ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Brad Roberts ran for 142 yards and scored twice as Air Force scored on its first four drives to build a big early lead then coasted to a 38-10 win over New Mexico on Saturday.
The Falcons' defense contributed four takeaways and four sacks — 3 1/2 by Vince Sanford.
Air Force (4-1, 1-1 Mountain West) limited the Lobos (2-3, 0-1) to 189 total yards, 143 in the second half after the Falcons had already pushed its lead to 31-0 early in the third quarter.
DeAndre Hughes ran for 89 and a touchdown for Air Force.
New Mexico quarterback Terry Wilson Jr. was 13-21 for 142 yards and a touchdown pass.
LIKES THE LOBOS: In two games against New Mexico, Roberts has 319 yards on 57 carries and five touchdowns.
“I don’t know if it’s anything in particular,” he said. “The offensive line just does its job and opens up a crease for me and I just try and run as fast as I can. You can see the defense and you can see them huffing and puffing and you know you kind of got ‘em where you want ‘em. It’s my favorite thing to look at them and to know they’re tired and that we can keep pounding the rock.”
GOOD D: Air Force displayed a dominating defense in the first half, consistently meeting the Lobos at the point of attack with two or more defenders. The Falcons forced two fumbles and recovered both. They added two interception in the second half.
Sanford’s sack total was the most by a Falcon since 2008.
“He’s a very instinctive football player,” Air Force coach Troy Calhoun said. “He’s played three different positions for us and he handled every one of them. He just has an innate understanding for the game and how to play the game.”
OR BAD O: New Mexico ran 18 plays in the first half, three of them punts. The Lobos had one first down and possessed the ball for just under seven minutes. Their longest drive was five plays and covered five yards, but was flagged three times for 20.
“Obviously, we’re not very good,” said Lobos coach Danny Gonzales. “Air Force out-physicalled us, which is really disappointing. …And we’re not good enough on defense yet to be so bad on offense and not get first downs.”
BLANK THIS: When the Lobos scored at the 7:24 mark of the third quarter on a Wilson’s 21-yard pass to Trae Hall, it ended a 99-minute, 33-second scoreless stretch against the Falcons dating back to the 2019 season. It also marked New Mexico’s second TD in its last 36 drives this season.
THE TAKEAWAY: Air Force showed its ground-and-pound offense can control the ball against lesser opponents, but it put the ball on the ground twice and were fortunate to recover both. Bigger and tougher tests await the Falcons
“We just have to keep getting better,” Calhoun said. “We have some really great challenges up in front of us.”
UP NEXT: Air Force will be at home Saturday against Wyoming. The Cowboys (4-0) will be coming off a bye week and playing their conference opener. Although undefeated, Wyoming has played a slate that is a combined 7-11.
New Mexico will be at San Diego State (4-0) on Saturday. The Aztecs, who have beaten PAC-12 Conference members Arizona and Utah, also will be coming off a bye. It will mark the return to San Diego of former head coach Rocky Long, now the Lobos’ defensive coordinator, and former Aztecs defensive coordinator Gonzales.