The University of New Mexico’s football team lost its final game of the Bob Davie era, falling to Utah State 38-25 on Nov. 30 at a frigid Dreamstyle Stadium. The loss extended the Lobos' losing streak to nine consecutive games and finished off their 2019 season.
Before the game began, the 21 seniors leaving the program were honored with a ceremony. This included a brief moment of silence in memory of Nahje Flowers, the Lobo defensive lineman who took his own life in November.
After the ceremony, UNM won the coin toss and elected to kick the ball to Utah State. A defensive battle followed and spanned most of the first quarter as each side forced punts during the first six possessions.
Utah State was the first to strike after Jordan Love completed a 47-yard pass to Caleb Repp. Repp then scored on a 5-yard touchdown pass to give the Aggies the first score of the game. Down 7-0, the Lobos received the ball looking to put points on the board. However, Utah State’s defense forced a three and out by the Lobo offense.
The Aggies, after receiving the ball from UNM, then went on a seven-play, 32-yard drive that consumed the rest of the first quarter. However, the Lobo defense was able to limit the damage to a Utah field goal to begin the second quarter.
With the Lobos down 10-0, the offense — led by Trae Hall – needed to score to keep the game in reach. UNM was successful as they went on an eight-play, 75-yard drive, completed when Hall found Jordan Kress for a 7-yard touchdown reception. The extra point was missed by kicker Andrew Shelly, resulting in a 10-6 score in favor of the visitors.
The Aggies responded to UNM's touchdown by going on an eight-play, 65-yard drive. After a 35-yard completion from Love to Siaosi Mariner, the drive completed when Jordan Nathan ran 11-yards for a touchdown making the score 17-6 in favor of Utah State.
The next two possessions — one for New Mexico and one for Utah State — resulted in returns back to either side. With under two minutes remaining in the first half, the Lobo offense started to fall apart.
After UNM received the ball with 1:42 left, a fumble at the UNM 24-yard line was recovered by Utah with 1:24 left, giving the Aggies easy field position. A Gerold Bright 1-yard touchdown run saw the score at 24-6 in favor of the Aggies.
Things got worse for New Mexico as Hall fumbled the ball with 49 seconds remaining in the first half. The fumble was recovered by Utah State, and once again the Aggies had proper field position to potentially end the Lobos' chances.
Love found Derek Wright for a 16-yard touchdown pass. That made the score 31-6. UNM was able to close out the half with a single running play.
After New Mexico’s struggle during the first half, it seemed as if the Lobos were beginning to surrender the final game of the season away to Utah. However, the third quarter showed Dreamstyle Stadium's few remaining fans some potential promise for the season's end.
The quarter began with the Lobos stringing together a nine-play, 75-yard drive capped off by a 1-yard touchdown rush from Hall. Again, the extra point was missed after a Utah block.
With the score now 31-12, the Aggies looked to seal the deal, but an interception by De’John Rogers kept the Lobos within striking distance.
After the interception, the Lobos were able to go on a five-play, 69-yard drive. The drive had two big pass completions by Hall: a 30-yard catch by Cedric Patterson III and a 19-yard touchdown completion to Marcus Williams. Again, the extra point was missed, making the score was 31-18.
Utah's defense saw the lead shrink, but the Aggie offense bounced back with a 14-play, 77-yard drive that consumed 4:13 of the third quarter. This drive ended with a 10-yard touchdown pass from Love to Mariner, putting Utah State at 38-18.
With 4:32 left in the game, Hall ran 7 yards for a touchdown. The extra point was good, increasing the Lobos' score to 38-25. Utah was able to keep New Mexico from scoring for the remainder of the game and ended the game with a 13-point spread over the Lobos.
Davie said he "will remember that game" due to the toughness and resiliency that the team showed. Davie also credited his assistant coaches for their tireless effort to get the team prepared enough to battle against Utah State. Davie did not comment on if he will take another coaching job in the future.
Hall, who accounted for all four touchdowns against Utah, spoke to his starting season as a Lobo.
"I was very excited. At the same time, I was kind of nervous," Hall said in regard to his college start. "I wanted to finish this season off for the seniors."
Spencer Butler is a sports reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @SpencerButler48