Adam Tafralis threw three touchdown passes Saturday and San Jose State defeated New Mexico, 20-12, in the inaugural New Mexico Bowl at Albuquerque.
One big pass play by Tafralis and one costly fumble by New Mexico -- both in the first half -- set the tone for the Spartans’ first bowl victory outside of California.
New Mexico (6-7) hasn’t won a bowl game since it beat Western Michigan in the 1961 Aviation Bowl and is 0-5 since 1997.
For the Spartans (9-4), the victory provided a final highlight in a season in which they won more games than they had in the three previous seasons.
Tafralis, who completed 11 of 18 passes for 209 yards, threw scoring passes of 36 and 24 yards to James Jones and 76 yards to John Broussard. The pass to Broussard on the first play of the second quarter got the Spartans’ offense rolling.
New Mexico’s only touchdown came with 15 seconds left in the game on a 15-yard pass from Chris Nelson to Marcus Smith.
Utah 25, Tulsa 13 -- Louie Sakoda kicked four field goals, defensive standout Eric Weddle ran for a touchdown and the Utes (8-5) won their sixth bowl in a row with a victory over the Golden Hurricane in the Armed Forces Bowl at Fort Worth, Texas.
Brett Ratliff completed 23 of 34 passes for 240 yards and was credited with a 10-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter, though it was actually a designed catch-and-pitch. Brian Hernandez caught the ball behind the line of scrimmage and pitched to Brent Casteel, who ran around the left end and leaped into the end zone.
Paul Smith scored on two one-yard keepers for Tulsa (8-5), which finished a once-promising season with its fourth loss in five games.
South Florida 24, East Carolina 7 -- The Bulls, backed by a strong defense and some gambles that paid off, won the PapaJohns.com Bowl at Birmingham, Ala.
The Bulls (9-4) played the scoreless second half without quarterback Matt Grothe.
The Big East freshman of the year was kicked in the right shin in the second quarter and returned only for the next and final series of the half, but the defense kept turning back East Carolina (7-6).
The Bulls’ only previous bowl appearance was a shutout loss in last year’s Meineke Car Care Bowl. South Florida tied its season high for victories set in 2002.