AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. (AP) — Wes Cobb scored on a trio of 1-yard runs and Air Force overcame Kasey Carrier’s Mountain West Conference-record 338 yards rushing with a 28-23 win over New Mexico on Saturday night.
The Falcons (4-3, 2-1) won despite losing Cody Getz, the nation’s second-leading rusher, on their first snap when he appeared to aggravate a sprained left ankle.
Trailing by five, the Lobos (4-4, 1-2) reached the Air Force 12 after a strip by Tim Foley of receiver Ty MacArthur, but linebacker Alex Means, who earlier returned an interception for a touchdown, stuffed Lamaar Thomas for a 4-yard loss on fourth-and-4.
The Falcons chewed up the final 3:57 to secure their fifth straight win over New Mexico, which was trying to win back-to-back road games in conference play for the first time since 2007.
Carrier, who ran the ball 39 times, scored on runs of 1, 1 and 37 yards and was chased down after runs of 68 and 59 yards that set up New Mexico’s first two scores.
Carrier, whose 37-yard TD run in the third quarter pulled the Lobos to within 28-23, broke New Mexico’s single-game rushing mark of 265 yards set by Quincy Wright against Weber State 10 years ago. He also surpassed the conference mark of 285 yards set by Gartrell Johnson of Colorado State against Fresno State in the 2008 New Mexico Bowl.
By halftime, the senior from Pearland, Texas, had amassed 227 yards on 22 carries, surpassing his career high of 191 yards set just two weeks ago against Texas State.
The Lobos, however, trailed 14-10 at the break thanks to Means’ first career touchdown.
Means reached high with his right hand to tip B.R. Holbrook’s pass to running back Chase Clayton in the right flat, gathered in the fluttering ball and sprinted 65 yards for the touchdown that erased New Mexico’s 10-7 lead.
Carrier stepped through the line and raced 68 yards on his first carry before Steffon Batts chased him down and knocked him out of bounds at the 7. The Lobos had to settle for Justus Adams’ short field goal.
Carrier also was chased down just shy of the goal line minutes later when he burst up the middle for a 59-yard run, tripped up by Christian Spears at the 1. Carrier took it in from there for a 10-0 lead.
Just when it looked like Carrier and the Lobos were going to steamroll the short-handed Falcons, MacArthur stepped up to make sure that didn’t happen.
He returned the ensuing kickoff 21 yards, caught an 11-yard pass, ran for 16 more and hauled in a 25-yard throw at the 1, then watched Cobb score from there to make the score 10-7.
Carrier carried seven times for 37 yards on another New Mexico drive, but that’s when Means changed the game with his interception.
Carrier capped New Mexico’s first drive of the second half with a 1-yard TD that put the Lobos back on top 17-14.
The Falcons responded with Cobb’s second 1-yard TD run for a 21-17 lead, and his third short TD made it 28-17.
The Lobos missed the 2-point conversion after Carrier’s 37-yard scoring run with 12 minutes remaining.
(© Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)