October 13, 2003
After a much-welcomed week off, the New Mexico Lobos resume Mountain West Conference competition and the second half of their season by visiting San Diego State Saturday. Kickoff is 7:07 p.m. Mountain Time (6:07 p.m. Pacific) from Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. SportsWest will televise the game live with KRQE-TV in Albuquerque providing local coverage. It's Homecoming at SDSU.
The Lobos are 3-3 overall after a 34-7 triumph over Utah State on October 4. UNM has won two in a row. New Mexico is 0-1 in Mountain West play, losing 10-7 to BYU on September 13. New Mexico is 9-4 in October games since 1999. UNM was 2-2 in conference road games last season, winning at UNLV and BYU with losses at Air Force (in overtime) and Colorado State.
The combined record of the three teams UNM has lost to is 13-6. Washington State (5-1) is ranked No. 6 in this week's coaches' poll while Texas Tech (5-1) is 23rd. BYU is 3-4.
Saturday's game features head coaches who are guiding their respective alma maters. Rocky Long graduated from UNM in 1974 while Tom Kraft earned his diploma from SDSU in 1977.
San Diego State is 3-4 overall and 0-2 in MWC action following a 27-6 setback at Utah. The Aztecs led 6-0 at halftime. SDSU has lost three in a row since starting the season 3-1. The Aztecs were picked to finish seventh in the MWC preseason poll.
New Mexico expects to be close to full strength Saturday with the return of senior OT Jason Lenzmeier (Frisco, Texas). The 6-5, 312-pound honors candidate and professional prospect has missed the last three-and-a-half games with a knee injury. Lenzmeier was hurt right before halftime against BYU on September 13. The BYU game was Lenzmeier's 40th career game and 35th consecutive starting assignment.
Picked to finish second in the MWC in the preseason poll, UNM returnd 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.
LOBOS WORTH WATCHING: Several Lobos are currently on "Watch Lists" for national awards:
Rimington Trophy - Outstanding Center (www.rimingtontrophy.com) - C Ryan Cook
Doak Walker Award - Outstanding Running Back (www.doakwalkeraward.com) - TB DonTrell Moore
Butkus Award - Best Linebacker (www.butkusaward.org) - LB Billy Strother
Outland Trophy - Outstanding Interior Lineman (www.fwaa.com) - OG Claude Terrell
THE SAN DIEGO STATE SERIES - New Mexico and San Diego State meet for the 30th time. SDSU leads 20-9, although the Lobos have won two straight and three of four since the schools joined the Mountain West Conference in 1999. The only time UNM has won three straight over SDSU was the first three games of the series from 1953-56.
The Aztecs have a 10-5 advantage in San Diego, however, UNM has won three in a row at Qualcomm Stadium after losing seven straight between 1984-95. The Lobos' 15-8 victory last year in Albuquerque snapped a six-year winning streak by the visiting team. SDSU had captured eight consecutive at University Stadium, dating to 1984. Lobo LB Billy Strother knocked down a pass on 4th-and-2 from the Aztec 6 to secure the win.
After some real offensive slugfests in the '90s, neither team has surpassed 24 points in the past four games. The average margin of victory in the last five games is a meager 3.8 points. SDSU has just 588 yards of offense in the last three contests against UNM, an average of 196 yards a game. However, the Lobos have not been much better against the Aztec defense, averaging only 252.8 yards in the past four contests.
New Mexico won 20-15 two years ago in San Diego, although the Lobos set season-lows with 34 yards rushing and 265 total yards. Aztecs' secondary coach Fred Bleil was UNM's defensive coordinator under Dennis Franchione from 1992-95
AZTEC NOTES: San Diego State finished 4-9 in 2002, but placed third in the MWC with a 4-3 mark. The Aztecs return 45 lettermen, including 15 starters, seven on offense and eight on defense.
Head coach Tom Kraft is in his second season in San Diego where he has a (4-9) record. The 1977 San Diego State graduate is 0-1 against the Lobos.
San Diego State is averaging 321.9 yards of total offense, 119.3 on the ground and 202.6 through the air. The Aztecs are averaging 22.1 points a game. Defensively, SDSU is allowing just 19.0 points and a league-best 296.3 yards a game, 130.3 yards on the ground and 166.0 yards passing, also the MWC's lowest.
LOBOS LOVE THE BYE WEEK - Since 1998, UNM is 6-0 following scheduled open weeks under Rocky Long. Two of those wins have come against San Diego State in 1999 and last season. Looking back further shows the Lobos have won nine straight - since 1996 - following a scheduled break. The last loss after a bye was 48-42 to none other than San Diego State in Albuquerque on October 19, 1996.
|Bye Date||Next Game Result|
|November 16, 1996||W vs. UTEP, 44-17|
|September 27, 1997||W vs. SMU, 22-15|
|November 8, 1997||W vs. BYU, 38-28|
|October 2, 1999||W at San Diego State, 24-21|
|October 23, 1999||W vs. UNLV, 27-6|
|October 14, 2000||W at Air Force, 29-23|
|October 20, 2001||W vs. Air Force, 52-33|
|October 5, 2002||W at UNLV, 25-16|
|November 2, 2002||W vs. San Diego State, 15-8|
UTAH STATE RECAP - Sophomore DonTrell Moore (Roswell, N.M.) rushed for a season-high 132 yards, senior QB Casey Kelly (Portland, Oregon) passed for 230 yards and the Lobo defense turned in its best performance of the season as the UNM scorched Utah State 34-7.
Utah State was held to a season-low 221 yards, including 55 on the ground.
The Lobos had a chance to grab a substantial lead from the outset, but could not capitalize. UNM got to the Utah State 34 on its first drive, but was forced to punt. The Aggies' first offensive play then resulted in a fumble. It was caused by senior DE Daniel Kegler (Frostproof, Florida) and recovered by senior DE Zach Rupp (Pleasant Grove, Utah) at the USU 28. The Lobos lost seven yards on their next three plays and were forced to punt again.
UNM finally took advantage of a Utah State error later in the first quarter. A Lobo punt was fumbled by USU and recovered by Jerrell Malone (Rowlett, Texas) at the 19. Moore scored the first of his two TDs from six yards out. New Mexico got a 23-yard FG from Wes Zunker (New Braunfels, Texas) on its next drive to take a 10-0 lead.
It didn't take Utah State long to strike back, though. On its first play of the drive, QB Travis Cox lofted a 79-yard TD pass to Barry Tolli to trim UNM's lead to 10-7.
It was all Lobos after that. Kelly found senior WR Dwight Counter (Lancaster, Texas) on a 39-yard strike and Moore capped a 10-play drive with a 2-yard run late in the quarter as UNM built a 24-7 halftime lead, scoring on four straight possessions.
New Mexico got a 41-yard FG from Zunker and a 6-yard TD run from junior TB D.D. Cox (Westminster, Colorado) in the second half to complete the scoring. Cox's score came at the end of an 87-yard drive, UNM's longest of the season.
NOTES FROM UTAH STATE - UNM's 27-point win is the biggest margin of victory in the series since 1963, when Utah State won 47-14. The last three games had been decided by a total of seven points, with the past two going into overtime.
A crowd of 31,435 marked a first for Lobo football as it was the fourth straight home crowd of 30,000 or more. Average attendance after four games is now 36,111. The season record is 31,268 set in 2001.
The 221 yards are the fewest allowed by the Lobos since holding UCLA to 167 in last year's Las Vegas Bowl.
WR Dwight Counter turned in his best game of the season with four catches for 106 yards, including a 39-yard TD pass. Counter recorded the fourth 100-yard game of his career, but first since last year's homecoming game versus Utah when he had 100 yards. It's Counter's most receiving yards in 21 games, since tallying a career-high 121 yards on three catches versus Colorado State in 2001. Counter is 7th all-time at UNM with 106 catches and 8th with 1,666 yards. He is averaging an amazing 39.6 yards (11-436) per TD reception in his career. The 11 TDs rank tied for 8th all-time at New Mexico.
New Mexico had scored on 12 straight trips into the red zone before Kole McKamey's interception in the fourth quarter. UNM finished 5-of-6 with three touchdowns and two field goals. The Lobos are 22-24 in the red zone this season, tops in the MWC.
UNM forced three turnovers (3 fumbles) against Utah State and has caused eight (6 fumbles, 2 interceptions) in its past two games. The Lobos had none in the two previous games versus BYU and Washington State, both losses. New Mexico is now a +3 in turnover margin for the season.
UNM produced 402 yards of total offense, its highest total in four games, since 584 yards against Texas Tech. In three games versus BYU, Washington State and New Mexico State, the Lobos averaged just 14.7 points and 265.7 yards.
Gaining a season-high 132 yards, DonTrell Moore recorded his fourth 100-yard rushing game of the season and eighth of his career. The season record for 100-yard games is six held by Mike Williams (1976), Winslow Oliver (1992) and Lennox Gordon (1996). Moore has surpassed 100 yards in his last five home games. The Roswell native is averaging 124 yards in his past seven home games and also has 16 TDs in that span. He tied a career-high for the second week in a row with 30 carries against Utah State. Moore is now 17th on the UNM all-time rushing list with 1,651 yards and he passed Rocky Long for fifth all-time with 22 career rushing TDs.
Casey Kelly improved to 14-11 as a starter and is now is tied with Jim Cromartie (1960-62) and David Osborn (1979-82) for fourth on the all-time wins list. Rocky Long is No. 1 with 16 victories. Kelly completed 13 of 22 passes for 230 yards with one TD and no interceptions against Utah State. In two games before USU, he was 23 of 47 for 280 yards with two interceptions and just one TD.
DE Daniel Kegler recorded a sack for the fourth straight game and is now among the MWC leaders with four. He is UNM's active leader with 12.5 career sacks. The past two games, Kegler has seven tackles, including two sacks and a tackle for loss. He has also forced two fumbles, recovering one of those.
Wes Zunker kicked two FGs, making him 3 of 4 on the season. UNM had not made more than one FG in a game since Matt Goldstein converted three last year against Baylor. The Lobos hit just 5 of 10 FGs in 2002.
Redshirt freshman OG Robert Turner (Austin, Texas) equaled his career-high with 15 knockdown blocks.
OFFENSE NOTES - At the halfway point of the season, the Lobos are putting up some offensive numbers not seen in a while. UNM is averaging 29.7 points a game, third-best in the MWC and the most since the 1997 team averaged 32.5. The total offense average of 390.2 yards ranks 3rd in the league and would be the most productive by a Rocky Long team as well, besting the 2001 average of 376.8 ypg. UNM averaged 403.9 yards in 1997. Passing offense is at 218.2 ypg. Long's first team in 1998 averaged 228.0 a game.
New Mexico is outscoring its opponents 93-35 in the third (44-18) and fourth (49-17) quarters.
Casey Kelly ranks 3rd at UNM in career completions (369), 4th with 4,628 yards passing, tied for 4th in TD passes (28) and 6th in career completion percentage (53.1%).
Kelly threw for a career-high 349 yards at Texas Tech, the most by a Lobo since Graham Leigh tossed for 359 yards against San Diego State in 1998. Kelly also set career-bests for completions (22) and attempts (42).
DonTrell Moore became the sixth Lobo to score at least four rushing TDs in a single game against Texas State. Reginal Johnson tallied five against Tulsa in 1996. Four other Lobos scored four via the run, including Rocky Long against Utah in 1971.
Hank Baskett has nine career receptions, four of those going for TDs.
Subbing for the injured Moore, D.D. Cox had a memorable evening at Texas Tech. Although his first carry did not come until midway through the second quarter when Moore was sidelined, Cox finished with the 11th-best rushing day in school history: 187 yards on 27 carries and three TDs. He was a real workhorse after halftime, toting it 19 times for 140 yards and getting all of his scores. Cox was also a receiver, hauling in four receptions for 69 yards. His 256 all-purpose yards is the 9th-best single-game total by a Lobo.
Senior WR Adrian Boyd (Flint, Michigan) recorded career-highs with 8 receptions for 100 yards at Washington State. He's the first UNM receiver to gain at least 100 yards since Dwight Counter had 100 last year against Utah.
UNM totaled 584 yards of offense against Texas Tech, the most since registering 620 yards versus Air Force in 2001. The Lobos had 556 yards against Texas State-San Marcos, giving them back-to-back 500-yard performances for the first time since the 1994 season. The 1,140 yards the first two contests are the most in consecutive games since 1,149 yards against New Mexico State (584) and Fresno State (565) in '94.
New Mexico gained just 228 yards of total offense in the 24-17 win against New Mexico State. The last time a Lobo team had fewer yards and won was three years ago, also against New Mexico State. UNM managed 168 yards in a 16-13 victory over the Aggies in Las Cruces in 2000.
Dwight Counter's 40-yard run in the first quarter against Texas State was a career long. He finished with a career-high 192 all-purpose yards (40 rushing, 65 on punt returns, 87 receiving).
Under Rocky Long, the Lobos are 13-5 when rushing for 200 yards or more and 12-3 when exceeding 225 yards. The losses came against Colorado State (254 yards) in 1999, Utah State (263 yards) in 2002 and Texas Tech (235) this season.
DEFENSE DATA - The Lobos are allowing 17.8 points a game, 2nd in the MWC and 25th nationally. The last time a New Mexico team allowed fewer points for an entire season was 17.1 in 1978. The best under Rocky Long is 20.8 in 2000. In the past three games, New Mexico has allowed just three points in the second half. The total is only 14 points in the past four games: 11 by Washington State and 3 by New Mexico State.
UNM has been even stingier in the fourth quarter, giving up just a New Mexico State FG over the past four games. The last TD scored on UNM in the fourth quarter was by Texas Tech on September 6.
New Mexico is allowing a league-best 80.2 rushing yards a game, good for 9th nationally. Since stats became official in 1946, only once has a Lobo team held opponents under 100 yards rushing for an entire season. The 2001 defensive unit allowed 87.4 yards a game to finish No. 5 in the NCAA final stats.
The Lobos are 1-10 under Rocky Long when they don't force a turnover, the lone win coming against Northern Arizona in 1999. BYU has been error-free against Long's Lobos three times (1999, 2001, 2003).
The Lobos have allowed just two rushing TDs through the first six games, the fewest in the MWC.
New Mexico has at least one sack in 19 straight games. The most recent sack-free game was last year's season opener at North Carolina State.
UNM had a season-high five sacks of Washington State QB Matt Kegel, who had been dumped just three times in three prior games against Idaho, Notre Dame and Colorado.
UNM is 4th in the MWC with 17 sacks. BYU has 19 followed by San Diego State and Colorado State with 18. The Lobos led the league in sacks every year from 2000-02.
The five turnovers caused against New Mexico State are the most since the Lobos got five against UTEP in the 2001 season opener, a 26-6 win.
NMSU WR Ronshay Jenkins' 200 yards receiving are the most by an opponent since San Diego State's Will Blackwell tallied 210 yards in 1995. Jenkins' 72-yard TD reception is also the longest against UNM this season.
The Lobos have allowed scoring passes of 70, 72 and 79 yards this season.
Through six games this year against predominantly passing teams, UNM is allowing 17.8 points, 80.2 yards rushing, 280.2 yards passing and 360.3 yards total.
Last year through six games, New Mexico was yielding 28.2 points, 147.5 yards rushing, 217.5 yards passing and 365.0 total yards.
Only seven backs have eclipsed 100 yards rushing against UNM since the start of the 2000 season, a span of 43 games: Oregon State's Ken Simonton (184) and UNLV's Jeremi Rudolph (106) in 2000, Utah's Dameon Hunter (177) in 2001, Air Force's Leotis Palmer (125), New Mexico State's Paul Dombrowski (136) and Colorado State's Bradlee Van Pelt (106) in 2002 and BYU's Reynaldo Brathwaite (169) this season.
Only three times in the past 40 games has an opponent reached 200 yards on the ground. It's been 61 games since UNM allowed 300 rushing yards. San Diego State churned for 349 yards in 1998.
WORDS FROM ROCKY - (on the off week) -- "It's great to catch your breath and regroup for the last half of the season. Like most teams, the extra few days really benefit guys that need some time to recuperate from bumps and bruises. We should be in good shape from a health standpoint this Saturday. The expected return of Jason Lenzmeier will be a boost in a number of areas. The extra week also allows us to work on some fundamentals that need attention after the first six weeks."
(on San Diego State) -- "The last five games have gone down to the wire and I expect this one to be the same. I think all MWC games will be like this the rest of the season. The balance in the league is amazing. The return of Adam Hall certainly presents some challenges because he's one of the best quarterbacks we'll see this season. They have some receivers who are coming into their own as well. Defensively, they have been one of the nation's leaders all season. They've got quality players at every position starting with Kirk Morrison at linebacker."