2:30 PM ET, November 19, 2005
University Stadium, ALBUQUERQUE, NM
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Fisher DeBerry finally had a reason to smile again.
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 well.
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 464 total.
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 Force's option.
"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.
Team Stat Comparison
|3rd Down Conversions||7-15||3-14|
|4th Down Conversions||1-1||1-4|
|FG||10:42||SCOTT EBERLE 49 YD FG|
Drive info: 5 plays, 20 yards.
|TD||13:15||GREG KIRKWOOD 46 YD PASS FROM SHAUN CARNEY (SCOTT EBERLE KICK)|
Drive info: 2 plays, 45 yards.
|TD||8:43||MARCUS SMITH 15 YD RUN (KENNY BYRD KICK)|
Drive info: 9 plays, 54 yards.
|FG||2:31||KENNY BYRD 40 YD FG|
Drive info: 8 plays, 49 yards.
|TD||0:18||JACOBE KENDRICK 2 YD RUN (JACOBE KENDRICK 2PT RUSH)|
Drive info: 11 plays, 80 yards.
|FG||11:49||SCOTT EBERLE 21 YD FG|
Drive info: 7 plays, 76 yards.
|TD||6:34||DONTRELL MOORE 11 YD RUN (FAILED 2PT PASS)|
Drive info: 13 plays, 66 yards.
|TD||9:54||JACOBE KENDRICK 10 YD RUN (SCOTT EBERLE KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 73 yards.
|TD||3:52||SHAUN CARNEY 1 YD RUN (SCOTT EBERLE KICK)|
Drive info: 10 plays, 39 yards.
|TD||2:47||TRAVIS BROWN 11 YD PASS FROM BRYAN CLAMPITT (DONTRELL MOORE 2PT PASS FROM BRYAN CLAMPITT)|
Drive info: 8 plays, 80 yards.
|TD||0:46||RYAN WILLIAMS 10 YD RUN (SCOTT EBERLE KICK)|
Drive info: 6 plays, 52 yards.