Portland State 17

(1-0, 1-0 away)

New Mexico 6

(0-1, 0-1 home)

8:30 PM ET, September 2, 2006

University Stadium (NM), Albuquerque, NM

1 2 3 4 T
PRST 0 0 10 717
UNM 3 3 0 06

Top Performers

Passing: S. Smith (PRST) - 173 YDS, 2 TD, 1 INT

Rushing: R. Ferguson (UNM) - 15 CAR, 65 YDS

Receiving: B. Ferrigno (PRST) - 5 REC, 78 YDS, 1 TD

Portland State 17, New Mexico 6

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) -- Portland State knocks off New Mexico. Montana State stuns Colorado. So much for padding the schedule with a pair of Division 1-AA opponents from the Big Sky Conference.

Portland State completed an impressive double-header sweep for the often overlooked league with a 17-6 win over New Mexico Saturday night. Earlier in Boulder, Montana State pinned a 19-10 defeat on the Big 12 Buffaloes.

"The Big Sky may be a 1-AA conference, but there's some good players in this league," said Portland State wide receiver Brendan Ferrigno, whose second half 39-yard touchdown catch gave the Vikings the lead for good over the Mountain West Conference-member Lobos.

Sawyer Smith threw two second half touchdown passes and Portland State took advantage of numerous New Mexico mistakes to pull off the win.

Portland State (1-0) rallied from a 6-0 halftime deficit as Smith also found Tremayne Kirkland open on a screen play that Kirkland converted into a 26-yard score early in the fourth quarter that effectively put New Mexico away. Eric Azorr added a 42-yard field goal as the Vikings refused to play like underdogs.

"Our guys met the challenge," said Portland State coach Tim Walsh. "Our guys were up to the challenge of not dying, no matter what happened."

Plenty went right for Portland State in the second half. So much went wrong for New Mexico all night.

New Mexico's offense, under first-year offensive coordinator and former UCLA head coach Bob Toledo, sputtered all night. The Lobos had 339 total yards to Portland State's 233, but could muster only a pair of first half field goals from Kenny Byrd from 29 and 24 yards.

The Lobos did their share to help the Vikings pull off the upset. They had three turnovers and picked up 11 penalties for 93 yards.

"The most disappointing thing was the mistakes we made," said New Mexico coach Rocky Long. "That's an undisciplined team and that is my job."

The Vikings' comeback started after New Mexico gambled and failed to convert failed to gain a yard on three plays at midfield on its first possession of the second half. New Mexico led 6-0 at the time. Portland State took over and needed just four plays to take the lead on Smith's 39-yard pass to Ferrigno.

"There's no doubt that was a crucial play in the game," Walsh said. "They took a big chance and probably tried to win the game."

"They (defense) made a lot of plays all night, but that one was big," Sawyer said. "It was a momentum change and gave us great field position. It made it easier on us. We only had to go 50 yards and we took advantage of it."

Azorr stretched the lead to 10-6 with his field goal. That drive was kept alive when New Mexico linebacker Major Mosley was called for a face mask penalty after the Lobos appeared to have stopped the Vikings on third-and-four near midfield.

The Lobos still had more mistakes to make.

A muffed punt by New Mexico halfback Paul Baker was recovered by Kelena Ho'okano at the New Mexico 29 with 13:36 left in the game. Smith scrambled for 15 yards to the New Mexico 4, but the play was wiped out by a personal foul on the Vikings. A motion penalty and a fumble by Smith that he recovered gave Portland State a second-and-17 from the 29, but Smith delivered the clinching touchdown pass to Kirkland, who broke a couple of tackles on his way to the end zone.

"We had that play set up all week long because we knew it was going to be a big play for us," Sawyer said. "Screens are easy for me. Tremayne does all the hard work. As soon as I saw him catch it and saw the blocking, I knew he was going to make it happen."

New Mexico won virtually every statistic, but failed to sustain drives and could not keep Smith from making the big plays.

"Obviously, if you don't score points, you did not execute well," Long said. "We knew going into the game we were going to have trouble blocking."

McKamey completed 21 of 36 passes for 274 yards, but missed open receivers and was sacked several times.