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PROVO, Utah (Nov. 13, 2004) -- After falling behind by two touchdowns, the BYU Cougars came up short in their comeback bid, falling 21-14 to the University of New Mexico Saturday, and dropped into a tie for second place in the Mountain West Conference.
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BYU head coach Gary Crowton attributed the loss to making too many mistakes.
"Looking at the game, I knew they were a good football team, especially a good defensive team," Crowton said. "I knew that the team with the fewest mistakes would win the game and that was the case."
BYU finished with three turnovers compared to only one by New Mexico. The last Cougar turnover was a lost fumble on their final drive when they were trying to move down the field for a touchdown to tie the game.
John Beck had a solid game, completing 22-of-37 pass attempts for 247 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Austin Collie led all BYU receivers with four catches for 83 yards. The defense held the Lobos to 257 yards of total offense.
Kole McKamey led the New Mexico offense, completing 7-of-12 passes for 143 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Hank Baskett was on the receiving end of four of those passes and finished with 125 yards and one touchdown. DonTrell Moore led a solid ground game, finishing with 101 yards and one touchdown on 25 rushes.
The Lobo defense came up big against the BYU running game, hold the Cougar backs to just 58 yards on 34 carries.
"They're a good team against the run. They come up and hit you good up front and are pretty stunning," Crowton said. "They're the number one team against the rush in the conference."
BYU jumped out to a 7-0 lead with 3:02 left in the first on a trick play by the special teams unit. Facing fourth and 11 from the New Mexico 12-yard line, the Cougars came out in field goal formation, with Riley Weber, the holder, lining up on the sideline. BYU snapped the ball and Matt Payne threw to a wide-open Weber for the touchdown.
New Mexico came right back, scoring just 39 seconds later on a 15-yard run by Marcus Smith. A 47-yard pass from McKamey to Baskett on the previous play set up the score.
The Lobos took the lead just moments later, scoring off a Cougar turnover. Beck completed a pass to Fahu Tahi, who fumbled the ball after picking up first down yardage. New Mexico started its drive from the BYU 36 and scored two plays later on a 29-yard touchdown pass from McKamey to Baskett to take the 14-7 lead with 47 seconds left in the first quarter.
The 14 fist quarter points were the second most the Cougars have allowed in the first quarter this season. Boise State scored 16 first quarter points.
BYU had two chances to add points late in the second, advancing the ball inside the New Mexico 30 twice in the last three minutes. Both drives ended in missed 43-yard field goals.
The third quarter was a defensive struggle, with neither team scoring. The only threat was a failed 37-yard field goal attempt by Payne with 7:15 left in the quarter.
New Mexico finally ended the drought in the fourth, putting together a 15 play, 87-yard drive that lasted 7:52 and ended in a one-yard touchdown plunge by Moore. The score put the Lobos up 21-7 with 8:37 remaining in the game.
The Cougars came out determined on their next drive, taking only 2:28 to move the ball 68 yards for a touchdown. Tahi scored on a seven-yard strike form Beck to pull BYU to within a touchdown at 21-14 with 6:00 remaining in the game.
Needing a stop, the Cougars forced New Mexico to punt after six plays. But Lobo punter Tyler Gaus came up with an excellent kick, pinning BYU on its own three-yard line with 2:33 remaining in the game.
The Cougars again came out looking like they would move the ball, advancing to their own 45-yard line before Antwaun Harris fumbled the ball away to the Lobos with 42 seconds left in the game. New Mexico then ran out the clock to seal the victory.
Crowton said he told the team to stay positive and look toward next week's game against the University of Utah.
"I told the players to keep their heads up and be ready to battle and get better," Crowton said. "We just need to pull together and stay strong and move forward from this game."
With the loss, BYU fell to 5-5 overall and 4-2 in the Mountain West Conference. The Cougars will conclude their season next Saturday on the road against in state rival, the University of Utah.
Written by BYU Athletic Communications