Kale Pearson completed a 50-yard pass to Jalen Robinette for the go-ahead touchdown and ran for an earlier score and Air Force hung on to beat New Mexico 35-31 on Saturday.
D.J. Johnson added touchdown runs of 1, 3, and 6 yards among his 51 yards to help Air Force (5-2, 2-2 Mountain West) remain unbeaten in four games at home. The Falcons beat New Mexico (2-5, 0-3) for the sixth time in seven meetings, overcoming a standout performance by running back Jhurell Pressley, who had touchdown runs of 50 and 42 yards and finished with 148 yards rushing on the day.
Teriyon Gipson shook free for a 28-yard touchdown run to give New Mexico a 28-21 lead midway through the third quarter but Air Force responded with two quick scores, both keyed by long pass completions, to take a 35-28 lead into the fourth quarter.
Johnson ran for his third touchdown after Pearson found Garrett Brown for a 63-yard completion to the New Mexico 1. Pearson then lofted a pass downfield to Robinette, who hauled the ball in with an over-the-shoulder catch before breaking a tackle at the 10 and surging into the end zone to complete a 50-yard score.
Pressley converted a fourth-and-2 play with a 26-yard run to the Air Force 17 but was shaken up by a big hit at the end of the play. The Lobos' drive stalled and they settled for a 28-yard field goal by Zack Rogers with 12:01 remaining.
New Mexico had one final chance, getting the ball at its 4-yard line with 2:51 remaining but Lamar Jordan was stopped short on a fourth-down run. Air Force took over on downs and ran out the final seconds.
Pearson and Robinette earlier teamed up on a 34-yard completion to the New Mexico 6, and Johnson bulled his way into the end zone for his second score of the day on the next play as the Falcons pulled into a 21-all tie at halftime.
Amid a rushing field day that saw Johnson and Pressley both run for a pair of touchdowns in the first half, each team also scored off a turnover.
New Mexico safety David Guthrie scooped up Pearson's fumble following a sack and returned it 43 yards for a score, giving New Mexico a 21-14 advantage.
Air Force safety Weston Steelhammer earlier recovered a wayward pitch by New Mexico quarterback Cole Gautsche, setting up Pearson's 21-yard winding run through traffic for a touchdown on the ensuing pay to put Air Force up 14-7.
Pressley evened the score moments later, shaking a tackle 10 yards downfield en route to a 50-yard score and bettering his long touchdown run in the first quarter by 8 yards.
Johnson finished off a 75-yard Air Force drive in the first quarter with his first touchdown run, a 3-yarder.