ALBUQUERQUE, New Mexico — Carlos Wiggins returned a kickoff 97 yards for the game-winning touchdown late in the third on Saturday and New Mexico's defense held on 4th-and-goal in the closing seconds to stymie Wyoming 36-30.
The return was the fourth in Wiggins' career, a New Mexico record.
"To get this return, probably one of the biggest plays I've made of course this season and in my lifetime," Wiggins said. "So it's a great feeling. The special teams guys that were blocking for me; if it wasn't for them we wouldn't have made that return."
It was one of four big scoring plays for the Lobos (4-8, 2-6 Mountain West), who also had a 19-yard interception return for a TD by Cranston Jones, a 75-yard touchdown pass from Lamar Jordan to Tyler Duncan and a 69-yard rushing score from Jhurell Pressley.
The Cowboys had a chance late when quarterback Colby Kirkegaard found Tanner Gentry for 44 yards to the New Mexico 5 with 38 seconds left. But Kirkegaard's next four passes fell incomplete.
"As bad it looked after that completion down the sidelines, somehow, man, we found a way to get a stop," New Mexico coach Bob Davie said. "That goes a long way because we were about as frustrated as we could be. It's frustrating to watch. It's hard to watch. We put everything we had into it. It's just good to get that win at the end."
Kirkegaard finished with 366-yards passing and Brian Hill had 163-yards rushing and a touchdown on 29 carries for the Cowboys (4-8, 2-6).
Pressley finished with 101 yards on 11 carries for New Mexico.
The big difference defensively for the Lobos, Davie said, was putting more pressure up top. "We blitzed them," he said. "We've given up so many big plays and we're trying to be somewhat conservative so we don't get exposed. We're better off to let it rip. I think it finally came down to that, of letting it go."
And, in the end, Wiggins said, it was just a matter of fighting to the end. "We knew that we just had to fight hard for every inch and we had to keep it going and we did."