New Mexico–Utah football rivalry
|First meeting||January 2, 1939
Utah 26, New Mexico 0
|Latest meeting||September 18, 2010
Utah 56, New Mexico 14
|All-time series||Utah leads, 33–17–2|
|Longest win streak||Utah, 5 (1987–91, 1995–99)|
|Current win streak||Utah, 4 (2007–present)|
The Utah Utes and New Mexico Lobos were both members of the Mountain West Conference, from the inception of the Mountain West Conference until the Utes joined the Pac-12 Conference for the 2011-12 academic year. These teams have played each other in football regularly since the early 1960s, when both schools were members of the Western Athletic Conference.
Although Utah leads the series by a large margin, New Mexico has often been victorious when the odds were most against them, and when the game was especially important to Utah. For example, in November of 1994, Utah was ranked #8, and had an 8–0 record that included victories over Oregon (eventual Pac-10 champion, #11 finish) and #12 Colorado State. They were heavy favorites to beat New Mexico, who had an unimpressive 3–8 record at the time.
During the game, Utah jumped out to a 21–3 halftime lead. However, a slew of Utah turnovers resulted in a New Mexico rally. The Lobos cut the Ute lead to one point with just four minutes left in the game. Then, with just 32 seconds left on the clock, New Mexico hit a 22-yard field goal to seal the 23–21 victory, and destroy Utah's hopes for an undefeated season. New Mexico went on finish the season at 5–7. Utah, on the other hand, would go on to a 10–2 record, which included victories over #20 BYU and #14 Arizona in the Freedom Bowl. But they would be condemned to forever wonder what might have been had the New Mexico game turned out in their favor.
1939 Sun Bowl
|1939 Sun Bowl|
|Date||January 2, 1939|
|Location||El Paso, Texas|
Incidentally, the first meeting between the two teams was in the 1939 Sun Bowl, in El Paso, Texas. The game was touted as the most evenly matched of the five major bowl games of the 1938 season. Nevertheless, the Utes dominated from the start, scoring three first-half touchdowns, including a 1-yard run on fourth down by Ray Peterson.
In the second half, New Mexico had numerous opportunities to close the gap following Utah turnovers. However, the famous Lobo aerial attack couldn't capitalize. Overall, New Mexico was held to 59 yards passing, and was intercepted four times. Furthermore, they were unable to cross Utah's 40-yard line during the entire game. Utah, on the other hand, racked up 366 yards rushing, and outgained the Lobos 384–212.
- Utah- Tom Pace 15-yard run (Bernard McGarry kick)
- Utah- Ray Peterson 60-yard interception return (Bernard McGarry kick)
- Utah- Ray Peterson 1-yard run (kick failed)
- Utah- Clarence Gehrke 10-yard run (kick failed)
From 2002 to 2006, New Mexico defeated Utah four out of five times. Prior to each of those meetings, the Lobos were seen as the underdog. In 2002, New Mexico tied the game by scoring a touchdown with only 46 seconds remaining in regulation. They would complete the upset in double-overtime. The next year, with Utah nationally ranked for the first time since 1996, the Lobos scored 28 third-quarter points and held on to win, 47–35 in Salt Lake City. Utah's lone victory against New Mexico during this span came in 2004 when the Utes crushed the Lobos en route to an undefeated season and Fiesta Bowl championship. But in 2005, the Utes gave up an eight-point halftime lead, were held scoreless in the second-half, and allowed the Lobos to score the game-winning touchdown by recovering a Utah fumble in the endzone. To add injury to insult, Utah's starting quarterback, Brian Johnson, suffered a knee injury in that game, which ended his season. Johnson would also have to redshirt the following season in order to allow his knee to fully heal. Finally, in 2006, the Utes gave up a 24–3 lead in the second-half, including the game winning touchdown with just two minutes left.
|26 October 2002||Utah||-6||New Mexico||42||Utah||35||Albuquerque||(2OT)
|25 October 2003||Utah||-8||New Mexico||47||#23Utah||35||Salt Lake City|||
|1 October 2004||Utah||-10||#14Utah||28||New Mexico||7||Albuquerque|||
|12 November 2005||Utah||-6||New Mexico||31||Utah||27||Salt Lake CIty|||
|19 October 2006||Utah||-7||New Mexico||34||Utah||31||Albuquerque|||
During that same period, each team appeared in four post-season bowl games. But whereas Utah won all four of their bowls, New Mexico lost all four of theirs. In 2006, Utah defeated Tulsa in the Armed Forces Bowl to extend their bowl winning-streak to six games (the second longest such streak in the nation). Earlier that same day, New Mexico lost to San Jose State in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl, which was played at the Lobo's home stadium in Albuquerque.
November 17, 2007 • Salt Lake City, Utah
Although both teams entered the game with an identical record (7–3, 4–2), Utah defeated New Mexico 28–10, eliminating the Lobos from MWC Championship contention. The Utes went on to defeat Navy 35–32 in the Poinsettia Bowl, and New Mexico won the second annual New Mexico Bowl with a 23–0 shutout over Nevada.
November 1, 2008 • Albuquerque, New Mexico
Utah (8–0, 4–0) was off to its best start since 2004, and was the front running "BCS Buster". New Mexico (4–5, 2–3) was battling injuries and struggling to become bowl eligible. Utah was a 7.5 point favorite coming into the game, nevertheless New Mexico came as close to beating the Utes as anyone else that year. But in the end, the Utes left Albuquerque with a hard-fought 3-point win.
November 7, 2009 • Salt Lake City, Utah
Utah won a surprisingly easy matchup over New Mexico. Ironically, the Utes scored 21 of their points in the third quarter, almost half of their points during the game, a quarter that they have traditionally struggled against New Mexico in. After a close first quarter and somewhat close halftime score of 17–7, the first half of rope-a-dope football gave way to 21 points by the Utes, who held a commanding 38–7 lead before putting in reserves, scoring once more and allowing New Mexico to score a garbage time touchdown.
|New Mexico victories||Utah victories||Tie games|
- "2006 Utah Football Media Guide" (PDF). University of Utah Athletic Department. p. 177. Retrieved 2007-03-30.
- "2006 Lobo Football Media Guide" (PDF). University of New Mexico Athletic Department. p. 172. Retrieved 2007-03-30.
- "New Mexico Upsets No. 23 Utah". GoLobos.com. 25 October 2003. Archived from the original on 13 July 2012.
- "Sweet Revenge". Deseret Morning News. 2 October 2004.
- "New Mexico Outlasts Utah, 31–27". GoLobos.com. 12 November 2005. Archived from the original on 12 July 2012.
- "Huge Comeback Lifts New Mexico Over Utah, 34–31". GoLobos.com. 19 October 2006. Archived from the original on 11 July 2012.
- Full New Mexico-Utah results list via Sports-reference.com