 Mountain West) escaped with their first conference win of the season after UNLV's Brian McIntyre's 55-yard field-goal attempt fell just under the crossbar as time expired. McIntyre, a walk-on from Las Vegas' Arbor View High School, was making his first appearance for the Rebels.
The Lobos were led on offense by Jhurell Pressley, who ran for 138 yards on 20 carries and three touchdowns. New Mexico quarterback Lamar Jordan finished with a passer rating of 34.6, after completing just 2 of 7 pass attempts.
UNLV (2-7, 1-4) was led by running back Shaquille Murray-Lawrence's 125 yards rushing and two touchdowns, while quarterback Blake Decker completed 28 of 44 pass attempts for 271 yards.
UNLV, looking like an entirely different team than the squad that opened the contest and trailed 17-7 at halftime, came out in the third quarter and marched downfield to cut the gap to three, driving 77 yards in 10 plays, as Murray-Lawrence scored from 1 yard out with 11:46 left in the quarter.
After holding the Lobos on their first possession of the second half, the Rebels went 95 yards in 13 plays, capped by Murray-Lawrence's second rushing score of the day, to give the Rebels their first lead of the day at the 5:49 mark in the third.
New Mexico capitalized on an interception by Isaiah Brown, who returned it 43 yards to UNLV's 4. Pressley bullied his way into the end zone on the next play, as the Lobos took a 24-21 lead with 12:05 left. The Rebels answered with a 12-play, 85-yard drive, Keith Whitely pummeling his way in from the 3 giving UNLV a 28-24 lead with 8:28 remaining.
New Mexico got revenge for last year's loss at home and tied the series, 11-11. The Rebels have won five of the last seven meetings, including last season's 56-42 thriller.
While the 2013 clash was a shootout, this year's rendition lacked the same offensive fireworks before the teams exchanged touchdowns in the second half. At halftime last year, New Mexico had 436 yards of offense while UNLV had 328 yards, there was just one punt and the score was tied 35-35. This year, New Mexico had 199 yards while UNLV had 147, there were eight punts and the Lobos led, 17-7, at the half.