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Football: Mistakes were made

The Lobos lost to the University of Nevada, Las Vegas Rebels 56-14 on Saturday, Nov. 4. University of New Mexico fell to a 3-6 record; the team will have to win their final three games to remain bowl eligible.

On special teams, the Lobos gave up a combined 206 yards on punt and kick returns – leading to excellent field position for UNLV's offense on a majority of their drives.

Head Coach Danny Gonzales said that is what cost them the game.

"Obviously that was extremely disappointing, obviously they definitely out-coached us on special teams, obviously a significant issue … When they have fields of 30, 32, 29, five and nine yards to score and you can't hold them to field goals, you're going to have no chance," Gonzales said.

The Lobos will look to make schematic changes to special teams for the next three games and suggested rugby punting as a possible solution, Gonzales said.

On defense UNM gave up three one-play drives for a touchdown. They had no answers for wide receiver Ricky White who had 165 yards with two touchdowns. His longest catch was for 58 yards.

Dylan Hopkins had a solid performance on offense going 15-23 on completions for 187 yards, but it was Devon Dampier at quarterback for the two touchdowns. After Hopkins got them in the red zone at the end of the first quarter, Dampier ran the ball to the five-yard line and then handed the ball off to Andrew Henry for a touchdown to make the first Lobo score of the game. They were down 14-7 with 14:15 left in the second quarter. 

The other touchdown drive started on their own 25-yard line and 10:31 left in the game. On a fourth-and-six, Dampier made an eight-yard pass to Jeremiah Hixon. The drive ended with a one-yard touchdown pass to Jacory Croskey-Merritt to make the score 56-14.

Croskey-Merritt led the team in rushing with 86 yards. Down 21-7, in UNLV's territory, he had the ball poked out for a fumble off of a hard tackle. The ball was returned to UNM's five-yard line.

In his press conference, Croskey-Merrit talked about the atmosphere in the locker room after the game and the belief that the players have in each other.

"We got three more games and we just want to get back to work and finish the season strong, and we got a group of guys who actually still believe, so that's a positive for the team," Croskey-Merritt said.

At the end of the national anthem, two military helicopters flew over the stadium waving to the fans below, and during halftime, UNM celebrated the 2023 Hall of Honor class

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After a strong start to the season, the team has had two deflating losses back to back. Gonzales was asked if he believed the program is close to breaking through for more success. Gonzales pointed to improvements on offense as reason for optimism and said year five of his rebuild is when things will start to come together. 

"I think we have some pieces missing but I think the only way to build this program, in the longevity of the 126 years of this program, is to have continuity,” Gonzales said. “ I see progress in every single game that we play.”

The Lobos will next play against Boise State in Boise, Idaho on Saturday, Nov. 11. 

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

Thomas Bulger

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

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