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UNM football drops early lead to Wyoming, loses 27-14

The University of New Mexico football team lost to the University of Wyoming Cowboys on Saturday, Oct 8. The Lobos looked to repeat last year’s 14-3 upset win but ultimately fell short with the Cowboys winning 27-14.

Receivers Luke Wysong and Geordon Porter, and running backs Christian Washington and Sherod White were all out for noninjury reasons. Their presence was missed with quarterback Miles Kendrick taking on a larger offensive load, racking up 72 rushing yards — the most on the team. Andrew Erickson had the most receiving yards with 46 but only had two catches.

On defense, Cody Moon had a total of nine tackles to lead UNM. Freshman A.J. Haulcy had a big game, credited with seven tackles, two breakups and a quarterback hurry. Justin Harris had the team’s only sack in the game.

The Lobos started off strong with a Kendrick touchdown early in the game. George Steinkamp’s extra point was good, putting the Lobos up 7-0.

UNM’s defense only gave up 7 yards on Wyoming’s first drive, highlighted by Haulcy breaking up a pass that would have given the Cowboys the first down.

The Lobos came back swinging on their next drive with quarterback Justin Holaday earning a rushing touchdown. Steinkamp then nailed the extra point, putting UNM up 14-0.

Wyoming started their next drive with a Dawaiian McNeely run for 10 yards. Lobo Ronald Wilson was then called for roughing the passer which led to a gain of 15 yards for the Cowboys. On third-and-6, the Cowboys had a loss of 8 yards, forcing them to punt to start the second quarter.

UNM’s next drive started with a pass to Bobby Wooden for 7 yards, and Jones caught a pass for the first down. This was followed by back-to-back rushing plays for Jones, but they weren’t enough for the first down. Cowboy Braden Siders forced Kendrick to make a bad pass which ended the drive.

The Cowboys started their drive all the way on their 18-yard line after an Aaron Rodriguez punt. McNeely ran for 17 yards, followed by a pass to Wyatt Wieland to gain 14. Peasly then passed to Treyton Welch for a 47-yard touchdown. Kicker John Hoyland’s extra kick was good, putting Wyoming on the board down 14-7.

On UNM’s next drive, Kendrick had a pass to Elijah Queen for a gain of 26 yards. With 1:02 left in the half, Kendrick again threw to Queen for a gain of 5 yards. New Mexico took a timeout with 32 seconds left in the game on Wyoming’s 42. Kendrick ran for 14 and spiked the ball to stop the clock with 10 seconds left. Steinkamp’s 45-yard field goal attempt hit the uprights to end the half with UNM still up 14-7.

At the start of the third quarter, Wyoming received the ball on their own 25-yard line. Titus Swen then ran for 26 yards to put the Cowboys in Lobo territory. On third-and-1, Peasly ran for a yard to pick up the first down. Peasly threw to Welch for a touchdown, and Hoyland’s kick tied up the game 14-14.

UNM had a holding penalty on the next drive that led to an offense shut down; UNM punted on fourth-and-14. The defense again bailed out the offense and held Wyoming to four plays on the drive. On the punt, though, Erickson dropped the ball, and the Cowboys recovered on UNM’s 13-yard line. The defense was able to hold them to a field goal, but a 27-yard attempt put the Cowboys up 17-14.

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The Lobos’ next drive started with a Jones run for 7 yards followed by Kendrick rushing for 10. An incomplete pass followed by a run that lost 2 yards ended the drive and forced UNM to punt.

Lobos safety Jerrick Reed II forced a fumble on Wyoming’s next drive, but Wyoming was able to recover the ball. Moon tackled Swen for a loss of 6 yards followed by an incomplete pass. Wyoming punted on their own 7-yard line.

Jer’Marius Lewis returned Wyoming’s punt for 36 yards to set up a scoring drive for the Lobos. However, they were stopped by Wyoming’s defense with Steinkemp’s field goal attempt being blocked by Gavin Meyer. The third quarter ended with the Cowboys running for 3 yards.

A pass intended for Alex Brown was broken up by Harris to make it fourth-and-7 for the Cowboys. Wyoming’s defense again did not allow UNM’s offense to get going following the turnover; third down ended with Kendrick diving on the ground to prevent getting hit.

On third-and-4 of the Cowboys’ next drive, Peasly connected to Swen for a gain of 43 yards. Lobo Dion Hunter was called for a personal foul which put the Cowboys on UNM’s 10-yard line. On fourth-and-2, Hoyland kicked a 19-yard field goal to put the Cowboys up 20-14.

With 2:04 left in the game, Kendrick ran for 18 yards followed by a 10-yard pass to Jourdaun. Kendrick threw an interception to Cam Stone, though, who ran 38 yards for a touchdown. Hoyland’s extra point attempt was good to put the Cowboys up 27-14 — enough to get the Cowboys the win.

Head coach Danny Gonzalez had a brief comment following the game on the four players who didn’t play. He gave Wyoming credit, but he also talked about missed opportunities that could have flipped the game.

“You got to give Wyoming a lot of credit: they were a lot more physical in the second half. They didn’t do any magic scheme change or anything we didn’t prepare for … Those two missed field goals hurt. And then we have an opportunity with a great punt return by true freshman Jer’Marius Lewis to give us a chance to go up 21-20, and we don’t capitalize,” Gonzalez said.

Reco Hannah compared this loss to last week’s game against the University of Northern Las Vegas where they earned an early lead, but the team lost all their momentum. He also commented on the defense’s role and how they can help the offense.

“Same as last week; we are disappointed just in ourselves, just how we played. We should have finished the game … Basically though, we just got to do better and step up for the offense. If they can’t move the ball of offense, that’s what the defense is there for — just to help them out. That’s what I believe and that’s our philosophy: just keep them out of the end zone,” Hannah said.

The Lobos now fall to a 2-4 record being 0-3 in conference play. They next play their rivals, the New Mexico State University Aggies, in Las Cruces on Saturday, Oct. 15.

Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at sports@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @thomasbulger10

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