THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
LAS VEGAS, Nev. — Steven Jackson tied a bowl game record with five touchdowns, and Oregon State’s defense overwhelmed mistake-plagued New Mexico in a 55-14 win at the Las Vegas Bowl on Wednesday night.
Jackson, the leading rusher in the Pac-10 this year, ran for 149 yards on 28 carries and showed why he might skip his senior season to enter the NFL draft.
The 6-foot-3, 225-pound back caught a 34-yard pass from Derek Anderson five minutes into the game and added touchdown runs of 3, 11, 6, and 1 yards.
Former NFL star Barry Sanders scored five touchdowns for Oklahoma State against Wyoming in the 1988 Holiday Bowl, and Sheldon Canley of San Jose State had five against Central Michigan in the 1990 California Bowl.
The 5 TDs are also an OSU record.
Jackson’s two second-quarter TD runs started the rout by the Beavers (8-5) and extended the Lobos’ bowl drought.
New Mexico (8-5) has not won a bowl game since 1961 and lost its third postseason game since 1997. It was the second straight defeat for New Mexico in this game, having lost to UCLA 27-13 last year.
The Lobos’ scores came on a 27-yard pass from Casey Kelly to Clovis High grad Hank Baskett in the first quarter and Kole McKamey’s 17-yard toss to Dwight Counter in the fourth.
Unable to run or pass against OSU’s defense, the Lobos had only one first down in the first half and 21 total yards through the first three quarters. The bleak stats also included 6 yards rushing, seven first downs and 127 total yards.
New Mexico got its second first down on a 46-yard pass from wide receiver Baskett to Counter with just more than 10 minutes left.
New Mexico helped the rout by getting penalized for 103 yards.
Lobos sophomore tailback DonTrell Moore, who led the Mountain West Conference with 1,438 yards this season, finished with 5 yards on 11 carries. His second-quarter fumble at the New Mexico 15 led to Jackson’s third TD and second in a span of 1:39.
New Mexico had the fourth-best rushing defense in the country this season, but after gaining just 11 yards in the first quarter, Jackson found plenty of holes and scoring chances.
Anderson was equally impressive. He completed 21 of 32 passes for 322 yards, raising his season total to 4,058. The only other player in Pac-10 history to pass for more than 4,000 yards in a season was Washington’s Cody Pickett, who had 4,458 yards last year.
Oregon State scored on its first two possessions, with Jackson catching a 34-yard screen pass from Anderson on third-and-19 and Kirk Yliniemi booting a 21-yard field goal.
New Mexico kept the Beavers’ touchdown drive going with an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for celebrating too long and too loudly after stopping Jackson for a 2-yard loss on third down at the OSU 40.
New Mexico then sacked Anderson for a 10-yard loss, but the Lobos were offsides on the play.
Both teams entertained the sparse Christmas Eve crowd of 18,031 with first-half trick plays that produced a touchdown for the Beavers and set up New Mexico’s first score.
The Beavers scored on the final play of the first quarter on a 42-yard flea flicker. Anderson handed off to Jackson, who tossed it back to the quarterback for a pass to Mike Hass, who had beaten cornerback Brandon Payne.
New Mexico used a pass from wide receiver Michael Brunker to backup quarterback McKamey to set up the Kelly-to-Baskett score.