Somehow, some way, the UNM football team finds new ways to beat themselves every week.
Even though it seemed the Lobos had a fighting chance, they again shot themselves in the foot, almost literally, in a matchup against BYU at University Stadium on Saturday.
The Lobos lost to No. 22 BYU 24-19 to drop to 0-10 overall.
Still, the Lobos did make it a tough game for the visiting Cougars. After the Cougars trounced Wyoming 52-0 last week, BYU found itself frustrated by winless UNM.
The Lobos left their losses in the past and opened up the game with a drive that grinded on the BYU defense for nearly six minutes.
With 8:43 left in the first quarter, quarterback Donovan Porterie ended a 15-play, 80-yard drive. He scored on an option keeper from three yards out to put UNM up 7-0.
The touchdown was the first on an opening drive all season for the Lobos.
But head coach Mike Locksley said his team isn’t about moral victories, especially after the special teams left 10 points on the field, most notably by kicker James Aho. Aho missed three field goals and an extra point.
“It was a tough loss for our team,” Locksley said. “We don’t believe in consolation prizes. That’s not what we’re all about.”
Porterie completed 28-of-44 passes for 272 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. Nonetheless, he was sacked four times, including twice on the Lobos’ final drive with the game on the line.
The Lobos continued to work the rest of the game, and Porterie said it was one of the few contests all year that the Lobos fought for four complete quarters.
“Both teams came out well prepared, and it went down to the wire,” Porterie said. “We had plenty of opportunities to win it. Some of the freshmen made big plays for us today. I’m appreciative of the offensive line for giving me time to find open receivers who made big plays for me. Overall, I think this was our best game.”
Former UNM assistant and current BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall said his team was unable to carry over the head of steam it built after its victory over Wyoming last week.
“Maybe New Mexico had something to do with it,” Mendenhall said. “I think they drew the line in the sand and were really motivated to play a good football game today.
And to their credit, they did. When it comes to momentum, we did win the football game and that, to me, is something that I’ll dwell on the most.”
The BYU win gives the Cougars a 4-0 road record against the Mountain West Conference and 8-2 overall on the season.
On the flip side, UNM is now 0-10 overall and 0-6 in the MWC. It’s the 14th straight loss for the Lobos, dating back to last season.
The Lobos haven’t had a winless season since 1987, in which UNM went 0-11.
On a brighter note, the Lobo defense kept a BYU offensive attack to 355 total yards.
The Cougars averaged 458.6 of total offense until their duel with the Lobos.
“We knew we had to come out hard and that this was a big time game,” said sophomore defensive end Jaymar Latchison. “You can feel a level of confidence, because we came in and went toe-to-toe with them. And they know they came in here for a battle, and that’s what we gave them.”