San Jose St. Upsets New Mexico
by Mike Mitchell
New Mexico became the first team to emerge from bowl season with a losing record after falling 20-12 to San Jose State in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl in Albuquerque.
Despite the luxury of playing on their home field, the Lobos found themselves behind 20-3 until San Jose State's punter stepped out of the end zone with just 1:03 left in the game. New Mexico then scored a touchdown on the ensuing drive. And with :12 still left in the game, the Lobos recovered the onside kick - only to discover they touched the ball a yard too early.
The tone of the game was set for New Mexico in the second quarter. Trailing 7-0, the Lobos were about to punch it in for a tying score when the ball was fumbled into the endzone and picked out of the air by the Spartans. San Jose State failed to get any points off of the turnover, but eemed to gain momentum from the play and later took a 13-0 lead on Adam Tafralis' second touchdown pass of the game. New Mexico managed a 40-yard field goal just before halftime to cut the deficit to 13-3.
Tafralis' third touchdown pass in the 3rd quarter put the Spartans up 20-3.
The Lobos finished the season with a losing record at 6-7. It also dropped New Mexico's bowl record to 2-6-1, keeping the Lobos winless in bowl games since a 1961 Aviation Bowl defeat of Western Michigan.
San Jose State wound up 9-4, with more victories in the 2006 season than in the previous three seasons combined. It was the first bowl experience for the Spartans since the 1990 California Bowl.