Albertsons Cook Off Challenge: The Albertsons Cook Off Challenge for Saturday vs. Sam Houston State is Tailgaters' Choice: hamburgers, brats or sausage. The contest is at 2 p.m. on the northeast corner of The Pit. Last week's winner (ribs) was Gary Lange. The weekly prize is a $50 gift certificate to Albertsons.
The Lobos (0-3, 0-1 MW) play their second of a three-game homestand against non-conference opponents during Homecoming weekend. Sam Houston State Bearkats (2-0) of the Football Championship Subdivision's Southland Conference comes to University Stadium at 4:06 p.m. on Sept. 24. Saturday's game will be the first meeting between the schools.
The game will not be televised.
The Lobos had a second straight rough outing against a BCS foe. After falling 52-3 at No. 14/12 Arkansas of the Southeastern Conference, New Mexico struggled against regional rival and Big 12 foe Texas Tech in a 59-13 loss last weekend at University Stadium. Texas Tech's Seth Doege set an NCAA record for completion percentage for quarterbacks with at least 40 completions. He went 40-of-44 for 90.9 percent and finished with 401 passing yards and five touchdowns.The Lobos amassed 203 yards of offense against the Red Raiders in the first half, but the Texas Tech defense and two rain delays cooled down UNM after halftime.
The Lobos have been paced offensively by quarterback Tarean Austin, who has completed 51.8 percent of his passes this season for 528 yards. He is 43-of-83 through the air with one touchdown and one intercerception. Austin also leads the team in rushing with 126 yards. Senior running back James Wright is next with 108 rushing yards, and true freshman Crusoe Gongbay has 87 yards on 21 carries for a 4.1-yard average -- best among the trio.
Deon Long had 258 all-purpose yards against Texas Tech (139 on three receptions, 126 on kickoff returns and minus-7 on rushing). He leads the team with 15 catches for 265 yards. Sam Houston State, No. 20 in the FCS, is 2-0 after a 31-10 win over Central Arkansas. RB Tim Flanders averages 109.5 rushing yards per game and the Bearkats rank No. 2 nationally in the FCS in rushing defense at 42.0 yards allowed per game, No. 3 in scoring defense (8.0 points allowed) and No. 7 in total defense (243.5).
UNM gets a chance Saturday to avoid unlucky No. 13. The Lobos have lost 12 straight games to teams from the state of Texas, including last weekend's 59-13 defeat at the hands of Texas Tech.
UNM's last win over a Texas school was on Sept. 23, 2006, a 26-13 victory over UTEP at University Stadium.
FCS: FRIEND OR FOE?
New Mexico has had a pair of memorable games against FCS foes this millennium. In 2003, UNM defeated Texas State 72-8. Texas State then was a member of the same Southland Conference that now houses Sam Houston State. In that game, senior kicker Katie Hnida became the first female to score a point in a college football game. She converted the Lobos' lasttwo extra points.
UNM had a more somber memory in 2006 against Portland State. With the Lobos adjusting to first-year offensive coordinator Bob Toledo's scheme, the Vikings stunned New Mexico 17-6 in the season opener. That started a streak of five straight
season openers in which the Lobos failed to score a touchdown. UNM ended that streak in 2011 against Colorado State.
Sam Houston State represents the first Football Championship Sudivision foe the Lobos have played since 2007, when UNMblanked Sacramento State 58-0 on Sept. 22 at University Stadium.
WHAT IS A BEARKAT?
From GoLobos.com senior writer Richard Stevens: The Lobos could have been playing "The Normals" on Saturday. Which just doesn't feel, well, normal. What kind of nickname is that for a college football team?
Long ago, the Bearkats were called "The Normals." That was when the college was called Sam Houston Normal Institute. In 1923, the Texas State legislature changed the college's name to Sam Houston State Teachers College. That ended the reign of "The Normals" and brought about the "Bearkats," which also was spelled "Bearcats" and "Bear Cats." For some reason, "Bearkats" is the spelling that stuck. We'll assume it had nothing to do with the way spelling was taught at the teachers' college.
So what is a Bearkat -- or a Bearcat? The Sam Houston website says a Bearcat is a kinkajou -- a small, golden, carnivorous mammal that resides in the jungles of South America. There is speculation the nickname was applied to the Sam Houston State sports teams because of a Texas saying: "Tough as a Bearkat."
And probably because: Who wants to be called a "Normal?"