Lobos shut down Wolf Pack, 23-0
By Tim Korte
By Tim Korte
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — For coach Rocky Long, it was just the next game, another brick to continue building his program.
For delighted New Mexico fans, it marked the end of a 46-year skid.
Paul Baker ran for 167 yards in his first start, and Donovan Porterie threw for career-high 354 yards and two touchdowns to help New Mexico beat Nevada, 23-0, in the New Mexico Bowl yesterday.
The Lobos (9-4) ended a 46-year span without a postseason victory and gave Long, the team's 10th-year coach, his first bowl win in five tries.
"It gets it off our back. We don't have to listen to it anymore," Long said. "But this program was good before we won today."
Long was both defiant and jovial in the interview room, scolding reporters for focusing on the bowl losses — including Long's 0-4 mark before yesterday.
"It's you people who make it so important that we have to win to be justified," he said. "It's you folks that write that stuff, not us. We believe. Our players believe. I believe.
"I'm glad you're giving me a soap box, by the way," he added, drawing laughter.
John Sullivan made field goals from 53, 39 and 37 yards, but give credit to New Mexico's defense, which delivered just the second shutout loss for Nevada under Hall of Fame coach Chris Ault.
The Wolf Pack (6-7) hadn't gone scoreless since losing 10-0 to Weber State on Sept. 27, 1980, a span of 329 games — the longest current streak in college football and the second longest in history.
It's the first time Nevada was shut out since moving to Division I-A in 1992.
"It's certainly a compliment to their defense," Ault said. "They played a great game. At the other end of the spectrum, we played as poorly on offense as we've played in a long time."
The Wolf Pack, which averaged 36.2 points and 488.9 yards during the season, managed just 210 yards yesterday.
It was New Mexico's first bowl victory since beating Western Michigan, 28-12, in the 1961 Aviation Bowl at Dayton, Ohio. The Lobos also notched a nine-win season for just the fourth time in school history.
"I'm very proud of our team," Long said. "I thought they were as focused as they've been all year long for any game."
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