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December 22, 2006
New Mexico Bowl: San Jose St. vs. New Mexico
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Anyone who decides to watch the New Mexico Bowl this weekend probably shouldn't leave early.
No lead is safe when San Jose State or New Mexico is playing.
New Mexico (6-6) came from behind in the fourth quarter or overtime to beat Nevada-Las Vegas, Utah and Colorado State in consecutive weeks.
San Jose State rallied from at least 13 points down in victories over Stanford, Utah State and New Mexico State. The Spartans also erased a three-point halftime deficit in a triumph over Idaho.
All those comebacks have both teams on the verge of ending long bowl victory droughts. New Mexico and San Jose State will square off Saturday afternoon (4:35 p.m., ESPN) at University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M.
"This game's huge," San Jose State linebacker Matt Castelo said. "I don't even remember the last time San Jose State went to a bowl game, and I think we have a really good chance of winning."
There's a good reason Castelo can't remember the last time San Jose State reached a bowl game. He wasn't even in grade school when it happened.
San Jose State has stayed home for the holidays since beating Central Michigan 48-24 in the 1990 California Raisin Bowl.
New Mexico is making its fourth bowl appearance in the last five years, but the Lobos haven't won a bowl game since beating Western Michigan 28-12 in the 1961 Aviation Bowl at Dayton, Ohio.
The Lobos like their chances of winning this weekend because they'll be playing in their home stadium.
"There is definitely excitement about the chance to win the first bowl game in a long time in front of your home crowd," New Mexico linebacker Cody Kase said.
San Jose State went 6-1 at home and 2-3 on the road this year, but the Spartans insist they won't be intimidated by the surroundings. Sophomore cornerback Christopher Owens said the Spartans expect to win no matter where they're playing.
"We could play in Alaska and I feel we'd have the same confidence," Owens said.