Nov. 16, 2010
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The New Mexico football team hits the road Saturday for a final Mountain West Conference showdown with BYU. The Lobos (1-9, 1-5 MWC) and Cougars (5-5, 4-2 MWC) get underway Saturday at 4:06 p.m., from LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo. Turn to p. 3 for more information on the series.
The game will be televised live in high definition on The Mtn., channel 276 on Comcast cable in Albuquerque and channel 616 on DirecTV.
The Lobo Radio Network will carry Saturday's game from Provo. The Lobo Radio Network can be heard on 770 AM KKOB in Albuquerque.
After a 48-23 loss at Air Force, New Mexico has lost 13 straight road conference games and 15 consecutive games away from Albuquerque. The Lobos' last win on the road was Sept. 27, 2008 at New Mexico State, 35-24. UNM won its last conference road game on Oct. 20, 2007, 20-17, at San Diego State.
Last year, the Lobos finished 1-11 overall and 1-7 in the MWC. BYU was 11-2 in all games and 7-1 in the MWC. The Cougars defeated to Oregon State 44-20 in the MAACO Las Vegas Bowl.
NOTES TO KNOW BEFORE THE GAME
Junior linebacker Carmen Messina needs just seven tackles to hit 100 for the second straight season...Messina would be the first Lobo to have back-to-back seasons with 100 tackles since Brian Urlacher in 1998 and 1999.
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall was the Lobos' defensive coordinator under Rocky Long from 1998-2002, and Mendenhall credits Long for much of the defensive knowledge he possesses today...Mendenhall's two oldest sons - Cutter and Breaker - were born to wife Holly in Albuquerque
On Saturday, New Mexico faces a BYU squad that will be looking to become bowl eligible. The Cougars have made five straight bowl appearances. BYU is one of the most historical football programs nationally, with 23 conference titles and 28 bowl appearances. However, the Cougars won't hit the double-digit win total for the first time since Bronco Mendenhall's first season in 2005 (6-6).
Saturday will also mark the final matchup between BYU and New Mexico as members of the Mountain West Conference. The Cougars have won nine of the 11 meetings since 1999 when the MWC started.
Overall: 60th meeting and the two schools have played every year since 1951, making it the Lobos' second-longest uninterrupted series next to New Mexico State (played every year since 1946).
Breakdown: BYU leads 44-14-1, 22-6 in Provo and 22-8-1 in Albuquerque. The Cougars have won the last five meetings. The Lobos have lost the last two meetings in Provo, but won back-to-back games at BYU in 2004 and 2002.
Since LaVell Edwards took over in Provo in 1972: BYU has won 34 of 38 overall, including 18 of 20 in Albuquerque...UNM's last win in Provo was in 2004, 21-14.
Stat to Know: New Mexico has turned the ball over nine times in its last four games against BYU, four interceptions and five fumbles...the Cougars have converted the miscues into 31 points, including 24 points on five Lobo errors two years ago in Albuquerque.
BYU HEAD COACH BRONCO MENDENHALL
Former New Mexico assistant Bronco Mendenhall is in his sixth season as head coach of the Cougars. He has a 54-20 record and is 5-0 against the Lobos.
LAST MEETING AGAINST BYU
A landmark victory for BYU quarterback Max Hall was important to his coach for another reason -- it was another hard-fought win for the Cougars.
Hall passed for two touchdowns and got his 29th victory at BYU to match Heisman Trophy-winner Ty Detmer's school record, and the No. 22 Cougars survived a sloppy fourth quarter to beat winless New Mexico 24-19 on Saturday.
The Cougars (8-2, 5-1 Mountain West) held off a focused effort by the Lobos (0-10, 0-6), who were desperate to give fans something good to cheer after a tough season that has been worsened by first-year coach Mike Locksley's problems off the field.
New Mexico made a game of it with 4:07 remaining when Donovan Porterie's 20-yard TD pass to Victor James finished a drive that started in BYU territory after an ugly 30-yard punt by Cougars punter Riley Stephenson.
Bryan Kariya fumbled on BYU's next possession with 3:13 to go, but Porterie was sacked twice by Cougars lineman Jan Jorgensen. After earlier converting three times on fourth down, the Lobos turned it over at midfield when Porterie scrambled 20 yards on fourth-and-27.
The Lobos dropped their 14th in a row, the second longest losing streak in school history, and will remember this one for 10 points that never reached the scoreboard.
Kicker James Aho whacked the uprights three times -- on field goal attempts of 35 and 42 yards and on a PAT try, all in the second half. Aho also had a 46-yard field goal attempt blocked by BYU's Andrew Rich just before halftime.
MESSINA CRACKS CAREER LIST
Junior linebacker Carmen Messina has cracked the career list at New Mexico for tackles. Messina has 290 tackles and ranks 19th all-time. Entering the BYU game, Messina has had six straight games with double-digit tackles. He finished with a season high 17 stops at Air Force Saturday. The Addison, Ill., native has recorded double-digit tackles 16 times during his career.
ON THE HORIZON
The Lobos have one game remaining after Saturday's game with BYU. New Mexico returns home on Nov. 27 for a showdown with nationally-ranked TCU. The Lobos will honor their 14 seniors prior to the game. The game will be broadcast live on the Versus Network. Kickoff for the TCU game is set for 2 p.m. MDT.
CARRIER SHOWING SIGNS
For the second straight week, sophomore RB Kasey Carrier has shown signs of his potential. Carrier rushed for 79 yards at Air Force on 14 carries. Over the last two weeks, Carrier has rushed for 176 yards on 27 rushes including a TD. That's 6.5 yards per carry. He had a career-long run of 38 yards against the Falcons.
BUILDING THE FUTURE
The New Mexico football program is developing talent and building towards the future. The Lobos have played seven true freshmen this season including two quarterbacks. Below is a breakdown of key young starters making an impact.
Stump Godfrey Fr. Quarterback
Tarean Austin Fr. Quarterback
Dillon Farrell RFr. Center
Darryl Johnson RFr. Tackle
B.R. Holbrook So. Quarterback
Kasey Carrier So. Running Back
Ty Kirk So. Wide Receiver
Lucas Reed So. Tight End
Ravonne Carter Fr. Safety
Ugo Uzodinma So. Tackle
Joe Stoner So. Linebacker
Spencer Merritt So. Linebacker
A.J. Butler So. Safety
Freddy Young So. Safety
E. McPhearson So. Cornerback
DeShawn Mills So. Cornerback
New Mexico head coach Mike Locksley has competition at the quarterback position. The Lobos have started four different quarterbacks in a season for the FIRST-TIME in school history. True freshman Stump Godfrey has emerged as the starter over the past two weeks. UNM has also used sophomore B.R. Holbrook, junior Brad Gruner and true freshman Tarean Austin. Injuries have destroyed the quarterback consistency.
LOBOS SHORT IN THE BACKFIELD
The Lobos are limited in the backfield heading into Provo. UNM has used junior James Wright as the primary back over the last three weeks but sophomore Kasey Carrier could handle most of the duties Saturday. Carrier is healthy and coming off back-to-back strong games. Wright will be available this week but is limited to no-contact in practice after injuring his shoulder at Air Force. Redshirt freshman Demarcus Rogers will be available in the backfield if need Saturday.
DOING IT THE RIGHT WAY
New Mexico head coach Mike Locksley and his staff are putting in a tireless effort to build the program the right way. Locksley, who has been navigating the Lobos through a three-year NCAA probationary period, has had limitations on recruiting but still has signed some of the nation's top players. UNM signed one of its best classes all-time last February and many have redshirted. Of the 20 who signed NLIs in 2010, only seven have played and two are starters. That leaves 13 players who are redshirting and developing into key contributors. Locksley also signed impact transfers in WR Lamaar Thomas (Ohio State), Deon Long (West Virginia), Javarie Johnson (Maryland) and Omar Castillo (Texas Tech). All of the transfers will be eligible in 2011. Due to NCAA limitations, Locksley and the Lobos are 10 scholarship players shy this season and will only be allowed to sign 21 in February. This is the final year of the NCAA sanctions and UNM will be able to return to the normal allotment of 25 in February of 2012.
INJURIES HAVING AN IMPACT
New Mexico has missed multiple players this season due to injuries. The Lobos have lost six starters due to season ending injuries this year. The Lobos are beat up and bruised after facing a difficult schedule to open the year. UNM, which recovered some with the bye week, is trying to develop depth and continue to improve as the season progresses.
New Mexico has used an unprecedented 35 different starters in 2010. Redshirt freshman offensive tackle Darryl Johnson made his first career start against San Diego State and became the 18th Lobo to start on the offensive side of the ball. UNM has started 17 different defensive players.
The Lobos aren't the youngest team in the country but they have used their fair share of true freshmen. UNM enters Saturday's game having used seven true freshmen this season. The most recent freshman to play has been QB Stump Godfrey. Godfrey, who was expected to redshirt in 2010, was put into the New Mexico State game and has played ever since. UNM has started three true freshmen in safety Ravonne Carter, quarterback Tarean Austin and Godfrey.
STEELE'S MIDSEASON AWARDS
New Mexico football had four players named to the Midseason All-American team by Phil Steele's College Football Preview. Offensively, senior WR Bryant Williams, senior OT Byron Bell and sophomore TE Lucas Reed were named third team. Redshirt freshman Myles Daughtry was named third team kickoff return.
LOBOS AMONG TACKLE LEADERS
New Mexico has two defensive players among the best in the Mountain West Conference. Junior linebacker Carmen Messina is third in the conference with 93 tackles. He currently ranks 32nd nationally. Junior safety Bubba Forrest is tied for sixth in the conference in tackles with 85 stops. Messina, who led the nation in tackles last year, has recorded double digit tackles in the last six games. Other Lobos listed include sophomores Joe Stoner (T24th) and Spencer Merritt (27th).
HERNANDEZ IS MAKING AN IMPACT
Senior wide receiver Chris Hernandez has made an impact this season. The Las Cruces, N.M., native has 33 catches for 236 yards. His impact has not only influenced the offense but he has emerged as an outstanding special teams player. Hernandez recovered the on-sides kick at Colorado State.
UNM TO HONOR SENIORS ON NOV. 27
The Lobo football program will recognize 14 seniors on Saturday, November 27. It's the smallest senior class since 2002 (10). The TCU game will be the final home game of the 2010 season. The senior activities will take place prior to the game. The game will kickoff at 2 p.m. MDT.
REED IS AN ALL-MWC CANDIDATE
Sophomore tight end Lucas Reed is an All-Mountain West Conference candidate.
Reed enters Saturday with a nine-game streak with at least one reception. Over the last four games, he has 19 catches for 287 yards (15.1 avg.).
Reed has erupted to lead New Mexico in receiving yards and ranks ninth in the conference for yards per game with 41.8. Reed has a team-high five touchdowns and needs just two more to crack the single-season receiving TD list at New Mexico. Reed has 31 catches for 418 yards. He earned the John Mackey National Tight End of the Week after his performance against Wyoming.
Reed recorded seven receptions for 100 yards and two touchdowns as New Mexico won its first game of the 2010 season over Wyoming, 34-31. Reed's touchdowns were both meaningful in a game where he set a new career high in receptions and matched his career highs in both yardage and touchdown receptions.
AHO IN SOLE POSSESSION OF FOURTH
Junior Kicker James Aho has moved into sole possession of fourth place all-time for field goals at New Mexico with 37. Aho became just the 18th Lobo all-time to hit from 50 yards, when he connected on a 51-yarder against Wyoming. His game-winner vs. the Cowboys and the 51-yarder made him the MWC Special Teams Player of the Week.
The Roswell, N.M., native enters Saturday's game with 176 career points and is 12 points away from cracking the top 10 all-time scoring list at UNM.
LOBOS ON SHORT LIST
New Mexico is on a short list of teams starting true freshmen at quarterback. The Lobos have started two true freshmen in Tarean Austin (TAR-ean) and Stump Godfrey. Four of the 16 quarterbacks are in the Mountain West Conference. Austin was the first true freshman to start at QB for New Mexico since Jeremy Leach in 1988.
Tarean Austin New Mexico
Stump Godfrey New Mexico
Rob Bolden Penn State
Tanner Price Wake Forest
Jeff Godfrey Central Florida
Jake Heaps BYU
Pete Thomas Colorado State
Chase Rettig Boston College
Chas Dodd Rutgers
Ryan Williams Memphis
Alex Zordich Buffalo
David Piland Houston
Andrew Manley New Mexico State
Sean Robinson Purdue
Tyler Bray Tennessee
Stephen Morris Miami (Fla.)
The Lobos (6-4, 4-2 Mountain West) won their fourth straight and are eligible for a bowl with one game remaining.
New Mexico also won for the second straight time in Provo, a place the Lobos had struggled for three decades before ending a 14-game road losing streak against the Cougars two years ago.
BYU (5-4, 4-2) was driving to tie it when New Mexico's Gabriel Fulbright hit Antwuan Harris hard after a short completion and the ball bounced loose. Fashola pounced and came out with the ball when the pile cleared to clinch the game for the Lobos, who took advantage of some sloppy play by the Cougars.
Harris' fumble was the third turnover for BYU, which also allowed seven sacks. Matt Payne, normally the most reliable of the Cougars, missed three field goal attempts. His 12-yard trick pass to Riley Weber in the first quarter was the Cougars' only score until the fourth quarter, when they were already down 21-7 and running out of time.
New Mexico wide receiver Hank Baskett pulls in a 26-yard pass in the third quarter. Baskett finished the day with 125 receiving yards, including a touchdown.
Moore scored on a 1-yard run in the fourth quarter, capping a 15-play, 87-yard drive that took nearly 8 minutes and put the Lobos up 21-7 with 8:37 remaining.
BYU got within 21-14 on a 7-yard screen pass from John Beck to Fahu Tahi with 6 minutes to play.
The Lobos were able to take a few more minutes off the clock before punting and pinning the Cougars at their own 3 with 2:33 remaining. Beck got as far as the 44, despite having two passes dropped that hit his receivers' hands. But Harris' fumble killed the drive at the 46 with 42 seconds left.
Beck was 22-for-37 for 247 yards, one touchdown and an interception.
BYU took a 7-0 lead on a fake field goal late in the first quarter. Payne and the kicking team came out late, and the Lobos didn't realize Payne was the only player in the backfield. Payne took the snap and lofted a pass to Weber, who had quietly lined up just inside the sideline.
New Mexico came right back with a touchdown less than a minute later, helped by a personal foul on BYU and a 47-yard pass from McKamey to Baskett that set up Marcus Smith's 15-yard touchdown run.
The Lobos got the ball back three plays later when Fahu Tahi fumbled for BYU and Nick Speegle recovered for New Mexico at the BYU 36. Two plays later, McKamey hit Baskett at the back of the end zone for a 29-yard touchdown pass that put New Mexico up 14-7.