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Nathaniel Jones runs for 25 yards to set up a Lobos touchdown in the first quarter of play against San Diego State University on Friday, Nov. 18.

Football: Lobo offense not enough to take on San Diego State

The University of New Mexico football team lost to the San Diego State University Aztecs 34-10 in their final home game on Friday, Nov. 18. It was also senior night for the Lobos, which gave fans a chance to say goodbye to the team's 12 seniors.

It was the second coldest home game in Lobo football history: at kickoff, it was 30 degrees. The coldest home game in history was against Brigham Young University in November 1976.

UNM is on an eight-game losing streak that started back in September. The Lobos now have a 2-9 overall record and have yet to win a conference game.

Quarterback CJ Montes started the game due to injuries and had a respectable game, throwing for 112 yards and earning the team's only touchdown. He did give up an interception, though. Wide receiver Trae Hall had 47 yards on four catches. Nathaniel Jones rushed for 68 yards and Christian Washington had 84 yards on three kick returns. However, this wasn't enough for the Lobos to make it a close game.

On defense, Jerrick Reed II and Cody Moon had standout performances with 15 and 13 tackles, respectively.

New Mexico won the coin toss and chose to receive the ball. After a touchback, the Lobos were unable to earn a first down and punted. On their first drive, SDSU got a first down with quarterback Jalen Mayden rushing for 12 yards on third-and-1. SDSU’s Mekhi Shaw was wide open and scored a touchdown from a 51 yard pass from Mayden. Jack Browning's extra point was good and put the Aztecs up 7-0 with 9:23 left in the first quarter.

On the Lobos’ next drive, on third-and-8 after a 7-yard pass to Luke Wysong, UNM was bailed out by a roughing the passer call which led to 15 yards and an automatic first down. Jones ran for an incredible 51 yards and beat multiple defenders, but he was brought down at San Diego's 5-yard line. Montes ran in for the touchdown and Luke Drzewiecki's kick tied the game 7-7 with 5:45 left in the quarter.

Both teams then had a failed drive and the first quarter ended with the game tied 7-7.

The defense gave up another big play with Tyrell Shavers catching a pass for a gain of 63 yards. The Aztecs scored a touchdown with Jaylon Armstead rushing for a yard. The successful extra point put San Diego up 14-7 with 11:12 in the second quarter.

On UNM’s next drive, Montes passed to Hall for a gain of 17 yards, but it was followed with an interception by Aztec Dallas Branch. On SDSU’s third-and-9, Mayden connected with Shaw for 17 yards to keep the Aztec drive alive and push into UNM's territory. On third-and-2, UNM’s defense held SDSU to a gain of a yard. The Aztecs went for it on fourth down, but Reco Hannah was able to shut down the drive via a tackle on Armstead for a loss of a yard.

The Lobo offense was unable to get anything going and on the punt attempt, the Lobos fumbled the snap which put the Aztecs on UNM's 26-yard line. Mayden threw 30 yards to Shaw again for a touchdown. After the extra point, SDSU was up 21-7 with 1:48 left in the game.

On their next drive, the Lobo offense moved into the Aztecs territory on a pass to Hall for a gain of 21 yards. Wysong then caught a pass for 7 yards, but failed to go out of bounds to stop the clock. UNM was forced to burn a timeout with 35 seconds left in the half. The Lobos gained 5 yards off a pass to Hall and used their last timeout to set up a successful Drzewiecki 29 yard field goal. The Lobos were down 21-10 at the end of the first half.

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To have any chance to win the game, the Lobos would have to break their seven-game streak of no second-half touchdowns.

At the start of the second half,  SDSU’s Kenan Christon ran for 49 yards and a touchdown on fourth-and-1. SDSU hit another extra point to go up 28-10 with 12:08 left in the third quarter. Washington returned the kick for 38 yards to put the Lobo offense on their own 42 yard line, but the Lobos were unable to capitalize and punted after three plays.

After giving up 4 first downs, UNM’s defense held the Aztecs to a 30 yard field goal. SDSU was winning 31-10 with 3:50 remaining in the quarter. The Lobo offense wasn't able to get anything going and a short punt put the Aztecs on UNM's 45-yard line. The third quarter ended with the Aztecs deep into Lobo territory and up 31-10.

Reed had an interception in the end zone to end the Aztec drive. The offense was still stagnant, unable to earn a first down. The Aztecs hit a 39-yard field goal to go up 34-10 with 8:21 left in the game. 

On UNM’s next drive, Geordon Porter caught a 3-yard pass, but he was then face masked and gained 15 yards off of the penalty. The offense gave all those yards back, though, by getting called for delay of game, followed by a sack and then a grounding penalty. UNM punted on fourth-and-16.

SDSU was able to run out the clock and won 34-10. With the win, the Aztecs advanced to 7-3 overall record and are 5-2 in the conference. They are in the hunt to win their division and to be invited to the conference championship game.

After the game, Montes talked about his performance in the game and handling the cold weather.

"I always prepare like I'm going to play anyways, even when I'm third string, fourth string — doesn't matter — I'm watching film, just taking mental reps in the back. For my performance, I think I did okay. It's my first start since last year, I think you see progression and that's all that matters: getting better every year, every game … Being from Cali, (it) doesn't usually get this cold, but … I think I did well," Montes said.

When asked about the state of the program, head coach Danny Gonzales commented on his plans going forward.

"You always go through and digest every single thing you're doing wrong. Obviously our second half has been horrendous. We haven't made adjustments, and then you have to be able to score points. You're not going to win games scoring 10 points a game," Gonzales said.

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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