Oct. 19, 2009
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The New Mexico football team hopes the return of the alums will provide a big boost as it seeks to end a 10-game losing skid Saturday evening against UNLV. The Lobos (0-6, 0-2 MWC) play host to the Rebels (2-5, 0-3 MWC) at 6:06 p.m. in UNM's 85th Homecoming game. Saturday's game will be televised live on The mtn., channel 276 on Comcast cable in Albuquerque and channel 616 on DIrecTV.
New Mexico is 0-6 for the first time since 1987 when it finished 0-11. UNM has lost 10 straight games, the longest since 10 consecutive in 1990-91. The last time the Lobos lost 11 in a row was during a 12-game slide in 1987-88. UNM has also dropped 6 consecutive conference games, 6 straight road games and 7 straight MWC road games.
In Las Vegas last Saturday, Terrance Cain threw two touchdown passes and rushed for another score to lead No. 24 Utah over UNLV 35-15. Omar Clayton was 23 of 44 for 223 yards for UNLV. He threw one touchdown pass and two interceptions. The Rebels have lost four straight, and since a win over Hawaii on Sept. 19, have given up an average of 46.8 points per game.
Last year, the Lobos finished 4-8 overall and 2-6 in the MWC, tying UNLV for 6th place. The Rebels were 5-7 overall in 2008.
NOTES TO KNOW BEFORE THE GAME
The Lobos will be without the services of head coach Mike Locksley on Saturday. On Oct. 13, Locksley was suspended for 10 days without pay by UNM Vice President for Athletics Paul Krebs for Locksley's role in an incident with a member of his coaching staff on Sunday, Sept. 20, in the Lobo football administrative offices. The dates of the suspension are Oct. 13-16, and Oct. 19-24. Locksley is prohibited from the UNM campus and may not participate in any team-related activities during the suspension. He will return to work on Sunday, Oct. 25. Assistant head coach George Barlow is serving as UNM's interim head coach, however, the outcome of Saturday's game will be reflected on Locksley's record
Since 1996, the Lobos have a sparkling 13-1 record in games following scheduled "bye" weeks...the only loss during that span was against TCU (27-21) in Albuquerque in 2006...the week after the postponement of games on Sept. 11, 2001, is not included
New Mexico is 41-40-3 in Homecoming games, but it has lost 3 of the past 4...UNM did blank Wyoming 24-0 last year...UNLV has been the Lobos' Homecoming opponent one time, that coming in 1999 when UNM won 27-6
Lobo sophomore MLB Carmen Messina remains 1st in the nation in tackles at 13.8 a game...while Messina's play has been exemplary, his numbers are somewhat a product of his environment...through 6 games, the Lobo offense is 116th in the nation among 120 teams in time of possession at 26 minutes 36 seconds a game...Lobo opponents are averaging 78.6 plays a game, or 14.1 more than the UNM offense, which is averaging just 64.5 snaps a game
Sophomore DE Johnathan Rainey has come out of nowhere to put up some very impressive numbers: in his 1st career start last against New Mexico State, Rainey set career-highs for tackles (9), tackles for loss (3.5) and sacks (2.5)...with 2 TFLs at Wyoming, Rainey remains atop the Mountain West and is 6th in the FBS with 11.5 TFL...he is also 2nd in the league and tied for 9th in the NCAA with 6.5 sacks...the cat-quick Rainey was unofficially credited with 5 more QB hurries/hits at Wyoming, giving him a team-high 24 this season...Rainey had 15 tackles in 11 games last year
Senior P Adam Miller has lifted his punting average to 44.4 yards on the season after averaging 49.4 yards on 15 boots over the past 3 games...he kicked 5 times for a 47.4-yard average against New Mexico State, then had a 52-yard average on 6 kicks at Texas Tech and 48.3 yards on 4 punts at Wyoming...he is now 2nd in the MWC and 11th in the nation at 44.4 yards...the 44.4-yard average ranks 3rd all-time by a Lobo for a season...the record is 45.6 by A.L. Terpening in 1954, a figure that led the NCAA...Mike Nesbitt had a 45-yard average in 1993
The UNM offense has struggled on 3rd down...it has converted 22% (19-87) for the season, which is last among the 120 FBS teams...and it has been even tougher in the 2nd half where the rate is 12.5% (5-40), including 1 of 19 in the 3rd period
UNM-UNLV SERIES HISTORY - It's the 17th meeting is a series that started in 1978 with a 24-0 New Mexico victory in Albuquerque. The Lobos have a 9-7 series lead. New Mexico has won 4 of 5 and 6 of 8 since 2001.
17th meeting and UNM has a 9-7 lead
First meeting: 1978, UNM won 24-0 in Albuquerque
MWC: UNM leads 7-3
Lately: Lobos have won 4 of the past 5
Albuquerque: New Mexico leads 6-3
Last UNLV win in Albuquerque: 37-35 in 2003
LAST YEAR IN LAS VEGAS - Backup redshirt freshman quarterback Mike Clausen threw for 203 yards and two touchdowns to lead UNLV over New Mexico 27-20, keeping the Rebels' bowl eligibility hopes alive and ending the Lobos' bowl chances.
Also for UNLV (4-6, 1-5), Rodelin Anthony (55 yards receiving) scored two touchdowns. His first was a 10-yard jump-ball from Clausen in the left corner of the end zone with three seconds left in the half, cutting New Mexico's lead to 14-13.
Anthony also picked up and ran in from 11 yards a blocked punt by teammate Deante Purvis, giving the Rebels a 27-17 lead with 13:32 left in the game.
Frank Summers (35 yards rushing) caught the go-ahead touchdown pass from Clausen from 4 yards around the right side on a 4th-and-2 with 5:52 left in the third quarter, 20-17.
Clausen, a lefty, was 17-of-34 with no interceptions. He replaced Omar Clayton, who sat out to a torn MCL in his right leg during a loss to No. 11 TCU 44-14 a week earlier.
New Mexico (4-7, 2-5), led by Rodney Ferguson with 123 yards rushing and a touchdown on 25 carries, had two offensive possessions down 27-20 in the final 4:22.
Lobos quarterback Brad Gruner was 11-of-25 for 128 yards and one interception, which came on the final drive with 4 seconds left in the game at the UNLV 36-yard line by Ryan Tillman.
UNLV's Ryan Wolfe caught for 100 yards on seven receptions. The Lobos had won the four previous games in the series and the last three in Las Vegas.
The Lobos went up 14-3 on a Bryant Williams' 40-yard touchdown run down the right side and later Ferguson's 5-yard touchdown run through the left side with 11:47 until halftime.
Kyle Watson's 29-yard field goal midway through the second quarter was set up by a Quinton Pointer 77-yard interception. Pointer, who grabbed the pass of wide receiver Michael Scarlett (51 yards receiving) on a reverse, had an open field for a touchdown but stumbled to the ground 16 yards short.
TWO YEARS AGO IN ALBUQUERQUE - Marcus Smith caught a 63-yard touchdown pass from Donovan Porterie and Rodney Ferguson had 117 yards rushing as New Mexico ended the regular season with a 27-6 win. Smith also returned the second-half kickoff 82 yards, setting up a 1-yard TD plunge by Ferguson for a 24-6 lead.
The Lobos reached the 8-win mark for just the fourth time since 1965 and the second time in 10 seasons under coach Rocky Long. It's the ninth 8-win season in the program's 109-year history.
Smith finished with eight receptions for 130 yards and Porterie was 18-of-32 for 199 yards passing. Kicker John Sullivan made two 45-yard field goals, boosting his national-best total to 26 on the season.
The Rebels managed just 233 total yards and finished the season with a 15-game losing streak in Mountain West road contests. New Mexico has won six of the past seven in the series.
The Lobos survived two fumbles by Ferguson and two interceptions by Porterie on a chilly night.
Porterie's second interception came just before the break, on third-and-2 at UNLV's 4-yard line. Mil'Von James stepped in front of a pass intended for Matt Quillen in the right corner of the end zone.
It spoiled a great setup by New Mexico's Glover Quin, who leaped to intercept a throw by UNLV's Travis Dixon at midfield and returned it to the 23. Quin added a late interception that set up Sullivan's second field goal.
YOUTH BEING SERVED LIKE NEVER BEFORE - The 2009 Lobos could very well be one of the youngest New Mexico teams ever. Consider the numbers:
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-3 rushers are two freshmen and a sophomore, its top 2 receivers both freshmen
Entering Saturday's game vs. UNLV, only six active Lobos have more than 8 career starts at UNM
20 players made their Lobo debut in the season opener at Texas A&M, and 16 of them are either true freshmen (3) or redshirt freshmen (13)...the other 4 are 2 sophomores and 2 juniors
48% of the receiving yards have been recorded by UNM freshmen or sophomores (573 of 1,202)
99% of the rushing yards have been recorded by UNM freshmen or sophomores (571 of 576)
6 of the Lobos' 8 offensive TDs have been scored by freshmen or sophomores
53% of the Lobos' tackles have been recorded by freshmen or sophomores (287 of 546)
28.5 of the Lobos' 43 tackles for loss (66%), 13 of the 15 sacks, 3 of the 4 interceptions and 6 of the 8 forced fumbles have been recorded by freshmen and sophomores
UNM's top tackler, TFL leader and top 2 sack leaders are sophomores
WYOMING RECAP - Austyn Carta-Samuels passed for three touchdowns as Wyoming beat New Mexico 37-13 in an MWC game played on an unseasonably cold fall afternoon after a snowstorm. Carta-Samuels had TD passes of 31, 28 and 54 yards for Wyoming, which has won three straight for the first time since 2006. New Mexico fell to 0-6, 0-2.
The snowstorm dumped close to a foot of snow in southeast Wyoming Friday night and early Saturday, closing major highways in the area. Laramie received 7 inches and the game-time temperature was 15 degrees.
The New Mexico team, which stayed Friday night 50 miles away in Cheyenne, had to be escorted to Laramie over a closed Interstate 80 by two snowplows and a Wyoming Highway Patrol car Saturday morning to make it to the game.
WYOMING POSTGAME NOTES
UNM lost at Wyoming for the first time since 1999, putting an end to a 4-game winning streak to the Cowboys in Laramie
UNM had a season-high 7 pass breakups...the previous high was 3 against New Mexico State and Texas Tech
New Mexico did not score in the second half for the first time since last year's game at Air Force, a span of 10 games
The Lobos allowed a safety for the first time in 4 years when RB James Wright was tackled in the end zone in the 1st quarter...the last safety had been by Colorado State's Brady Smith in 2005 when he tackled QB Kole McKamey in the end zone
New Mexico took a 7-0 lead in the 1st quarter, scoring first for the first time this season
Sophomore DE Johnathan Rainey
the MWC's leader in tackles for loss (11.5) had 5 tackles, including 2 TFL for 10 yards in losses
Sophomore LB Carmen Messina
11 tackles for his 5th straight game with double-digit tackles
also had a PBU and blocked an extra point
Senior P Adam Miller
punted 4 times for a 48.3-yard average
averaged 49.4 yards on 15 kicks the past 3 games, increasing his season average to 44.4 yards
Redshirt freshman TB A.J. Butler
tied a career-high for the second straight game with 9 receptions for a career-high 59 yards
18 catches the past 2 games, giving him a team-high 29 in 2009
Sophomore K James Aho
2 of 2 on field goals, connecting from 39 and 31 yards
now tied with Joe Bibbo for 9th all-time at UNM with 24 FGs
Senior QB Donovan Porterie
26 of 40 passing for 252 yards, 2 interceptions and 1 TD
moved into 6th place at UNM with 25 career TD passes
Redshirt freshman WR Ty Kirk
caught 3 passes for 40 yards, including his first career TD reception from 23 yards
also returned 4 kickoffs for 61 yards, including one for 35 yards, which is the Lobos' longest of the season
Junior WR Chris Hernandez
tied a career-high with 4 receptions for 55 yards
Junior OG Mike Cannon
made his first career start as a Lobo