Sept. 20, 2004
The New Mexico Lobos play their second road game of the season when they visit in-state rival New Mexico State Saturday evening. The Lobos and Aggies kick off at 6:05 p.m., Mountain Time from Aggie Memorial Stadium. KRQE in Albuquerque will televise the game live. It's the 95th meeting in a series that began in 1893.
UNM returns home on Friday, Oct. 1, to open Mountain West Conference play against nationally-ranked and undefeated Utah (3-0). ESPN2 will provide the television converage. The Utes host Air Force Saturday. Utah has won seven straight games since losing to the Lobos 47-35, last year in Salt Lake City.
New Mexico is 1-2 after dropping a 17-7 decision at Oregon State. The Lobos - limited to just 114 yards of offense on a cool, wet, dreary afternoon - were held without an offensive touchdown for the first time since a 49-0 blanking by Texas Tech in 2002. UNM now looks to avoid its fourth 1-3 start in the past five seasons. The Lobos were 2-2 in 2002.
UNM is looking for its second non-conference road win under current head coach Rocky Long. The Lobos are 1-13 in such games since 1998. The only victory was 16-13 at New Mexico State during the 2000 season.
After playing its first two games at home, UNM plays six of its final nine games away from Albuquerque.
The Aggies' non-conference schedule has been every bit as challenging as New Mexico's. They opened the season with trips to Arkansas and California. NMSU is also 1-2 after rallying for a 22-18 victory over Troy last Saturday in Las Cruces. The Aggies scored the go-ahead TD with 2:05 left in the fourth quarter, then recovered a fumble to secure their first win of the year.
Due, in part, to the toughness of their schedules, both teams' offenses have yet to hit stride. The Lobo offense has scored just 44 points in the first three games while averaging 281.3 yards a game, 4.3 yards per play and completing 39.8% (35-88) of its passes. UNM opponents have a huge edge in average time of possession (34:13 to 25:47) and has run - on average - 18 more plays a game than UNM. New Mexico has also turned the ball over nine times. New Mexico State is averaging 262.3 yards a game with only 66 yards coming on the ground. The Lobos are 9th in the nation in rushing defense, allowing 67 yards a contest.
New Mexico was 8-5 last year, increasing its win total for the fifth consecutive season, a feat no other team in the country can claim. The Lobos lost to Oregon State in the Las Vegas Bowl, 55-14. UNM finished 2nd in the Mountain West at 5-2 and handed league champ Utah its only conference loss.
New Mexico State finished 3-9 overall and 7th in the Sun Belt.
The Lobos return 40 lettermen, 18 on offense, 18 on defense and four kickers. Gone are 14 starters, including eight performers who garnered first- or second-team all-conference honors a year ago. Six of the eight were on defense, including three defensive linemen. Also departed is Casey Kelly, the winningest quarterback in school history.
Playing in the Las Vegas Bowl in 2002 and `03, New Mexico has made consecutive bowl appearances for only the second time in school history, the first occurence being after the 1945 and `46 seasons. UNM is 2-5-1 in bowls and has lost three straight. The last win was in 1961, a 28-12 decision over Western Michigan in the one-time-only Aviation Bowl in Dayton, Ohio. The Lobos had a 36-year postseason hiatus before the 1997 Insight.com Bowl.
The Lobos have never played in three straight bowl games, although they have been bowl eligible for three consecutive years. UNM was 6-5 in 2001, but was not selected.
COACH LONG SAYS - (On Oregon State and first three games) -- "We started off okay on offense, but the Oregon State defense took over from the second quarter on. We won't make any excuses. We just didn't play very well. Their defense certainly deserves a lot of credit. I`m encouraged that we have been competitive in every game so far, especially considering the quality of opponents, but discouraged that we only have one win. Our program is such now that we expect to win no matter who we're playing."
(On New Mexico State) -- "This is always the most important non-conference game of the season. I know our veterans will let the younger guys know just how important this game is. It's not hard to get up for it, since we have so many kids on our team from New Mexico. They got a big-time win on Saturday. I know they're happy and very confident. It's the same way we felt after the Texas Tech game. We expect Kole (McKamey) to play. We've got to run the ball better. When we do that, it seems like everything else works."
LONG APPROACHING RECORD FOR GAMES COACHED - Head coach Rocky Long is in his seventh season at his alma mater and is now third on the school's all-time win list at 34-42.
In terms of total seasons, only Johnson (11) and Weeks (8) have been at UNM for more time than Long. However, with 76 games spent on the sidelines, Long will become the school's career leader in games coached when the Lobos visit BYU on Nov. 13. That will be Long's 83rd game at UNM, surpassing Weeks' total of 82 from 1960-67.
UNM VS. NEW MEXICO STATE - It's UNM's oldest rivalry as the schools played six games from 1893-1911 before the territory of New Mexico became a state in 1912.
The 94 games makes UNM-NMSU the 35th-longest series in the NCAA record book...Wisconsin-Minnestota is the all-time leader at 113 games
The Lobos have a 61-28-5 lead and have captured three of the last four...New Mexico has dominated since 1969, winning 28 of 35 with one tie...UNM owns a 37-12-3 advantage in Albuquerque, including a 15-2-1 mark in the last 18 games on home turf
UNM leads 24-16-2 in Las Cruces, but has lost two of the past three, including 24-13 in 2002...Aggie QB Paul Dombrowski rushed 18 times for 136 yards and a TD in that win
The Lobos won 24-17 last year in Albuquerque, rallying from a 14-7 halftime deficit...UNM coverted three NMSU turnovers - two interceptions and a fumbled punt - into 17 points after the break...a school-record crowd of 44,075 was on hand...Ronshay Jenkins scored on pass plays of 39 and 72 yards for NMSU...the Lobos had just 228 yards of offense, their lowest total during the regular season
AGGIE NOTES - NMSU returns 50 lettermen, including 14 starters, 10 on offense and three on defense.
Head coach Tony Samuel is in his eighth season in Las Cruces where he has a 30-53 overall record. The 1979 Nebraska graduate is 3-4 against the Lobos, 2-1 in Las Cruces.
OREGON STATE REVIEW - The Lobos could just not put together anything offensively in the 17-7 loss at Oregon State...UNM was held to 114 yards of offense, the lowest total since it had 66 yards at Texas in 1988...the Lobos had 5 first downs and 50 yards after one quarter, but just 5 first downs and 64 yards the remaining three periods...Oregon State limited New Mexico to 127 yards in last year's Las Vegas Bowl
Sophomore QB Kole McKamey had to leave the game late in the second quarter with a concussion...senior Tali Ena got the most extensive playing time of his Lobo career, directing 10 offensive series...McKamey finished 4-12 passing for 10 yards and was sacked 3 times in less than a half...Ena was 3-18 with 1 interception and 29 yards
UNM's 14 offensive series ended with 10 punts, 2 interceptions, a lost fumble and the end of the first half...the Lobos crossed the 50-yard line one time and that came on their second drive of the game when they reached the OSU 38 before punting
New Mexico's lone TD came on a 70-yard fumble return by senior S Josh Bazinet, who had a whale of a game for the second straight week...Bazinet and LB Nick Speegle teamed to sack Oregon State QB Derek Anderson, forcing a fumble...Bazinet scooped up the loose ball for the Lobos' first fumble return for a score since Hebrews Josue and Billy Strother combined on an 83-yard TD against Weber State in 2002... Josue went the first 41 yards before lateraling to Strother who took it the remaining 42 yards
The past 2 games, Bazinet has 22 tackles, 2 sacks for 19 yards in losses, 2 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries and 3 pass deflections...he leads the team with 28 tackles and is atop the MWC rankings with 3 fumble recoveries and 2 caused fumbles
Speegle made 9 tackles as he passed Mike Barnett and Ray Wilson for 19th place on UNM's career tackling list with 247
Senior CB Brandon Payne is off to a torrid start...he leads the MWC and is tied for 2nd nationally with 3 interceptions...Payne broke up 3 passes at Oregon State and now has 8 on the season...the next closest in the league is San Diego State's Marv Underwood with 4...at this pace, Payne will blow away the school record of 14 PBUs set by Eric Jack in 1993...to put Payne's performance in further perspective, Gabriel Fulbright led UNM with 6 PBUs last year while the 2003 MWC leaders were San Diego State's Jacob Elimimian and Jeff Shoate with 14 apiece
Junior LB Mike Mohoric had a career-high 14 tackles and 2 pass deflections...he came into the game with 11 stops the first 2 games
New Mexico ran just 58 offensive snaps to the Beavers' 91...consequently, Oregon State had the ball for 38:09, UNM 21:51...it was much the same against Texas Tech the previous week as the Red Raiders had 92 plays and 34:56 of possession time compared to 65 and 25:04 for the Lobos...including penalties, the New Mexico defense has been on the field for more than 200 snaps the past two games...offensive snaps the past 2 games are 183-123 in the opponents' favor...UNM has had the ball for just 19:31 of a possible 60 minutes in the 2nd half of the past 2 games
For the second straight week, the Lobo defense limited the foe to just a FG in the second half...opponents have scored 27 points after halftime this season, 21 of those coming from Washington State, although the Cougars only had to travel 18 and 4 yards for 14 of their points
Oregon State QB Derek Anderson was 17-30 for 197 yards and 2 TDs in the first half, but just 7-20 for 77 yards and no TDs after the break
The five starters on UNM's line - Ryan Cook, Terrance Pennington, Claude Terrell, Fred Tucker and Robert Turner - have played every offensive snap the first three games
Junior TB DonTrell Moore was held to 22 yards on 7 carries...it's the fewest rushes for Moore since he had 2 totes at Air Force in 2002...that was the second game of his career when he was serving a a backup to Quincy Wright
The Lobos are 1st in the MWC and 9th nationally in rushing defense, allowing just 67.3 yards a game
P.O.W. TRIFECTA - For the first time in school history, New Mexico swept the Mountain West Conference player of the week awards following the win over Texas Tech. Sophomore QB Kole McKamey and senior S Josh Bazinet each earned the first honor of their careers while senior K Wes Zunker picked up his second special teams award. The only other MWC team to sweep the awards was San Diego State on Oct. 13, 2000.
SEASON NOTES TO DATE - The 21-17 loss to Washington State ended a 16-game UNM winning streak when it led after three quarters...the Lobos led the Cougars 14-7 going into the fourth quarter...the last loss had been to BYU in 2001, a game the Lobos led 13-10, but lost 24-20 to the 17th-ranked Cougars
It had been 12 years since New Mexico lost a game when leading by at least 10 points in the fourth quarter as it did against Washington State (17-7)...on Sept. 26, 1992, UNM had a 25-6 lead at Air Force only to fall 33-32 as the Falcons outscored the Lobos 27-7 in the final period
UNM and Washington State played to a scoreless first half, the first time the Lobos had been involved in that situation since Oct. 25, 1997 at Utah...the Utes eventually won that game 15-10
DonTrell Moore rushed 24 times for 167 yards and 1 TD against Washington State...it's the most yards against WSU since Ohio State's Maurice Clarett gained 230 yards in 2002
WR Hank Baskett established career-highs for receptions (9) and yards (165) against Washington State
Wes Zunker's 43-yard FG as time expired gave the Lobos a gritty 27-24 victory over Texas Tech on Sept. 11, ending UNM's 10-game, 20-year losing skid against the Red Raiders...New Mexico had not beaten TTU since a 29-24 decision in Albuquerque on Sept. 22, 1984
The dramatic game-ending drive against Texas Tech was beautifully engineered by sophomore QB Kole McKamey...with the score tied at 24, the Lobos took over on their own 20 with 1:47 remaining...McKamey opened the march with a 10-yard option keeper and capped it by completing a 14-yard pass to freshman WR Marcus Smith that advanced the ball to the Texas Tech 25...Zunker nailed the game-winner two plays and two Texas Tech timeouts later...DonTrell Moore - with an assist from the offensive line - came up big on the drive as well, rushing for 30 yards on 4 carries...the Lobos gained just 142 yards on the ground, but 40 yards came in the final 107 seconds
DonTrell Moore became the MWC's career rushing leader with 76 yards against Texas Tech...San Diego State's Larry Ned had 2,800 yards froom 1999-2001
Attendance for Texas Tech was 38,746, the third-largest gate in UNM history
The losses to Washington State and Oregon State pushed the Lobos' losing streak against Pac-10 teams to nine game