University of New Mexico football started the season with a big win against the University of Maine Black Bears 41-0. They had incredibly strong play and gave fans a lot to be excited about with 437 total yards. The defense only gave up 22 rushing yards and picked up three sacks.
The Black Bears played in the Colonial Athletic Association last season. They ended with an overall record of 6-5 and did not participate in a bowl game.
Transfer quarterback Miles Kendrick threw 14-17 with 2 touchdowns but gave up two interceptions. He had a strong connection with receiver Luke Wysong who had 51 receiving yards on the night. Linebacker Reco Hannah had 1.5 sacks and was credited with one QB hurry.
Kendrick's first drive for the Lobos resulted in one first down, but he gave up an interception to linebacker Xavier Nurse. The Lobo defense immediately bailed them out with safety Ronald Wilson intercepting the ball and running for 21 yards.
Starting the drive on the 47-yard line, Wysong ran the ball for a first down. UNM got to the seven-yard line and, on fourth-and-3 play, decided to go for it. Kendrick got sacked by Brian Lee Jr., for a loss of 10 yards and turned the ball over to Maine.
UNM defense did not allow the Black Bears to get a first down behind a tackle from Justin Harris and Syaire Riley on third-and-1. Brian Cooey punted for Maine and Wysong returned it for 13 yards to be on UNM’s own 40-yard line.
On the first play of the second quarter, Sherod White ran for a touchdown and kicker George Steinkamp was able to convert the extra point, putting the Lobos up 7–0.
With UNM back on offense on a third-and-9, Kendrick scrambled for a first down. This was followed up by a Wysong rushing touchdown and Steinkamp again converted the extra point, putting the Lobos up 14-0.
UNM defense forced back-to-back penalties, putting the ball back on the 15-yard line to start Maine’s drive on first-and-20. On third-and-9, Reco Hannah rushed the quarterback, forcing a rough throw and a 4th down.
With UNM now on offense, Kendrick threw to White for 20 yards putting the Lobos on the 6-yard line. Wysong caught the ball and ran to the end zone, scoring another touchdown. With another successful kick, UNM was up 21-0.
On the next first down, Lobos Hannah and Bryce Santana sacked for a loss of 5 yards. Quarterback Joe Fagano threw for 21 yards on third down putting them within 1 yard, but Maine opted to punt with 1:37 left in the half. The half ended with UNM up 21-0. With 21 points in the second quarter, Kendrick tied the previous highest scoring quarter under Danny Gonzalez, which took place in December 2020 against Fresno State.
Maine received the ball to start the third quarter. Fagano was able to get a first down on a pass to Zavier Scott, but the Lobos’ defense came through, forcing another Maine punt. Kendrick scrambled for 18 yards to put UNM on Maine’s 36 yard line. On first-and-goal, White ran for a touchdown and Steinkamp’s extra point attempt was good; UNM was up 28-0 halfway through the third quarter.
The UNM defense then forced a fumble that was recovered by Hannah. On offense, Kendrick threw to Wysong for a 25-yard gain. Jah’Mar Sanders ran for 10 yards, scoring a touchdown. The Lobos missed the extra point, putting them up 34-0.
Lobos’ Jaden Phillps then hurried the quarterback, forcing a bad throw, but Maine still managed to get a first down pass to Montigo Moss. Fogano was then sacked and fumbled, but the fumble was recovered by Maine for a loss of 16 yards. Maine was forced to punt on fourth-and-24. The third quarter ended with UNM up 34-0.
UNM punted at the start of the fourth quarter with Maine calling a fair catch on UNM’s 48-yard line. On fourth down, Hannah sacked Fogano giving the Lobos the ball back in Maine territory. On first-and-goal, a pass to Geordon Porter scored a touchdown and the extra point was good, leading the Lobos to a dominating 41-0 lead.
The defense killed the Black Bears’ next drive, only giving up a yard before forcing a punt. Lobos quarterback CJ Montes was subbed in for Kendrick. On third-and-6, Zach Vigil fumbled but recovered the ball and UNM punted on the next play.
With less than a minute in the game, on 4th down, the Black Bears went for it but threw for an incomplete pass. Kendrick was subbed in to kneel out the game with UNM winning 41-0.
After the game, head coach Danny Gonzalez said he was proud of the team but displeased with the team’s nine penalties which caused them to give up 90 yards. Generally, though, Gonzalez was very optimistic about the team moving forward.
“I hope the entire city of Albuquerque took notice tonight that they got a football team that will compete their tails off,” Gonzalez said.
Kendrick called it a great team win and gave credit to both offense and the defense. He added that when the defense plays like that, it gives the offense a lot of confidence.
Lobos football next play in Albuquerque against Boise State on Sept. 9 at 7:00 p.m..
Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at email@example.com or on Twitter @thomasbulger10