September 1, 2003
Coming off impressive season-opening wins, the New Mexico Lobos and Texas Tech Red Raiders hook up in a non-conference tussle Saturday in Lubbock. Kickoff is 5 p.m. Mountain Time from Jones SBC Stadium. Albuquerque's KRQE-TV will show the game on a delayed basis starting at 8 p.m. Mountain Time.
In the 72-8 thumping of Texas State-San Marcos on Saturday, the Lobos recorded their most points and widest victory margin since a 77-6 triumph over the University of Mexico on September 17, 1960, which was the first game played at University Stadium. Texas Tech rocked SMU 58-10, in Lubbock.
UNM senior kicker Katie Hnida (NIGH-da; Littleton, Colorado) became the first woman to score in an NCAA Div. I-A game when she converted both of her PATs against Texas State-San Marcos. Hnida was the first woman to play in a Div. I-A game when she attempted an extra point in last year's Las Vegas Bowl against UCLA. The kick was blocked.
The Lobos have won four straight home games and they are 9-2 in their last 11 games at University Stadium. UNM has also captured six of its last seven home games against non-conference competition.
The 2003 season may be the most highly anticipated for the Lobo gridders in a long, long time. UNM returns a whopping 53 lettermen - including 17 offensive and defensive starters - from a team that finished second in the MWC last year and played in a bowl game for only the second time since 1961.
The consensus from the preseason publications has the Lobos again finishing second in the loop behind perennial power Colorado State, although some annuals have tagged 2003 as the "Year of the Lobo."
New Mexico was picked to finish second in the official Mountain West Conference preseason poll. That's the highest predicted finish for a Lobo team since polls could be found dating to the early 1980s. Six Lobos were named to the 2003 preseason all-MWC team: OT Jason Lenzmeier, TB DonTrell Moore and OG Claude Terrell on offense and DE Daniel Kegler, S Brandon Ratcliff and NT D.J. Renteria on defense.
The Lobos received nine votes in the ESPN/USA Today Top 25 preseason coaches' poll, good for a tie for 47th place with Georgia Tech. UNM's Rocky Long is one of 63 NCAA Div. I-A head coaches who votes in the poll.
For only the second time in the history of University Stadium, the Lobos will play seven home games in 2003. UNM also played seven here in 1995. The home slate could be a big reason why the pundits predict New Mexico could claim its first outright conference crown since 1963. Four of UNM's seven conference games will be played at University Stadium. BYU, UNLV, Colorado State and Air Force all visit Albuquerque this fall.
Going 13-12 in 2001-02, New Mexico guns for its third straight non-losing record for the first time since a seven-year run from 1958-64. After playing in the Las Vegas Bowl last year, UNM seeks consecutive postseason appearances for only the second time in school history, since appearing in the 1945 Sun Bowl and the 1946 Harbor Bowl. The most wins by New Mexico in a three-year period is 22 between 1962-64.
New Mexico has the distinction of being the only school in the nation to increase its win total every year since 1999: UNM was 3-9 in 1998, 4-7 in 1999, 5-7 in 2000, 6-5 in 2001 and 7-7 in 2002.
SEASON TICKET UPDATE: Through Friday, August 29th, UNM had sold a school-record 14,579 season tickets. Last year's total was 14,142 while the previous record was 14,254 set in 1998. A six-game prorated season ticket that begins with the September 13 BYU game is currently available.
TEXAS TECH SERIES: It's the 40th meeting between schools separated by about 250 miles. The series started in 1931 when both institutions were members of the old Border Conference. The two teams will square off next year in Albuquerque, ending the current series.
The Red Raiders have a commanding 32-5-2 lead in the series. TTU leads 20-2 in Lubbock and 12-3-2 in Albuquerque.
Texas Tech has won nine straight over the last 17 years. UNM's last win was 29-24 at University Stadium in 1984.
Texas Tech ripped the Lobos 49-0, last year in Albuquerque in a Friday night national telecast on ESPN2. UNM had scored in 111 straight games, dating to 1992. Kliff Kingsbury completed 41 of 59 passes for 407 yards and 6 TDs. Tech ran 102 plays - the most ever against a Lobo team - for 590 yards of offense. UNM was limited to a season-low 199 yards. QB Casey Kelly suffered a broken left arm in the first quarter, but played during the second period before X-rays at halftime revealed the fracture.
TTU won 42-30 two years ago in Lubbock as Ivory McCann's 100-yard kickoff return broke open a 21-17 game early in the third quarter.
RED RAIDER READ: Texas Tech was 9-5 last year, including a 55-15 victory over Clemson in the Tangerine Bowl. The Red Raiders were 5-3 in Big 12 play, good for third place in the South Division. TTU returns 47 lettermen, including 15 starters, nine on offense and five on defense.
Head coach Mike Leach begins his fourth season in Lubbock. The 1983 BYU graduate is 24-16 overall, and has guided the Red Raiders to a bowl game in each of his first three seasons. He is 3-0 against the Lobos. Leach's teams have set 123 individual and team records since he took over the program for Spike Dykes.
Texas Tech recently completed an $84 million renovation of Jones SBC Stadium. The expansion includes the addition of 47 luxury suites, 1,000 indoor and outdoor club suites and a state-of-the-art press box.
TEXAS STATE-SAN MARCOS RECAP: The Lobos scored touchdowns on their first six possessions en route to a resounding 72-8 victory over the Bobcats of Texas State-San Marcos. Sophomore TB DonTrell Moore (Roswell, N.M.) rushed for 109 yards and a career-high four TDs on the ground in a little more than two quarters of play.
NOTES FROM GAME ONE: The 72 points ranks as the 9th-highest total in school history while the 64-point victory margin is also No. 9 all-time by a Lobo team.
UNM's 41-point outburst to start the game ties for the second-most in a first half and ties for fourth-best of any half. The school record is 46 points (first half) against Northern Arizona in 1950.
UNM racked up 556 yards of total offense (299 rushing, 257 passing), its best effort since getting 620 yards against Air Force during the 2001 season. The 299 yards on the ground is the best total since 350 against New Mexico State, also in 2001. The 31 first downs are the most since 32 in that Air Force game two years ago.
The Lobos were a perfect 10-of-10 inside the red zone with nine TDs and a field goal. Texas State did not convert on three tries.
New Mexico converted its first eight 3rd-down tries and finished 11 of 14.
Due in part to the Bobcats' refusal to punt from virtually anywhere on the field, the Lobos' average starting field position was the 50-yard line. Texas State went for it on 4th down 12 times - seven times in its own territory - converting four. The Bobcats punted just three times.
QB Casey Kelly (Portland, Ore.) is now 12-8 as a starter at New Mexico, which ties Graham Leigh for No. 6 on the career wins list. Current UNM head coach Rocky Long is the all-time leader with 16 victories from 1969-71. Completing 12 of 16 passes for 165 yards and three TDs, Kelly moved into 4th place at UNM with 300 career completions. He is 5th with 25 TD passes and No. 6 with 3,628 passing yards.
Moore recorded his fifth career 100-yard rushing game and became the sixth Lobo to score at least four rushing TDs in a single game. Reginal Johnson tallied five against Tulsa in 1996. Four other Lobos scored four via the run, including Long against Utah in 1971. Moore ranks 25th at UNM with 1,243 rushing yards. He has scored nine TDs (six rushing, three receiving) in his last two games at University Stadium.
Senior WR Dwight Counter's (Lancaster, Texas) 40-yard run in the first quarter was a career long. Counter finished with a career-high 192 all-purpose yards (40 rushing, 65 on punt returns, 87 receiving). He is now tied with Shane Hall for 8th place all-time at UNM with 94 career receptions. Counter is No. 10 in receiving yards (1,412).
Counter's 32-yard TD from Casey Kelly marked the sixth time he has caught a TD pass of 25 yards or more. Counter is averaging an amazing 38.6 yards on his nine career TDs.
Lobo tight ends caught six passes for 86 yards and two TDs. Junior TE Mike Augustyniak (Edgewood, N.M.) caught a career long 25-yard pass in the first quarter then snared his first career TD reception in the second. Senior Bryan Penley (Victoria, Texas) caught a career-high four passes for a career-best 47 yards and scored his fourth TD as a Lobo.
The four passing TDs by the Lobos are the most since throwing four in a triple-overtime win over Utah State on September 12, 1998.
A total of 64 players participated. Thirteen Lobos made their debut while six made their first career start.
A crowd of 35,311 was on hand, the fourth-largest in school history.
Senior lobo Sidney Wiley's (Hazelhurst, Miss.) interception in the first quarter was the first of his career. Senior NT Guillermo Morrison (Copperas Cove, Texas) also got his first pick off a tipped pass.
Sophomore WR Hank Baskett (Clovis, N.M.) caught two passes for 31 yards, including a 20-yard TD from QB Tali Ena (Prosser, Wash.). Baskett has caught four passes in his career, three going for scores. It was Ena's only pass of the game.
Senior LB Fola Fashola (Marshall, Texas) had three tackles, including two sacks, and two pass deflections. Junior LB Nick Speegle (Albuquerque) paced the UNM defense with eight tackles and a pair of pass breakups.
WORDS FROM ROCKY: (on Texas State-San Marcos) -- "I enjoyed the first part of the game. I didn't enjoy the rest of it. I don't like to be in games like that. I've been on the other end and they're not very fun at all. It was fun for our players, but it wasn't fun for me. A lot of guys got to play. We played the first teamers in the first half and everybody else in the second. We played three quarterbacks, three kickers and we ran four or five different guys. We played almost every player that we had that wasn't redshirting and that was suited up. It rewards the guys that practice, they got to play in a tight game. So, I guess it helps your team spirit, but I hate those types of games.
"I thought we threw the ball well and our receivers were more consistent and made some nice catches. That's what we expected after preseason, though. I didn't particularly like our reaction to the pass. It wasn't as quick as it should have been. Obviously, we will need to improve in that area before Saturday. Everybody seemed to be in the right place, but the two long plays were a concern.
(on Texas Tech) -- "We are going to do everything we possibly can to win the game. The better the opponent, the harder it is to win and Texas Tech is very good again. We're playing a good team from a respected conference. We're older and more experienced and I would like to think that will help us. Facing the Texas State passing offense may aid in our preparation a little bit. It was good to see it in live action versus what we simulate in practice. Tech will be a lot better at what they do. The speed of the game will definitely change."
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