ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Fisher DeBerry finally had a reason to
DeBerry's season of chaos and controversy ended Saturday on a
good note as Air Force beat New Mexico 42-24, leaving the Lobos'
bowl hopes in jeopardy.
The Falcons had lost seven of their last eight games and DeBerry
has been engulfed in controversy for comments he made after a 48-10
loss to TCU last month. He said Air Force didn't have enough
"Afro-American" players, who he singled out for being able to run
He was reprimanded by top brass at the academy and offered a
public apology. The 62-year-old coach said earlier in the week none
of the off-the-field problems have bothered him much and after the
win Saturday dismissed the idea that the Falcons were trying to win
one for him.
"This was just a ball game," DeBerry said. "It's not about
me, nothing's about me. You never, never give up on the people you
love and they won for each other today."
The Falcons (4-7, 3-5 Mountain West) didn't look like a team
that ended with back-to-back losing seasons for the first time in
DeBerry's 22 years at the academy.
"I'm proud that we beat a team that was bowl bound, in their
backyard on senior day," DeBerry said. "I think it's a
significant accomplishment for a team that was only 3-7."
Jacobe Kendrick scored on runs of 2 and 10 yards and Shaun
Carney picked apart the Lobos' secondary for 186 yards. Carney
threw for one TD, ran for another and kept New Mexico's defense
guessing most of the day.
"They were bringing a lot of blitzes and once we got the
protection worked out everything started opening up," Carney said.
"We can throw the ball in our offense and keep the corners and the
safeties honest and that really opens up the running game."
New Mexico (6-5, 4-4) is bowl eligible, but with the conference
possibly having up to five bowl-eligible teams, the Lobos could be
left out. The loss was the third for New Mexico at home in MWC
games this season.
Carney threw a 46-yard TD pass to Greg Kirkwood and scored in
the fourth quarter on a 1-yard run. Carney ran for 94 yards, most
of that on a 61-yard run on the first play of the third quarter
that set up an Air Force field goal that stretched the Falcons'
lead to 21-10.
Kendrick had 89 as the Falcons had 278 yards on the ground and
Halfback DonTrell Moore, who rushed for 143 yards -- his 26th
career 100-yard game -- scored on an 11-yard TD run that got New
Mexico within 21-16 with 6:34 left in the third quarter. But the
Lobos had no other offensive threat and could not slow down Air
"It changed the offense dramatically when Chris went out," New
Mexico coach Rocky Long said. "There's only a few things that
Bryan can do and there's only a few things Bryan knows how to do."
Nelson was hurt in the drive that led to Moore's score. He was
hit hard while scrambling for a first down on a fourth-and-2 to the
Falcons' 33-yard line.
Nelson had started in place of Kole McKamey, the starter most of
the season who has been out the last two weeks with a bad back.
McKamey started the game in street clothes, but went into the
locker room and suited up after Nelson went out. McKamey didn't get
into the game.
Air Force, which had lost seven of its last eight games, sealed
the win on Kendrick's 10-yard TD with 9:54 left in the game. That
came after the Falcons held Moore just short on a fourth-and-1 at
the Air Force 28.
"That doesn't happen very often," said DeBerry of the New
Mexico halfback who has rushed for 4,973 career yards rushing, 13th
all-time on the NCAA list.
Air Force took a 10-0 lead on a career best 49-yard field goal
by Scott Eberle and a 46-yard screen pass from Carney to Kirkwood.
The touchdown was set up by Brad Meissen's interception of a Nelson
pass that bounced off Lobo receiver Hank Baskett.
Meissen returned the interception to the New Mexico 45 and one
play later Kirkwood took the screen pass in untouched. It was the
14th touchdown pass by the Falcons this season, a school record
since the AFA started running the option in 1980.