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Saturday, December 20, 2014

Messina fit to tackle Urlacher’s record

football
By Juan Labreche / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Deon Long (20) leads UNM onto the field during a game against Colorado State at University Stadium on Sept. 3. The Lobos play No. 7 Boise State on the road this weekend in their final game of the season.

Saturday’s football game against Boise State is Lobo senior linebacker Carmen Messina’s last, and it’s also his chance to beat the University’s all-time tackle record.

“I definitely think I’m going to be sad, but I haven’t really been thinking about it too much,” he said. “I think it’s going to hit me next Saturday when I’m sitting at home with nothing to do.”

Messina has 433 career tackles and is just nine tackles short of the UNM all-time tackle record. The record is currently held by UNM alumnus and current Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher’s 442 tackles.

Messina said it would be great to get ten tackles this weekend to break the record and avoid being ridiculed by his teammates.

“A lot of players are giving me a lot of crap if I get nine tackles and tie his record,” he said.

Boise State is 10-1, in contention for a BCS bowl game and led by quarterback Kellen Moore.

Moore has thrown 38 touchdown passes this season, and has a 73.1 percent completion rate. He is currently in eighth place on ESPN’s Heisman Watch.

“He (Moore) is a very talented player,” Messina said. “We just have to hit him a little bit and try to slow him down as much as we can.”

Sophomore defensive lineman Jacori Greer said the defensive line will do their best to put some pressure on Moore.

“We’re going to counter his movement and counter the offensive line’s movement,” Greer said. “We have some guys that can really get after them in our pass rush.”

This game is also the last for UNM interim head coach George Barlow. Despite winning only one game with the Lobos this season, the players say that they learned a lot from Barlow.

“I think he’s done a great job,” junior quarterback B.R. Holbrook said. “He has instilled so much since he’s been the head coach that I think a lot of us have really grown, not just as players but as individuals.”

Holbrook has led the Lobos to their only victory this season and said the team will leave everything on the field knowing their season is over on Saturday.

“We’re just playing all out,” Holbrook said. “We have nothing to lose and nothing to hold back. This is it so we’re just going to go do what we do.”

Other players, like Greer, are playing for something more this Saturday.

“Obviously we haven’t met our expectations, but we’re going into this game with nothing to lose,” Greer said. “We still have seniors that we have to fight for so we’re going to give everything we’ve got for them.”