The UNM football team hasn’t been able to put together a game-winning drive all season, a trend that continued on Saturday.
The Lobos came up short once again, losing 24-20 at Colorado State in the season finale for both teams.
“It’s the same story. What is that? Five of the last six games we have the ball on the last possession to win it,” head coach Bob Davie said. “We can’t make enough plays when we have to. It’s just disappointing to have the same story each week.”
With 1:29 left in the game, senior quarterback B.R. Holbrook drove the Lobos down to the Rams’ 16-yard line. But there would be no fairy-tale ending. Holbrook’s final pass attempt of the game to freshman wide receiver Carlos Wiggins came up short.
Holbrook, who on Saturday made his first appearance since separating his shoulder during a game against Fresno State on Oct. 27, threw for a season-high 205 yards, completing 12 of 21 attempts with one touchdown.
“It’s kind of a whirlwind, a lot of different emotions,” he said. “I’m happy that it happened, but at the same time, tonight was pretty disappointing.”
Davie said Holbrook started for freshman signal-caller Cole Gautsche because the freshman had the flu and didn’t practice all week.
“B.R. stepped up; that’s what B.R. is and what’s he all about. I was really hoping the last play of the game we would have a magical moment,” Davie said. “He’s a heck of a kid; it’s just too bad we couldn’t win it.”
The Rams jumped out to an early 14-0 lead thanks to freshman quarterback Conner Smith’s 29-yard touchdown pass and a 3-yard score by freshman running back Donnell Alexander.
Davie said the team wasn’t prepared for the way the Rams came out to start.
“I thought they came out and kicked us in the mouth early,” he said. “We never really could get a rhythm on offense. We’re never going to be able to win without a defense.”
Then on third-and-8 from CSU’s 38 yard line, UNM junior linebacker Dallas Bollema intercepted Smith and ran the ball back to the Rams’ 3-yard line. Three plays later, junior running back Kasey Carrier ran it in from 1 yard out to cut the deficit to 7 with 51 seconds left in the first quarter.
Carrier rushed for 59 yards on 16 attempts for one touchdown. With his 59 yards, he surpassed DonTrell Moore to become single-season leader in rushing in UNM history. Carrier finished the season with 1,469 yards.
After one field goal by CSU and two by UNM, the Lobos took their first advantage of the game when Holbrook hit freshman running back Jhurell Pressley on a 55-yard touchdown pass, taking the score to 20-17 with 3:12 remaining in the game.
CSU answered with a 7-play, 76-yard, 1:37 drive capped by a 30-yard touchdown pass from Smith to freshman wide receiver Joe Hansley for a 24-20 lead.
Holbrook tried to mount a comeback but came up short when his final pass attempt fell shy of Wiggins, giving the senior his final loss of his career by a score of 24-20.