ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) — Ahmari Davis scored two touchdowns and Andrew Shelly made four field goals to lead New Mexico to a 39-31 victory over Sam Houston State on Saturday night as the opener for both schools was tempered by news that Lobos coach Bob Davie was hospitalized after the game with what the school described as a serious medical issue.
“There was an incident with Coach Davie,” said New Mexico associate athletic director David Williams. “There will not be a press conference. No players, no coaches.” The university later said Davie was “taken to the hospital as a result of what appeared to be a serious medical condition” and more information would be released as it became available.
The 64-year-old coach was taken away by ambulance with his wife in the front seat.
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 took 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.
“We didn’t make enough plays,” said Bearkats coach K.C. Keeler. “That was my frustration with the guys. I’m proud that we bounced back after being down a couple of scores and all of that but that’s expected of our place. You’re down a couple of scores and you keep playing.”
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, while Dee Bowens had nine catches for 130 yards and a 65-yard score.
“Both of them played so well during training camp,” Keeler said. “And we didn’t know which one to go with. We think we have two we can win with so we’re going to go with both of them.”
San Houston reached the Lobos 24 in the closing minute.
New Mexico’s stated goal is to win six games and achieve bowl eligibility something it has done just twice before in 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.
The 97-degree temperature at kickoff marked the Lobos warmest opening-day game. And it definitely played a role in the game, Keeler said, as it was combined with unusual humidity and an elevation of nearly a mile high.
“At the end Eric was been getting IVs so he was out, he wasn’t an option anymore,” Keeler said of Schmid. “I’ve never seen as many players cramp and I think we’re in really good shape, but we had a lot of cramping going on.”
New Mexico next plays at Notre Dame on Sept. 14. Davie coached the Fighting Irish from 1997-2001.
The Bearkats next play at home against Oklahoma State Panhandle.