ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) New Mexico coach Bob Davie knew that his Lobos would be able to exploit the Air Force defense for some big plays.
All told, New Mexico was able to pop six plays longer than 40 yards to help the Lobos bet Air Force 47-35.
''We knew there would be some plays to be made,'' he said. ''I think we were fairly confident going in but that definitely gets you off on the right path.''
Jhurell Pressley paved that path with a 57-yard scoring run up the gut of the Falcons defense on the first possession and after Air Force came back to tie it, Pressley took the first play 75 yards, again right up the middle, for another score.
''Green grass,'' he said in explaining what he saw. ''Green grass.''
Getting off to that 14-7 lead was important for the Lobos (7-5, 5-3 Mountain West), Davie said.
''It was big. The explosive plays are contagious,'' he said. ''We've been on the other side of big, explosive plays against your defense. That kind of rocks you and gets you back on your heels. Anytime you get some big plays, it's like a slam dunk in basketball.''
Pressley, who finished with a career-best 170 yards on 17 carries and another late touchdown, has been the Lobos' home-run hitter the past two seasons.
''I felt like I've been doing it a long time,'' he said. ''I had the opportunities to make a play and I made a play. It felt real good.''
Richard McQuarley also scored twice, including a 44-yard run near the end of the first half.
That was enough to offset a huge effort from Falcons running back Timothy McVey, who had five touchdowns with 105 yards rushing and 157 receiving.
''We wore him out,'' Davie said. ''It was amazing. It was so frustrating because a couple of passes he caught down the seam, again, they're going to get some big passes. But it really shouldn't happen.
The New Mexico defense, however, still held the rest of the Falcons (8-4, 6-2) in check, limiting them 222 rushing yards, about 110 below their average.
''I thought we really did a good job against their option,'' Davie said. ''They really turned into an I-formation and throwing the ball against us.''
Air Force quarterback Karson Roberts added 62 yards rushing for the Falcons and threw for 167, but was just 6-for-16.
Still, the Falcons pulled within 34-28 early in the fourth quarter on McVey's 26-yard touchdown catch.
But New Mexico responded on Lamar Jordan's 2-yard run with 4:01 remaining.
Seconds later, McVey scored on a 56-yard touchdown pass, but New Mexico recovered the onside kick and Pressley scored from 13 yards out.
In addition to Pressley's touchdown runs, McQuarley had a 44-yard TD run, Reece White had a 58-yard reception, Teriyon Gipson added a 45-yard run and Carlos Wiggins had a 44-yard reception. Wiggins also had a 44-yard kickoff return.
The Lobos defense chipped in, as well, with interceptions by Ryan Santos, Cranston Jones and Donnie Duncan, the latter coming in the fourth quarter to help stymie the Air Force comeback.
Lobos quarterback Jordan only completed four passes, but totaled 135 yards. He also added 68 yards rushing and Gipson had 71.