New Mexico football looks to get back in the win column as the nation’s number one rushing attack meets the top-ranked rushing defense at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas on Saturday. The Lobos (2-3, 1-1 Mountain West) have the best running game in college football, touting a healthy 354 yards per game. But something has to give, as Air Force (4-1, 1-1 Mountain West) has only allowed 80.2 yards per game on the ground, also tops in the country. Both teams rely heavily on the option, and are proficient in both running and stopping the run. But the game might actually come down to which team makes the most of its opportunities in the passing game.
New Mexico’s goal of winning a division title took a serious hit Friday night, as the Lobos lost its first conference game after getting dominated 49-21 by No. 19 Boise State. The Lobos looked like they might be able to hang around early in the game, playing to a 7-7 tie after the first couple of series, but then Boise State started to assert itself. Both teams were somewhat one-dimensional, but the Broncos could not be stopped in the passing game, while the Lobos were never able to challenge despite strong numbers in the run game. New Mexico played the game without Teriyon Gipson, who suffered a hamstring injury in last week’s 48-41 victory over San José State.
Boise State avenged last season’s loss by thumping New Mexico 49-21 Friday night as its quarterback heated up for 368 yards and five touchdown tosses — in the first half alone. UNM head coach Bob Davie said No. 19 Boise State is a handful for anyone to try to slow down. The quarterback-receiver tandem created problems and the Lobos, unable to match their torrid pace, played from behind almost the entire game.
Junior running back Romell Jordan was lost due to a knee injury before the football season even began; last week he experienced the toughest loss one could imagine. Jordan was seen entering University Stadium toward the end of Thursday’s practice just days after he reportedly found out his mother died. As practice concluded, teammates and coaches embraced the running back, and seemed to be consoling him and offering words of encouragement.
Last season New Mexico stunned Boise State by dealing the Broncos a rare home loss on its distinctive blue turf; now Boise State will be looking to exact revenge when the teams square off Friday at University Stadium. The Lobos were 30.5 point underdogs, but never trailed in last year’s upset, a 31-24 triumph that arguably became head coach Bob Davie’s signature win during his tenure at New Mexico.
New Mexico blew an early 21 point first-half lead in its last game against Rutgers. On Saturday, another 21 point lead was evaporating quickly, and Lobo fans had to buckle up for a bumpy ride. UNM’s defense tightened up in the second half as it has all season, allowing only 28 yards and zero points in the quarter. An interception returned for a touchdown by Austin Ocasio put the Lobos up 41-20, and the game seemed to be well in hand.
It was by no means perfect, but the UNM football team held on to win its first Mountain West game of the season 48-41 against the San José State Spartans. With the win, New Mexico improved to 2-2 (1-0 MW) and 2-0 at home.
New Mexico head coach Bob Davie said the young season has seemed to have had a lot of starts and stops, but things are about to ratchet up with nine straight weeks of football on the slate. The Lobos have put in a lot of practice for three games that were unconventionally spaced out from each other. The season opener was on Sept. 1, but the team has played only two games since after to last week’s bye.
New Mexico junior running back Richard McQuarley has been consistent in the running game so far, but he got to do something for the first time earlier this season — play in front of his mother as a Lobo. Head coach Bob Davie said the season opener was special for the running back, because his mother, Sharon McQuarley, flew in from Mississippi to make the game.
New Mexico running back Teriyon Gipson can’t outrun a past incident which has been brought to the spotlight, and could continue to have an effect both on and off the field. Multiple reports confirm Gipson was arrested in January while in Dallas on a pair of misdemeanor charges for marijuana possession and unlawful possession of a firearm.
New Mexico’s goal for the week was clear — “don’t let New Mexico State beat us twice.” But the Lobos seemed to repeat many of the same mistakes, which contributed to another loss. Costly turnovers on offense and allowing big plays on defense have hurt the Lobos the past two games, but a bigger issue may have affected the outcome Saturday.
For the second time in as many weeks, the Lobos lost the lead and control of the game by giving up big plays and making costly turnovers, this time en route to a 37-28 loss at Rutgers on Saturday. UNM Head coach Bob Davie said he felt in control, for the most part, in terms of game plan and strategy. After giving up the lead, the Lobos (1-2) fought back to have chances at the end.
New evidence has surfaced that suggests possible misconduct during the UNMPD investigation into a 2014 case alleging that two former UNM football players and a third man raped a fellow student. George Anthony Bleus is the attorney currently representing former CNM student Ryan Ruff and former UNM students and Lobo football players Crusoe Gongbay and SaQwan Edwards in a lawsuit against the University, alleging the investigation was mishandled. “The only way this (information) came out is because someone forgot to hit the stop button on the recording,” Bleus said.
New Mexico (1-1) suffered a heartbreaking loss to New Mexico State on Saturday, but it also lost some key players due to injury that could make things even tougher as the season continues. Head coach Bob Davie said arguably the team’s best defensive and offensive players will not be making the trip to New Jersey to do with battle Rutgers (1-1) on Saturday.
The touchback on kickoffs was moved from the 20 to the 25-yard line in college football for this season, but something else was recently unveiled between those points on Branch Field at University Stadium. Numbers usually appear in 10-yard increments on a football field, but in its home opener against South Dakota, the Lobos honored one of its fallen teammates by placing the number 22 at the corresponding yard lines. Markel Byrd, former Lobos safety, wore number 22 during his tenure at New Mexico. He had just ended his sophomore season, in which he helped the team earn its first bowl appearance since 2007.
New Mexico State started slow in both halves of the game, but relied on strong finishes to earn its first win over New Mexico since 2011. Early in the contest, the Lobos offense was rolling and the defense tightening up anytime the Aggies got near the red zone, forcing NMSU to settle for field goals.
Last season, New Mexico State controlled the first half before blowing a lead in the second. On Saturday night at Aggie Memorial Stadium, New Mexico State returned the favor en route to a 32-21 loss in the Rio Grande Rivalry. It’s the first time NMSU has beaten UNM since 2011. The Lobos controlled the action for most of the game, but the Aggies made big plays on offense, defense, and special teams to scrap its way back and score the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth quarter.
The Lobos (1-0) and Aggies (0-1) will meet for the 107th time Saturday as the teams square off in a rivalry that goes back longer than New Mexico has been a state. Head coach Bob Davie’s mantra for the season opener was that the Lobos “just had to be the best team in the stadium that night.” He said the upcoming game is a big one since it is a rivalry game, but that the focus remains on improving with each matchup, no matter who the opponent. One game does not necessarily have any bearing on the next.
The Lobos registered a pair of individual performance honors on Monday after some strong season opening showings, according to a release. Linebacker Dakota Cox and kicker Jason Sanders were named Mountain West Defensive and Special Teams Player of the Week, respectively.
After trailing early in Thursday’s season opener at University Stadium, New Mexico hit its stride after making some big plays in all three phases of the game. The Lobos registered plenty of explosive plays on both sides of the ball, but it was a pair of big plays on special teams that seemed to shift the game’s momentum.