Oct. 10, 2009
Saturday: Wyoming 37, Lobos 13
Up Next: UNLV at Lobos, Oct. 24
By Richard Stevens -- Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The beginning was all sunshine and warmth for the New Mexico Lobos. The ending was about as cold as the frozen tundra on which the Lobos and the Wyoming Cowboys' played.
The Lobos first broke the ice on the end zone on a Donovan Porterie TD pass to Ty Kirk and were up 7-0 on the surprised Cowboys. The Lobos didn't crack the end zone again for the rest of the game and were outscored 37-6. The Lobos lost 37-13 to Wyoming to fall to 0-6 on the season and 0-2 in the Mountain West.
"Our inefficiency in the run game really put us behind," said Lobo coach Mike Locksley. "They outplayed us and we didn't play well enough to win this game.
"I still think there is an opportunity for us to get this thing going, but it has to happen quick."
The Lobos are looking at a bye week and then return to University Stadium on Saturday, Oct. 24 to play the UNLV Rebels. The Lobos then visit San Diego State and Utah, play Brigham Young and Colorado State in Albuquerque, and finish the season at TCU. It doesn't get easy for the Lobos.
Both the Cowboys and the Lobos took to the field Saturday in Laramie throwing a lot of youth into the fire -- or in this case, into the bitter bite of the wintry weather in Wyoming. One of the youngest players on the field probably had the most dramatic impact in the game.
Unfortunately, that pup was making big plays and throwing TDs for the Cowboys. Freshman Austyn Carta-Samuels went 15-of-30 through the air for 232 yards and three TDs with no interceptions. He also scrambled for 54 yards on the ground. He got a balanced running attack behind him with 66 yards from Alverster Alexander and 62 yards from Brandon Stewart.
The Cowboys fell behind 7-0 to the Lobos after a blotched fake punt handed UNM the ball at the Wyoming 23-yard line. The 'Pokes never panicked, seem to stick to their game plan, and balanced a consistent running game with key pass plays to roll to the win.
Porterie ended the game going 26-of-46 for 252 yards and one touchdown. UNM linebacker Carmen Messina had 11 tackles and a block PAT.
Porterie was picked off twice, but one was a deflection off the hands of A.J. Butler on a high pass. The other pick came on a forced pass into the end zone with 1:20 left to play. Butler led UNM with nine receptions and Chris Hernandez had four grabs.
The Lobos had 299 total yards with 47 coming on the ground and 252 coming via the air off Porterie's arm. Wyoming established a balanced attack with 179 yards rushing and 232 passing for a 411 total.
The Lobos got 33 yards on the ground from James Wright and 25 from Butler. The two backs combined for only 58 yards on 21 carries.
The Cowboys also converted 8-of-16 third-down conversions to 3-of-14 for UNM. The Lobos held the ball for 30:25 compared to 29:35 for Wyoming.
The Lobos trailed only 17-13 at the half, but Wyoming steadily pulled away in the second 30 minutes to push their season's mark to 4-2 (2-0 MWC).
Wyoming opened the second half with a solid drive, but failed to convert on 4th-and-2 at the UNM eight. Wyoming got a break when a pass from Porterie floated a tad high and Butler's reflection ended up as a Wyoming interception by Weston Johnson.
Wyoming took over at the UNM 40 and used a 4th-and-3 conversion to keep the drive alive. The knife on that march was a Carta-Samuels' floater to Zach Bolger, who was well-guarded by Nathan Enriquez. Bolger looked over his shoulder, pulled the ball in, and got a foot down before tumbling out of the end zone. Wyoming's PAT kick was low and UNM's Messina batted the ball away to keep the score 23-13 in Wyoming's favor.
The Lobos' next drive did not go well for UNM. Porterie got sacked on a blindside hit. The senior QB then got called for intentional grounding on the next play to fall into a 3rd-and-31 play. Wyoming played deep on defense and gave up the short pass to Butler out of the backfield. UNM punted the ball away.
Wyoming then iced the game. The Cowboys marched from the 33-yard line and ended the drive on a two-yard TD run by Brandon Stewart. Wyoming was up 30-13. That was good enough to push Wyoming's record to 4-2, but the Cowboys added another nail with a Carta-Samuels' TD pass to Steward.
The Cowboy was wide open on the left side of the UNM defense and sprinted down the side line for the 54-yard score. Wyoming 37, UNM 13.
The Lobos had a chance to close the final gap and put together a nice drive inside the Wyoming 10-yard line. Porterie was picked off in the Wyoming end zone with 1:20 left to play.
The Lobos got a good punting game from senior Adam Miller, who had four boots for a 48.3-yard average. Adams is averaging 49.4 yards on 15 kicks over the past three games.
The Lobos' first drive began with eight straight running plays, the first four to Wright. The drive fizzled when Butler was stopped short on 4th-and-five on a swing pass to the right side. However, it was a 13-play, 53-yard drive that pushed the field position factor in UNM's favor. UNM converted that opportunity on the Cowboys' first series.
Wyoming took over on its 27-yard line. The Lobo defense held and Wyoming was looking at a punt situation. Instead, Wyoming did a short snap designed to exploit a gap on the right side of the UNM punt rush. The 'Pokes mishandled the snap, fumbled, and UNM took over at the Wyoming 23-yard line. UNM went to the air quickly and on the first play Porterie hit Ty Kirk on a slant pattern off the left side for a quick and easy UNM score. UNM was up 7-0.
The next shift in momentum -- and mistakes -- went Wyoming's way. Wyoming put together a nice drive after the Lobo score and marched from its 23 to the UNM 10. Wyoming went for it on 4th-and-3 and Carta-Samuels overthrew a slightly-open receiver in the end zone. The Lobos took over on downs.
UNM gave the Cowboys some payback by trying a swing pass deep out of the Lobo end zone. Wright was stopped on the goal line and Wyoming got a two-point safety. The Cowboys got the ball back on the free kick, but didn't do much. The Lobos did the same on their next possession and then Wyoming began a scoring drive on its 32-yard line.
Wyoming marched 68 yards with Alverster Alexander going the final 33 yards on a run off left tackle. He split tackles by Frankie Baca and Frankie Solomon to create his final sprint into the end zone. The 'Pokes were up 9-7. UNM got the lead back on a 39-yard field goal by sophomore James Aho. UNM was up 10-9.
Wyoming went back up 17-10 when Carta-Samuels found Travis Burkhalter on the right side of the UNM defense. The Lobos' secondary obviously had some confusion on the play as Burkhalter was unattended and walked into the end zone.
Wyoming went for a two-point conversion after the TD. UNM's Baca did a nice job of breaking up the pass, but the bouncing ball was scooped up by Wyoming's David Leonard just before it hit the turf. Wyoming 17, UNM 10.
UNM put together another convincing drive in the final minutes, beginning at its 41-yard line with under three minutes to play. UNM reached the scoreboard with six seconds to play on a 33-yard field goal by Aho. Wyoming carried a 17-13 lead into the break.
The first half stats leaned toward Wyoming, but not by much. The Cowboys had 204 total yards to 178 for UNM. The Cowboys established a solid run game in the first half with 116 yards to 61 for the Lobos. UNM had 117 yards through the air to 88 for Wyoming. A key first-half stat was third-down conversions: 5-of-9 for Wyoming, 1-of-7 for UNM. A key consideration for UNM was whether the Lobos could control the line of scrimmage in the second half and recapture the momentum of the running game.