UNM coach Bob Davie:
Opening statement …
“Hard to win a game, ain’t it? I appreciate these kids so much. I just told them, I remember two years ago when I was offered this job. Air Force had beaten this team 42-0, and to beat a team like Air Force, you better have some discipline; you better have some toughness. I told them during the week we were 2-8 against this team. Last year we lost by five points and both quarterbacks were hurt in the first half. Before that, I think it averaged something like 42-10 in the three years before that. We were in a position to win the game because the kids took care of their business and they are disciplined and they are tough. I appreciate these kids so much. It was just what I thought it was going to be. We are really mirror images of each other, the Air Force Academy and the University of New Mexico. I hope people appreciate just how far this team has come to be able to say we are mirror images of the Air Force Academy. That doesn’t happen without doing what they’ve done, but you see what we are, you see who they are. Whoever gets the stop wins the game. We got a stop in the first series of the game I believe. We had zero turnovers. We had two penalties. One a holding call right at the end of the first half and then a false start. That’s pretty disciplined. There was no margin for error, as there’s never margin for error with us right now. We had a lot of guys banged up coming in and out on defense. Air Force is just what you knew they would be. They weren’t going to go away. I’ve played them many, many times and they never go away. It doesn’t matter what the score is. I was very impressed by them. I was very impressed by their quarterback. That freshman quarterback about put on a show throwing the ball around.
Our offense didn’t punt all night, didn’t turn the ball over. Cole Gautsche is a tough, tough son of a gun. Crusoe Gongbay went out in the first half with a hip pointer. Jhurell Pressley certainly took advantage of his opportunities. Our field goal kicker, who started out in a tank, came back and kicked five straight field goals and kicked a field goal to win the game. So, it’s a big win for us. We are similar style teams and we were able to get the win. I appreciate these kids and I hope people appreciate how far they’ve come.
Defensively, it’s going to be what it is while we build this thing up. That’s the piece that takes the longest. I talked to Troy Calhoun a lot before the game. It’s the piece that has taken him the longest and that’s what it is going to be. But, heck of a win for us to be able to hang in there and show the kind of toughness it took to win this game.”
What does a win like this do for the confidence on the team?
“I don’t know that it does all that much for confidence. It’s just good to know you work as hard as they (do). It’s that simple. We’ve lost five Mountain West Conference games since I’ve been here by five points or less. We lost six games by seven points or less. We lost seven games by eight points or less. It’s nice to win a close game.
“Our defensive coaching staff, they always work hard, but the amount of time those guys have spent and the amount of effort our defensive players have given is incredible. I don’t care if it was 62-60. I’m just happy for our defensive players and defensive coaches because they have worked so hard just trying to find ways in a difficult situation.”
Are you keeping your hopes alive to be bowl eligible?
“I guess we have Colorado State, Fresno, and Boise, so that’s a pretty good chore right there. We’ll just enjoy this one tonight and just say we were at least able to win a MWC game.”
How big was it for you guys to have a win on ESPNU?
“Kind of forgot about all of that other than those long commercials. … I know the last time we played on ESPN was September 10, 2011 and we got beat 52-3 by Arkansas. The time before that was 2007 on ESPN. We have ESPN two more times against really, really good teams. I think it was a big deal to our kids. It was a bigger deal to me that Brian Urlacher was here.
“I showed them a text conversation I had with Brian earlier in the week. I said if you need anything just let me know and he said promise me one thing, you can whoop their butt. One thing I can promise you, we’re going to work our butt off. It was neat to see him out there before the game and just to have Brian out there and come in the locker room, it was a big deal to him and I appreciated it. It was a good win on ESPNU; it was a good win with Brian Urlacher here. He knows some of the challenges in this program. He went through them his junior year. I think he’s exciting that we could build this thing.”
Were you thinking about what happened last year when the game started, 14-0?
“No, I was thinking about UNLV. We jumped up fourteen-nothing against UNLV and we gave up a speed sweep into the boundary for eighty yards and we couldn’t ever capture the momentum. It’s going to be that until we get this defense built and that’s what I sense a frustration of everyone. Our fans, everyone, is pulling for this defense right now, but there’s no magic way to do it.”
UNM senior running back Kasey Carrier
On the lack of production compared to last year’s running yards…
“I think they came out and had a mindset to stop the running game. It’s a service academy, those guys never quit. They tried to stop the run but we executed it all whole game.”
On what he saw with the running game…
“It was tough. It seemed like they really didn’t know where the ball was going. We mixed it up so much, had so many backs coming in to where you didn’t know who was the blocking back, dive back, or option back so it was a good thing.”
UNM junior defensive end Brett Bowers
On what Brian Urlacher said to the team…
“That was basically it. He kind of came up, wanted us to win really bad. He’s obviously pretty big, a pretty big star, especially in New Mexico. It was pretty cool to have him in our presence.”
On the sack at the end of the fourth quarter…
“I’m pretty sure we ran the same play twice. The first play I tried speeding around, running by the center. The second time I blew by him and got the sack.”
Air Force coach Troy Calhoun
"It was a hard fought game. New Mexico came out strong and played well."