Lobos, Rams Lock Up Saturday in Fort Collins
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  10/25/2004
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Oct. 25, 2004

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The University of New Mexico tries to make it three wins in a row this Saturday when it travels to Colorado State. The Lobos and Rams start at 1:05 p.m., Mountain Time from Sonny Lubick Field at Hughes Stadium. The game will be televised live by ESPN+Plus with local availability provided by KRQE-TV in Albuquerque. It's also part of the ESPN GamePlan package. UNM has not won at Fort Collins since 1995.

Both teams seem to be hitting stride after stumbling out of the gate due, in part, to challenging non-conference schedules. The Lobos evened their overall record at 4-4 and squared their Mountain West Conference ledger at 2-2 with a 19-9 triumph over San Diego State last Saturday. UNM, which held SDSU to a minus-19 yards rushing and 146 total yards, has won consecutive games for the first time this season. The Lobos are 13-6 in October games since 1999.

Colorado State is 3-4 in all games and 2-1 in the league after whipping Wyoming 30-7 at home last Friday. CSU has won two straight and three of four after an 0-3 start in games against Colorado, USC and Minnesota. The Rams have posted 10 straight winning seasons through 2003. They have not endured a losing campaign since going 5-6 in 1993, Sonny Lubick's first year as head coach.

The Lobos are 4-1 in their last five MWC road games, including 3-0 in 2003. They have also captured 6 of their past 8 and are 8-3 in their last 11 away from Albuquerque. Surprisingly, New Mexico is just 3-3 in its past six league games played at University Stadium.

Saturday will mark New Mexico head coach Rocky Long's 82nd game at his alma mater, tying him with Bill Weeks for most career games leading the Lobo program. Weeks compiled a 40-41-1 ledger from 1960-67. Long is 37-44 into his seventh season.

Junior TB DonTrell Moore has carried 64 times for 423 yards and 4 TDs in two career games against Colorado State. That's an average of 211.5 yards a game. The MWC's career rushing leader had 34 totes for a career-high 242 yards and 3 TDs in last year's 37-34 win in Albuquerque. That's the second-best rushing total in school history. Moore needs one TD to become UNM's all-time leader. He and Terance Mathis are tied at 39.

A quick scouting report indicates that the Rams could have a rough time running the football. They are averaging 104.3 yards a game on the ground, which ranks 7th in the MWC. New Mexico is allowing just 113 yards a game, 2nd-best in the league. Passing is a different story. CSU has the league's No. 2 aerial attack at 273 yards a game. The Lobos are yielding 209.6 yards a game through the air to rank 5th in the league, however, UNM's pass efficiency defense rating of 108.86 is 31st nationally.

CSU is 100th in the nation in rushing defense (209.1 ypg) and 89th in total defense (412 ypg). UNM is averaging 167 yards a game on the ground, 4th in the league. The Lobo offense got just 220 yards against San Diego State and has surpassed 400 yards only twice in 2004. UNM is averaging 283.1 yards of offense in all games, but just 253 yards in four MWC contests.

Turnovers, as usual, could be key. The Lobos are 2nd in the MWC and 17th nationally with a +1.0 turnover margin (21 takeaways to 13 giveaways). The margin in four league games is even better at +2.0 (11 to 3). The past five games, New Mexico has forced 13 turnovers while losing it just four times. Colorado State is 6th in the conference and 93rd among NCAA members with a margin of -0.86 a game. The Rams have committed 18 turnovers (6 fumbles/12 interceptions), while gaining 12 opponents' miscues.

New Mexico is tied with Southern Cal and Ohio U., for 2nd nationally with 21 turnovers gained (11 fumble recoveries and 10 interceptions). Michigan in the leader with 25. The 11 fumble recoveries rank in an eight-way tie for 2nd in the NCAA. Rutgers leads with 12.

LIGHTS, CAMERA, ACTION - Shooting for the movie, "#1," began shooting in Albuquerque at last Saturday's game against San Diego State. Los Angeles-based Horseshoe Bay Productions got crowd shots and also filmed from the tunnel as the Lobos were entering the field and from inside the press box.

The fictional film is about a New Mexico college football coach's struggles and triumphs over the course of a season. The majority of the film will be shot in Albuquerque and at UNM's athletics facilities in the next month. The film is expected to be released in the fall of 2005. The director is Stephen Gyllenhaal (JILL-en-hall), the producer is Gary Foster.

COACH LONG SAYS - (on San Diego State) -- "I thought our defense played great and our offense played really well in the first half. I thought they [the offense] really struggled in the second half. We made enough plays at the end and I thought the last drive of the game was big-time by our offense. They had a little momentum going and if they'd gotten the ball back who knows what happens. I thought we had them off balance in the first half with a few new formations and a few new plays. They made some adjustments at halftime that really helped them out in the second half. I was disappointed, though, that we had the ball inside their 50 so many times and didn't get any points."

(on Colorado State) -- "It looks like two teams with similar seasons to this point. Both teams are young and played challenging non-conference schedules to start. Now, we're playing better and trying to finish strong with a chance to extend our seasons into December. Saturday will be a highly contested game. I watched them last week (Friday against Wyoming) and they looked really good. I imagine one team is going to come away in the hunt and one team is probably not."

LONG NEARING RECORD FOR GAMES COACHED - Head coach Rocky Long is in his seventh season at his alma mater and is now third on the school's all-time win list at 37-44. In terms of total seasons, only Roy Johnson (11) and Bill Weeks (8) have been at UNM for more time than Long. However, with 81 games spent on the sidelines, Long will become the school's career leader in games coached when the Lobos visit BYU on Nov. 13. That will be Long's 83rd game at UNM, surpassing Weeks' total of 82 from 1960-67.

UNM VS. COLORADO STATE - New Mexico and Colorado State meet for the 52nd time since the first game in 1935. CSU has a 30-21 overall lead, 13-9 in Fort Collins and 4-1 in Mountain West games. Last year's 37-34 Lobo win halted a pair of five game-losing streaks: in all games and for contests played in Albuquerque.

CSU has won eight of the past 10 and is 15-4 against the Lobos since 1983. UNM's last win in Fort Collins was 22-14 in 1995. The last 10 regular-season games have been decided by 9 points or less. The Lobos have had the edge in total offense each of the past three meetings: 425-328 in 2003, 307-252 in 2002 and 411-299 in 2001. Unfortunately, they have the lead in turnovers over that span as well. While UNM had no miscues in last year's win, they had a fumble returned for a TD and a blocked punt two years ago in Fort Collins. In 2001, CSU intercepted New Mexico five times in a game that decided the MWC's final bowl participant.

LAST YEAR AT ALBUQUERQUE - Wes Zunker kicked a 33-yard FG as time expired to give the Lobos a harrowing 37-34 victory. The game-winner came just seconds after Rams' QB Bradlee Van Pelt misplayed a shotgun snap, which was recovered by UNM NT Kyle Coulter at the CSU 16. Zunker's third field goal of the game was true, giving New Mexico its first win over the Rams since 1995 and first victory in Albuquerque since 1988.

TB DonTrell Moore rushed 34 times for 242 yards and 3 TDs while Van Pelt accounted for 300 of CSU's 328 yards of total offense. He also led the Rams back from a 31-14 third-quarter deficit to tie the game at 34-all on a 1-yard run with 3:07 left.

UNM had not beaten CSU in four tries since the two schools joined the MWC in 1999. The last New Mexico win over the Rams was 22-14 on October 21, 1995, in Fort Collins.

The Lobos ended a 5-game losing streak to CSU in Albuquerque. The last win had been in 1988 and also ended on the last play of game when the Lobos scored on a TD pass from Jeremy Leach to Tony Jones.

New Mexico held the Rams to 328 yards of total offense. CSU came into the game leading the MWC at 474.4 yards a game.

UNM did not turn the ball over for the first time in 23 games. The last game without a miscue had been against Weber State on August 31, 2002. The Rams lost two fumbles.

TWO YEARS AGO AT FORT COLLINS - The mistakes eventually caught up with New Mexico in the 22-14 loss at 20th-ranked Colorado State. Outplaying the Rams statistically, a pair of early fumbles were too much for the Lobos to overcome as they fell behind 19-0. The win clinched the MWC title for CSU.

CSU got on the board first when Tyler Gaus' punt was blocked and the ball rolled out of the end zone for a safety. UNM had not had a kick blocked since the last game of the 1999 season, a span of 230 punts. The Rams added a field goal later in the first quarter for a 5-0 lead. On the Lobos' next possession, TB DonTrell Moore fumbled and CSU recovered at the UNM 26. Six plays later, Bradlee Van Pelt scored from three yards out to increase the margin to 12-0 with a minute left in the first period.

Midway through the second quarter and with UNM marching, Moore again fumbled at the end of a 12-yard run. The ball was stripped by Adam Wade, who ran nine yards before lateraling to teammate Rhett Nelson, who took it the final 54 yards as the Rams grabbed a 19-0 lead. The Lobos finally countered with a 17-play, 78-yard drive, culminating in a 1-yard TD run by backup QB Justin Millea.

On CSU's opening drive of the second half, the Lobos forced a Van Pelt fumble and took over at midfield. However, UNM was unable to capitalize on the turnover. The Rams came back with a 46-yard field goal to make it 22-7. After a short Colorado State punt, the Lobos went 38 yards in six plays to trim the deficit to 22-14. Moore, who finished with 181 rushing yards on 30 carries, scored on a 12-yard run on 4th-and-1.

In the fourth quarter, New Mexico started on its own 11 following a punt. UNM marched to the CSU 34 but was stopped on downs with 3:11 to go. The Rams picked up two first downs to run out the clock and claim the MWC title.

All told, Colorado State only had to travel 102 yards for its 13 offensive points. Just like the 2001 game when five interceptions hurt UNM in the 24-17 loss in Albuquerque, the Lobos had the edge in total offense (307-252), first downs (16-9) and time of possession (33:46-26:14).

RAM NOTES - Colorado State was 7-6 last year and finished 3rd in the MWC at 4-3. The Rams fell to Boston College in the San Francisco Bowl, 35-21. Head coach Sonny Lubick (Montana State `60) is 115-67 in his 16th year overall and 94-48 in his 12th campaign at CSU. Lubick is 7-2 against the Lobos, 3-1 in Fort Collins.

Colorado State has played in eight bowl games since Lubick took over the program for Earle Bruce in 1993, including five straight. The Rams have won or shared six conference titles under Lubick and have never finished lower than fourth in the league standings.

True freshman QB Caleb Hanie, in his first career start, threw for 167 yards in the win over Wyoming. Junior QB Justin Holland is out for the season after suffering a broken leg against San Diego State on Oct. 16

Junior RB Jimmy Green, also making the first start of his career, rushed 32 times for 124 yards and one TD against Wyoming. He is the first CSU player to run for 100 yards this season. Senior K Jeff Babcock is CSU's career leader with 47 FGs. The Rams forced four turnovers in the Wyoming victory. WR David Anderson is 2nd in the MWC in receiving, averaging 6 catches and 99.6 yards a game.

SAN DIEGO STATE REVIEW - The 19-9 victory gave the Lobos consecutive wins for the first time this year...they have won four straight over San Diego State for the first time in the history of the series...UNM has also won six straight homecoming games

The attendance of 37,287 is the fifth-largest in UNM history...it's the third crowd over 37,000 in four home games this year...UNM is averaging 37,769 on the year, on pace to smash the school record of 35,127 set last year

The Lobos held San Diego State to a minus-19 yards rushing, tying for the 7th lowest total in school history...UNM is now allowing 113.1 rushing yards per game...SDSU was held to 146 yards of total offense, lowering UNM's total defense average for the year to 322.8 yards per game...the Aztecs entered the night averaging 405.2 yards per game

The past two years, San Diego State has entered the red zone 10 times against New Mexico...the Aztecs have only scored 2 touchdowns, plus 4 interceptions, 2 missed field goals and 2 drives ending on downs...SDSU is 9-44 on 3rd down conversions against the Lobos the past 3 years...the past 5 years, the Lobo defense is allowing SDSU averages of 11 points per game and 225.2 yards of total offense

New Mexico recorded a pair of interceptions for the second straight game...the Lobos now have 10 in 8 games after recording 13 in 13 games last season... junior CB Gabriel Fulbright tied his career-high with his 4th interception this year...it was the 8th pick of Fulbright's career with 4 coming in the previous 2 games against San Diego State...he also had a TD-saving pass breakup in the end zone on fourth down in the fourth quarter...Fulbright and fellow CB Brandon Payne are tied for the MWC lead with 4 picks this season....senior safety Kevin Walton made the first interception of his 44-game career with a diving one-handed grab in the first quarter

The Lobos had a 2-1 edge in turnovers and hold a 13-4 advantage in takeaways in the last 5 games

New Mexico tied a season high with five sacks, giving them 23 on the season...the Lobos also had five in the season opener vs. Washington State...junior DE Adam Garday notched his first sack of the year and UNM junior S Charles Brown was also credited with his first sack on an intentional grounding penalty

New Mexico scored on its opening possession of the game for the first time this season, marching 65 yards on 7 plays, culminating in a 21-yard TD pass from Kole McKamey to DonTrell Moore

UNM won for the first time in 5 games this year when scoring less than 24 points

New Mexico's longest drive of the game - playwise - did not produce a score, but it preserved the victory...UNM took over at its own 20 with 5:53 left and just 13 first downs and 172 yards of offense to that point of the game...the Lobos were able to run out the clock with a 13-play, 48-yard march that generated 4 first downs...DonTrell Moore had 29 yards on the series...the only drive longer for the Lobos this year was 14 plays and 87 yards against Washington State, which, surprisingly, only resulted in a FG

Junior DE Evroy Thompson enjoyed his best game as a Lobo with a career-high 6 tackles, including 2.5 tackles for loss and a 9-yard sack, plus a forced fumble...he was named MWC Defensive Player of the Week for his effort...Thompson has 12 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks and a forced fumble since being inserted into the starting lineup 3 games ago

DonTrell Moore scored his 39th career TD, tying Terance Mathis' school record...Moore had 70 yards, giving him 3,261 career yards in 33 games...he also tied a career high with 5 receptions

Sophomore QB Kole McKamey had a TD pass for the second straight game after throwing for a score just once in his first 5 games of the year...McKamey finished 10-17 (58.8%), the Lobos' best completion percentage of the season and only the third time this year UNM has been above 50%...the Lobos were 16-31 against Washington State and 14-27 at UNLV...McKamey also notched his 4th rushing TD of the season, but first since Sept. 25 at New Mexico State

With his tipped pass in the second quarter, senior CB Brandon Payne tied Eric Jack's 1994 school record with 14 pass deflection this year

San Diego State's third quarter safety was the first against UNM since the Lobos had a punt blocked out the end zone vs. Colorado State in 2002...New Mexico later recorded a safety when the SDSU punter kicked the ball out of the end zone after the snap went over his head...it was the Lobos' first two pointer since the 2003 regular season finale at Wyoming

The Lobos led 17-0 at halftime, only the second game this year (New Mexico State) they had a lead at the break

San Diego State's safety were the first points by a Lobo opponent in the third quarter in the past 6 games, snapping a 51-0 run by UNM...New Mexico has a 67-12 scoring bulge in the third period this season

Redshirt freshman WR and San Diego native Marcus Smith had another solid game...he gained 38 yards on 5 carries, had the team's longest kickoff return of the season at 39 yards and had a tackle on special teams

Senior K Wes Zunker converted a 38-yard FG, giving him 25 for his career, which ties Pete Parks for 5th place all-time at UNM...Zunker is now 7-10 on the year and 25-33 for his career...the 75.7% career accuracy is 2nd-best at UNM

TEAM NOTES TO DATE - UNM has outscored opponents 67-12 in the 3rd quarter and it's 53-2 in the Lobos' favor the past 6 games...the only teams to get on the board against the Lobos in the 3rd period are Washington State (1 TD), Texas Tech (1 FG) and San Diego State (safety)

The Lobos overcame a 17-10 halftime deficit at UNLV to notch their first win in four tries this season when trailing after two quarters

Attendance for Utah was a season-high 40,182, the 3rd-largest crowd in University Stadium history...through four home games, UNM is averaging 37,769 (151,075 total)...the school record for average attendance is 35,127 set last year, meaning UNM would only need a crowd of 24,561 to surpass last year's standard

UNM has won 10 straight games when it scores first...since the start of the 2001 season, the Lobos are 17-1 when getting on the scoreboard first...the only loss came at Utah State in 2002

Since 2001, the Lobos are 19-4 when committing fewer turnovers in a game...they had won 10 straight before the loss to Utah...the Utes had three turnovers to UNM's one...the Lobos are 29-9 in that category under Rocky Long

The 21-17 loss to Washington State ended a 16-game UNM winning streak when it led after three quarters...the Lobos led the Cougars 14-7 going into the fourth quarter...the last loss had been to BYU in 2001, a game the Lobos led 13-10, but lost 24-20 to the 17th-ranked Cougars...must be something about playing the Cougars

It had been 12 years since New Mexico lost a game when leading by at least 10 points in the fourth quarter as it did against Washington State (17-7)...on Sept. 26, 1992, UNM had a 25-6 lead at Air Force only to fall 33-32 as the Falcons outscored the Lobos 27-7 in the final period

UNM and Washington State played to a scoreless first half, the first time the Lobos had been involved in that situation since Oct. 25, 1997, at Utah...the Utes eventually won that game 15-10

New Mexico has scored 4 touchdowns this season on defense or special teams

Wes Zunker's 43-yard FG as time expired gave the Lobos a gritty 27-24 victory over Texas Tech on Sept. 11, ending UNM's 10-game, 20-year losing skid against the Red Raiders...New Mexico had not beaten TTU since a 29-24 decision in Albuquerque on Sept. 22, 1984

OFFENSE NOTES - Under Rocky Long, the Lobos are 20-5 when rushing for 200 yards or more and 18-3 when exceeding 225 yards...the losses came against Colorado State (254 yards) in 1999, Utah State (263 yards) in 2002 and Texas Tech (235) in 2003

The past 29 games, the New Mexico offense has been nearly flawless inside the red zone, converting 82 of 93 (88.2%) opportunities with 64 - or 78% - of those scores being TDs

DonTrell Moore rushed 24 times for 167 yards and 1 TD against Washington State...it was the most yards against WSU since Ohio State's Maurice Clarett gained 230 yards in 2002

WR Hank Baskett established career-highs for receptions (9) and yards (165) against Washington State

The dramatic game-ending drive against Texas Tech was beautifully engineered by sophomore QB Kole McKamey...with the score tied at 24, the Lobos took over on their own 20 with 1:47 remaining...McKamey opened the march with a 10-yard option keeper and capped it by completing a 14-yard pass to freshman WR Marcus Smith that advanced the ball to the Texas Tech 25... two plays and two Texas Tech timeouts later, Wes Zunker nailed the 43-yard FG and the 27-24 win...DonTrell Moore - with an assist from the offensive line - came up big on the drive as well, rushing for 30 yards on 4 carries...the Lobos gained just 142 yards on the ground, but 40 yards came in the final 107 seconds

It had been 10 years since UNM won a game with a drive late in the fourth quarter...the Lobos trailed undefeated Utah 21-20 in 1994, but Stoney Case marched UNM 63 yards to set up the game-winning FG by Nathan Vail and a 23-21 victory

DonTrell Moore became the MWC's career rushing leader with 76 yards against Texas Tech...San Diego State's Larry Ned had 2,800 yards from 1999-2001

DEFENSE NOTES - The Lobos have been a stingy team in the 2nd half the past 7 games, yielding averages of 5.0 points (4 FGs and 2 TDs), 38.3 yards rushing and 128.0 total yards after halftime...that compares to 13.4 points, 88.6 rushing yards and 204.1 total yards allowed in the first half...game-by-game defensive totals the past 7 games

Through games of Oct. 16, senior CB Brandon Payne was leading the nation in passes defended (pass deflections + interceptions) with an average of 2.43 a game...that figure is now 2.25 a game (18 in 8 games)...he's only 1 deflection shy of breaking Eric Jack's school record of 14 set in 1993...Payne and teammate Gabriel Fulbright lead the MWC and are tied for 14th nationally with 4 interceptions

UNM forced 6 turnovers in the 24-20 win at UNLV, recording 2 interceptions and a fumble in the 1st half and recovering 3 fumbles in the 2nd half, while playing turnover-free itself...UNM scored 17 points following the Rebel errors...the 4 fumbles lost are the most by a Lobo opponent since San Diego State had 4 in the Lobos' 24-21 road victory in 1999...the 6 giveaways tie for the most turnovers by a UNM foe since Rocky Long became head coach in 1998...the Aztecs gave the ball away 6 times in the Lobos' 30-7 road win last year...under Rocky Long, New Mexico has a 1-10 mark when it does not cause a turnover

UNM has led the league in rushing defense 3 times in the past 4 years (2000, `01 and `03), finishing 5th nationally in 2001 and 2003

New Mexico has scored two defensive TDs this year, both on fumble returns...S Josh Bazinet sacked Oregon State QB Derek Anderson, picked up the loose ball, and rambled 70 yards to paydirt...against Utah, DE Mike Tuohy jarred the ball loose from QB Alex Smith, providing a 68-yard TD return for CB Gabriel Fulbright's ...unfortunately for the Lobos, it was their only scores in each of those games, both losses

UNM has led the MWC in sacks for four straight seasons...the Lobos had 39 dumps, 10 more than UNLV and Colorado State, in 2003...in 2000, New Mexico ranked second nationally with 50 sacks, the third-highest total in school history...UNM registered 26 dumps in 2001 and 38 in `02

Since the start of the 2001 season - a span of 46 games - opponents have been held to less than 100 yards rushing 22 times...only 5 times in the past 55 games has an opponent reached 200 yards on the ground: Utah (278) and Air Force (239) this year, Air Force (261) and New Mexico State (262) in 2002 and Utah (255) in 2001

The Lobos have forced 5 turnovers in the red zone this season, 4 interceptions and a fumble

The past 27 games, opponents have had 92 opportunities inside the UNM red zone...they have scored only 44 TDs, or 48% of the time...the Lobos have forced 13 turnovers (11 interceptions and 2 fumbles)

New Mexico State was held to 124 yards of offense, the 3rd-lowest total by a Rocky Long Lobo team...the Aggies only had 2 first downs and 13 offensive plays for 36 yards in the first half...they did not cross the 50-yard line until the last play of the third quarter...eight of NMSU's 11 drives were four plays or less

SPECIAL TEAM NOTES - Wes Zunker's 43-yard FG as time expired against Texas Tech is the second game-winner of his career...he nailed a 33-yarder last year to defeat Colorado State 37-34

At Air Force, redshirt freshmen Cody Kase and Martelius Epps both blocked punts that were returned for TDs (by true freshman Tyson Ditmore and junior Joe Selander, respectively)...for the Lobos, their last 4 blocks (all on the road) have resulted in TDs...the Lobos had similar plays last year in wins at San Diego State and Utah...additionally, the last 3 blocks have all been recorded by freshmen (Jonathan Harrell vs. Utah last year)...UNM has blocked 15 punts since the start of the 2000 season, 7 of which have been returned for scores

UNM junior P Tyler Gaus was named MWC Special Teams player of the week after the UNLV game...he punted 8 times for a 41.6-yard average and dropped four balls inside the Rebels' 13-yard line...the four kicks came to rest at the 11, 3, 13 and 6-yard lines, respectively...his final boot was 53 yards and was downed at the 6, forcing the Rebels to travel 94 yards for a potential game-winning score...Gaus has landed 20 punts inside the 20-yard line this year, including 11 inside the 10-yard line...only three of his attempts have rolled into the end zone