New Mexico holds off Sam Houston State 39-31

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ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Ahmari Davis scored two touchdowns and Andrew Shelly hit four field goals to lead New Mexico to a 39-31 victory over Sam Houston State on Saturday in the season-opener for both schools.

Davis, who broke three plays for more than 40 yards, finished with 107 yards rushing and another 58 receiving. He had 183 total yards all of last season.

Sheriron Jones, playing in relief of starting quarterback Brandt Hughes, ran for two second-half touchdowns to help the Lobos break open the game.

New Mexico got out to a 16-0 lead in the second quarter, scoring on four straight possessions. But the Bearkats took a 23-22 lead in the third quarter when Eric Schmid, who finished with a rushing touchdown and a throwing touchdown, found Toniel Carter on a 13-yard scoring pass.

The Lobos regained the lead on Shelley's fourth field goal then Jones ran it in from 11 yards out to push the lead to 32-23 at the end of the third quarter.

Davis had a scoring run of 43 yards, and another rush for 53 yards, while adding a 51-yard reception.

The Bearkats also used two quarterbacks, with starter Ty Brock finishing 258 yards. Dee Bowens had nine catches for 130 yards and a 65-yard score.

Sam Houston reached the Lobos 24 in the closing minute.

BIG PICTURE: New Mexico's stated goal is to win six games and achieve bowl eligibility, something it has done just twice before in Bob Davie's prior seven seasons with the Lobos. Getting this first victory gives New Mexico a good start toward that benchmark.

Sam Houston had won three straight season openers and has finished above .500 nine consecutive seasons.

UP NEXT

New Mexico next plays at Notre Dame on Sept. 14. It marks the first coaching return to South Bend, Ind., for Davie, who coached the Fighting Irish from 1997-2001.

The Bearkats next play at home against Oklahoma State Panhandle.