Nov. 9, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- Another Saturday, another ranked opponent on the horizon for New Mexico as it hosts powerful BYU (No. 22 BCS, AP and Coaches polls). The Lobos (0-9, 0-5 MWC) and Cougars (7-2, 4-1 MWC) get underway Saturday at 12:06 p.m., from University Stadium in Albuquerque. The game will be televised live in high definition on The mtn., channel 276 on Comcast cable in Albuquerque and channel 616 on DirecTV.
After a 45-14 loss at No. 14 Utah, New Mexico is 0-9 for the first time since 1987 when it finished 0-11. UNM has lost 13 straight games for the first time since a 21-game slide in 1967-69. The Lobos' last win was Oct. 18, 2008, against San Diego State in Albuquerque.
Last Saturday in Laramie, Max Hall threw for 312 yards and four touchdowns in just over two quarters, and No. 25 BYU won its sixth straight over Wyoming, 52-0. BYU recorded its first shutout of the season and second consecutive against the Cowboys. Hall has 28 career wins, one behind the school record held by Heisman Trophy winner Ty Detmer, who played at BYU from 1988-91. Against Wyoming, he was 20 of 22 passing and had TD passes of 44, 2, 79 and 15 yards. He completed passes to seven different receivers before taking a seat midway through the third quarter. BYU is now 5-0 this season away from Provo.
SERIES HISTORY - The 59th meeting and the two schools have played every year since 1951, making it the Lobos' second-longest uninterrupted series next to New Mexico State (player every year since 1946).
Breakdown: BYU leads 43-14-1, 22-6 in Provo and 21-8-1 in Albuquerque where it has won 5 in a row over the Lobos. The last 4 games in Albuquerque have been decided by a total of 17 points.
Since LaVell Edwards took over in Provo in 1972: BYU has won 33 of 37 overall, including 17 of 19 in Albuquerque...UNM's home wins came in 1980 and 1997
Stat to Know: New Mexico has turned the ball over 9 times in its last 3 games against BYU, 4 interceptions and 5 fumbles...the Cougars have converted the miscues into 31 points, including 24 points on five Lobo errors two years ago in Albuquerque
BYU HEAD COACH BRONCO MENDENHALL - Former New Mexico assistant Bronco Mendenhall is in his fifth season as head coach of the Cougars. He has a 45-15 record and is 4-0 against the Lobos.
LAST YEAR IN PROVO - Max Hall threw for three touchdowns and No. 9 BYU survived its lowest scoring game of the season with a 21-3 win. BYU needed Hall's 8-yard touchdown pass to Austin Collie with 3:05 left in the game to seal it.
New Mexico held the Cougars scoreless in the opening quarter and scored before BYU, both firsts for the season. The Lobos also had a touchdown called back on a penalty midway through the fourth quarter when BYU was up only 14-3. Collie had nine catches for 170 yards and Hall finished 22-of-34 for 273 yards.
Rodney Ferguson ran for 86 yards and the Lobos used two quarterbacks to pass for 155 yards, but couldn't get a touchdown on the Cougars.
Bryant Williams took a 14-yard screen pass to the end zone, but tackle Byron Bell was called for a block in the back and the play was called back. Instead of getting within 14-10, the Lobos had third-and-21 and threw two incompletions to end the threat.
James Aho scored New Mexico's only points on a 27-yard field goal with 11:40 left in the second quarter. Nobody had scored first on the Cougars this year.
BYU had just 45 yards in the first quarter and 175 yards at halftime. It was the lowest-scoring first half for BYU since the Cougars led Utah 3-0 at halftime in 2007.
TWO YEARS AGO IN ALBUQUERQUE - Max Hall threw for 251 yards and two touchdowns and linebacker Bryan Kehl returned an interception 36 yards for a TD as BYU won 31-24. The Cougars survived a spirited effort by New Mexico's defense, but the Lobos were hurt by two fourth-quarter fumbles and Kehl's TD less than two minutes after kickoff.
BYU led 28-21 early in the fourth after Hall beat New Mexico's blitz and found Dennis Pitta for a 14-yard TD pass. It was set up when Ian Dulan recovered a fumble by Lobos fullback Matt Quillen at New Mexico's 32.
The Lobos answered on John Sullivan's 43-yard field goal -- kicking into a 20-mph wind -- to pull within 28-24 with 7:34 remaining.
New Mexico had the momentum after its defense held BYU to three plays. But things quickly soured when Frankie Solomon fumbled on the ensuing punt return and BYU's Chris Bolden recovered at the Lobos' 22.
Moments later, Hall threw an 11-yard TD pass to diving Andrew George. After a lengthy delay while the play was reviewed, referee Terry Leyden announced the ball had touched the ground and the call was reversed.
The Cougars instead settled for a 22-yard field goal by Mitch Payne, taking a 31-24 lead with 4:12 to play.
It was just barely enough. The Lobos were unable to gain a first down on their final possession and punted, and Hall scrambled 17 yards on third-and-10 as the Cougars ran the clock down to put the victory away.
Turnovers made the difference. BYU scored 24 points off New Mexico miscues. QB Donovan Porterie was 20-of-38 for 231 yards passing with one TD and two interceptions, and New Mexico lost all three of its fumbles.
Rodney Ferguson gained 87 yards rushing on 22 carries and caught four passes for 105 yards, including a 71-yard TD play that helped the Lobos tie it at 21 going into the fourth quarter.
NOTES TO KNOW BEFORE THE GAME
The Lobos have a 7-41 record against nationally-ranked teams...the breakdown is 5-20 at home, 4-19 in University Stadium, 2-20 on the road and 0-1 at a neutral site...UNM's last win against a nationally-ranked team was 47-35 at No. 23 Utah on Oct. 25, 2003, in Salt Lake City...the last victory in Albuquerque was 23-21 against No. 8 and undefeated Utah on Nov. 5, 1994
New Mexico is 1-15 against nationally-ranked BYU teams...the lone victory was Sept. 6, 1980, when the Lobos sacked BYU QB Jim McMahon nine times in a 25-21 upset over the 19th-ranked Cougars
BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall was the Lobos' defensive coordinator under Rocky Long from 1998-2002, and Mendenhall credits Long for much of the defensive knowledge he possesses today...Mendenhall's two oldest sons - Cutter and Breaker - were born to wife Holly in Albuquerque
On Saturday, New Mexico faces a BYU offense that ranks 1st in the MWC and among the nation's leaders in passing offense (293.6 ypg), total offense (458.6 ypg), passing efficiency (168.3 rating), 3rd down conversions (59.5% which is also 1st in the nation), red zone offense conversion (90.5%, 38-42) and net punting (40.2 ypp)...the Cougars are also averaging 36.6 points a game...individually, BYU claims the MWC's top rusher in Harvey Unga (97.9 ypg) and the league's top passer in Max Hall...Hall is 1st in the MWC in passing yards (282.6 ypg), pass efficiency (167.6 rating) and total offense (290.8 ypg)
After tying his career-high with 19 tackles last week at Utah, Lobo sophomore MLB Carmen Messina solidified his position as the nation's top tackler at 14.1 stops a game...Messina is on pace to register 169 tackles this season, which would be the 3rd-highest total in UNM history...the school record is 178 by Brian Urlacher in 1998, also in 12 games...LB Dave Thompson had 176 in 11 games in 1976...last year's Lobo leader was Clint McPeek, who had 103...Messina has posted double-digit tackles in 8 straight games, the longest streak with 10+ tackles by a Lobo since Urlacher had 11 in a row in 1998 (last 8 games) and 1999 (first 3 games)
After averaging 51.2 yards on 8 punts at Utah, senior P Adam Miller now leads the MWC and is 8th nationally with a season average of 44.8 yards...the UNM record is 45.6 by A.L. Terpening in 1954, a figure that led the NCAA...Mike Nesbitt is 2nd with a 45-yard average in 1993
Sophomore DE Johnathan Rainey still leads the MWC in tackles for loss with 12.5, or an average of 1.39 per game...he is 2nd in the MWC in sacks with 7.5 (0.83 per game)...the 7.5 sacks and 12.5 sacks matches last year's sack and TFL leader, Herbert Felder, who had 7.5 and 12.5 in 12 games...in his 1st career start against New Mexico State, Rainey set career-highs for tackles (9), tackles for loss (3.5) and sacks (2.5)...unofficially, the cat-quick Rainey has been credited with a team-high 32 QB hurries this season...Rainey had 15 tackles in 11 games last year
YOUTH BEING SERVED LIKE NEVER BEFORE - The 2009 Lobos could very well be one of the youngest New Mexico teams ever. Consider the numbers:
New Mexico traveled just 59 players to Utah last week, five less than the maximum allowed by the Mountain West...34 of the 59, or 58%, are freshmen and sophomores
Of the 48 different players listed on this week's offensive/defensive depth chart, 25 are either freshmen or sophomores...18 of the 48 are seeing gameday action for the first time in their college career...UNM's top-4 rushers are three freshmen and a sophomore, its top 2 receivers both freshmen
Only 12 seniors are seeing significant playing time on offense and defense
45% of the receiving yards have been recorded by UNM freshmen or sophomores (882 of 1,950)
99.4% of the rushing yards have been recorded by UNM freshmen or sophomores (830 of 835)
8 of the Lobos' 14 offensive TDs have been scored by freshmen or sophomores
52.3% of the Lobos' tackles have been recorded by freshmen or sophomores (406 of 776)
36.5 of the Lobos' 58 tackles for loss (63%), 16 of the 19 sacks, 4 of the 5 interceptions and 8 of the 11 forced fumbles have been recorded by freshmen and sophomores
UNM's top tackler, TFL leader and top 3 sack leaders are sophomores
UTAH RECAP - Utah freshman Jordan Wynn passed for 297 yards and two touchdowns as the Utes beat New Mexico 45-14. Wynn completed 18 of 28 passes while leading Utah to 557 yards of offense and the Utes' highest point total in nearly a year.
Utah scored all four times it got inside the 20 and broke open the game with three touchdowns in the third quarter. After gaining 200 yards in the first half and trailing only 17-7, the Lobos had just 134 yards in the second -- including just 33 yards in the third quarter.
"We have very little margin for error," head coach Mike Locksley said. "That third quarter, we didn't come out and execute like we did in the first half."
The only setbacks for Utah were five fumbles, four of which the Utes recovered, and Wynn's first career interception. But that was on a fourth-and-2 from the New Mexico 29.
UTAH POSTGAME NOTES
Last Saturday was the 1,000th game in UNM history
Sophomore LB Carmen Messina
the nation's leading tackler tied a career-high with 19 stops (also 19 vs. Air Force) for his 8th straight game with double-digit tackles...that's the longest streak of 10+ tackles by a Lobo since S Brian Urlacher had 11 in a row in 1998-99
Senior P Adam Miller
a 51.2-yard average on 8 punts, including a career-long 65-yarder
had a career-high 5 kicks land inside the 20; only had 6 in the first 8 games
Senior QB Donovan Porterie
15-32 passing for 186 yards, 1 TD and 2 interceptions
passed Steve Myer for 5th place all-time at UNM with 29 career TD passes
surpassed the 6,000-yard mark for career passing yards (6,125) and total offense (6,076)
True freshman RB Kasey Carrier
11 rushes for 54 yards, leading the team for the second straight week
also had a 28-yard kickoff return
Senior LB Clint McPeek
10 tackles, his 4th double-digit tackle game of the season and the 9th of his career, plus a fumble recovery
Redshirt freshman QB B.R. Holbrook
played UNM's final 2 offensive series and rushed 5 times for 21 yards and was 6-10 passing for 66 yards and his first career TD pass (15 yards)
led UNM on a 13-play, 81-yard scoring drive in the 4th quarter
Senior WR Victor James
2 catches for 23 yards and his first career TD reception (15 yards)
True freshman CB Emmanuel McPhearson
made his first career start and grabbed his first career interception...also had 5 tackles
Sophomore DE Jaymar Latchison
tied a career-high with 2 tackles for loss...now has 7.5 TFL on the season
Sophomore RB James Wright
had a career-long reception of 21 yards