Nov. 19, 2011
New Mexico Lobos Football - On The Mountain West Road
Wyoming 31, Lobos 10 - War Memorial Stadium
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
On a frigid afternoon on a frigid field in Laramie, Wyo., the New Mexico Lobos ran into a red hot freshman.
Total yards: Brett Smith 352, New Mexico 296. Final Score: Wyoming 31, Lobos 10.
Smith, Wyoming's sizzling freshman quarterback, passed for 212 yards and ran for another 140 yards in the Cowboys' 30-10 Mountain West win.
Smith averaged 9.2 yards per pass and 11.2 yards per run. His 352 total yards was more than UNM could generate as a team. Wyoming had 462 total yards as a unit.
"He is a really good player, especially for a true freshman," said George Barlow, UNM's interim head coach. "He is a kid who makes plays. He makes them with his feet and he makes them with his arm."
Smith's performance outshined another gutsy effort by the Lobos and junior quarterback B.R. Holbrook, who went 18 of 28 for 162 yards.
The Lobos played the Cowboys even in the first half and had a chance to go into the half guarding a 10-7 lead as UNM scored with 1:41 left in the second quarter. Smith spoiled that first-half ending for UNM by marching Wyoming 74 yards in 1:16 to hand the Cowboys a 14-10 halftime lead.
"You don't want a team to be able to score in the last two or three minutes of a quarter," said Barlow. "That can be deflating."
The Lobos played so-so in the third quarter and went into the final frame down 17-10. Smith and Wyoming put the game away with 14 points in the fourth quarter.
Smith iced the game away with a 60-yard burst into the UNM end zone that formed the 31-10 final. Smith busted through the left side of the Lobo line and out-sprinted the UNM secondary into the Lobo end zone with 6:29 to play.
"We got off to a really good start," said Barlow. "We just have to learn to finish it. On defense, we need to do a better job in getting off the field. We didn't do a good job in the second half of playing as a team."
The Lobos got 52 yards rushing from Crusoe Gongbay and 48 from Holbrook, who often was chased out of the UNM pocket. UNM had a chance to score in the closing seconds, but Holbrook was stripped of the football as he again was chased out of a collapsing pocket.
Holbrook also had an intercept on a deep route, overthrowing his target. "He tried to stick it where maybe he shouldn't have," said Barlow.
UNM's Quintell Solomon had six passes for 34 yards, Gongbay hauled in four passes for 36 yards coming out of the backfield and tight end Lucas Reed had four grabs for 38 yards. Wyoming had 250 yards rushing behind Smith's 140 yards.
The Cowboys had three receivers with six receptions: Mazi Ogbonna (78 yards), Brandon Miller (77) and Dominic Rufran (32).
Wyoming had 24 first downs to 15 for UNM. The Lobos held the ball for 33:01 and Wyoming's time of possession was 26:59. Smith and Wyoming were 11 of 17 on third-down conversions. However, Wyoming had 16 more offensive plays.
The 1-10 Lobos will enter a bye week and then end the season at Boise State. The 7-3 Cowboys, who became bowl eligible with the win over UNM, play Boise State this coming weekend.
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and Sports Columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org