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Monday, December 22, 2014

Locksley: I don't ever recall being 0-6

Smile Lobo fans — the UNM football team can’t possibly lose this coming Saturday.

UNM won’t play for two weeks thanks to a bye this week, something Lobo football coach Mike Locksley said is a blessing, considering how banged up the Lobos are.

Most notably, tailback Demond Dennis was absent and didn’t play in UNM’s 37-13 loss Saturday to conference foe Wyoming. Defensive end Jaymar Latchison was injured during Saturday’s contest. He is day-to-day with a high ankle sprain, Locksley said, adding that other players have “nicks and bruises.”

It doesn’t help that, for the first time since 1987, the Lobos are 0-6 — and have lost 10 consecutive games dating back to the 2008 season. UNM was competitive for a half, heading into intermission down just 17-13 to the Cowboys. But the wheels fell off in the second half, and the Lobos couldn’t sustain the momentum they built.

Almost a foot of snow fell on the University of Wyoming campus on Friday, and the snowstorm continued through Saturday, leaving icy conditions at kickoff.

But the frigid conditions couldn’t freeze linebacker Carmen Messina, who continued his hot streak. For the fifth-straight game, Messina finished in the double digits with 11 tackles.

Wyoming scored its first points with 7:06 left in the first quarter. Quarterback Donovan Porterie threw a lateral pass to running back James Wright, who was dragged down in the end zone for a safety.

Porterie responded by throwing a first-quarter touchdown to wide receiver Ty Kirk, giving UNM an early 7-2 lead.

Porterie went 26-of-40 for 252 yards. He threw a touchdown but had two interceptions. A 23-yard Porterie-to-Kirk scoring pass was Kirk’s first career touchdown reception. He finished the game with three receptions for 40 yards.

If anything, Locksley said, UNM needs to find a way to maintain competitiveness for four quarters, not just a half.

“That’s the big question,” he said.

Locksley said he couldn’t recall a time in his coaching career that he was winless six games into the season.

“I’ve never been 0-6. There’s been some 1-5’s,” he said. “I don’t ever recall being 0-6 per se, but I do recall going through long stretches without wins. I think the best way to keep (this team) together is to keep loving them, keep showing them the positive things they’re doing and staying consistent. I’ve been on some staffs where you’ve had long stretches of losing and sometimes you go into panic mode.”