Sept. 4, 2010
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
It was as if Lobo coach Mike Locksley had written down all the things that could go wrong in Eugene, Ore., and somehow they all came true.
The New Mexico Lobos lost 72-0 Saturday afternoon to the No. 11 Oregon Ducks and the scoreboard more than fairly reflected the differences between the two teams on this day. Locksley had preached prior to the game that his Lobos could not step in front of a team this talented and this quick and help them by making mistakes.
His words never made it to the field at Autzen Stadium.
"One of the things we stressed going into the game was make them beat us," said Locksley, in his second season at UNM. "We turned it over five times and allowed two punt returns for touchdowns. We definitely didn't help our cause from our end."
This game definitely was over at the half when the Ducks went up 59-0 going into the locker room. The ultra-quick Ducks scored through the air, on the ground and on two punt returns in the first 30 minutes.
The Lobos made too many mistakes and ended the game with five turnovers. The Ducks rolled out 720 yards in total offense to 107 for the visitors from New Mexico. Oregon had 369 yards on the ground and 351 yards through the air. The Lobos had 25 yards on the ground and 82 yards passing.
Oregon had 35 first downs to eight for UNM. The Ducks converted 13 of 19 third-down attempts in front of a sellout crowd at Autzen Stadium. The Lobos converted 3-of-13.
"We were atrocious on third down, offensively, defensively," said Locksley. "We had five turnovers and we weren't efficient running the football.
"We got in a lot of young guys, first-time players, so hopefully this experience will help us in the future. We got to find a way to grow up fast."
The Lobos were expected to be severely tested by Oregon, the defending Pac-10 champs and preseason picks to defend that title. They will be severely tested again in seven days.
The Lobos return to University Stadium on Saturday, Sept. 11 where they will look to regroup and pull an upset against a pass-happy Texas Tech team from Lubbock. The Red Raiders are not expected to be on the same level as Oregon, but they are still a good team and an established program.
"We have a lot of work to do," said Locksley.
The Lobos obviously have to put some punch into their running game, but they also need a better effort in stopping the opposing running game.
The Ducks were forced to go to a backup running back as their projected started had to sit out a one-game suspension. That so-called backup, Kenjon Barner, ran over and around Lobos for four touchdowns. His 147 yards on the ground broke down into an 8.6 average per carry. His backup, Remene Alston, ran for 110 yards and 5.2 yards per carry.
"The things that we set out do do today, we didn't come close to getting accomplished," said Locksley.
The Lobos actually started out the game on a good note as sophomore linebacker Joe Stoner ended Oregon's impressive first drive by picking off a Darron Thomas pass. The game went downhill for the Lobos at that point. The first half included a low snap that went between UNM's punter Ben Skaer's legs and linebacker Carmen Messina going out with an ankle injury.
The Lobos were down 28-0 at the end of the first quarter. Oregon had rolled out 288 total yards. The count went to 49-0 and 59-0 after Oregon's Cliff Harris ran two UNM punts back into the Lobo end zone.
"Those are huge momentum swings," said Locksley. "We can't allow those types of play."