Nov. 14, 2009
Saturday: BYU 24, Lobos 19
Up Next: Colorado State at Lobos, 4 p.m., Saturday (Nov. 21)
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
It is really the way these battling Lobos deserve to end a game and, of course, we're not talking about a scoreboard that favored Brigham Young 24-19.
We're talking about an 0-9 team hanging for four quarters with a nationally ranked BYU team possessing one of the more feared offense and feared quarterbacks in the nation.
We're talking about a battered and young Lobo defense making huge stops and creating a huge turnover near the game's end to give their offense a chance to win.
We're talking about a Donovan Porterie-led offense that put itself in position to score several times, and with 4:07 to play, struck for a 20-yard TD. The timing pass from Porterie to Victor James put the Cougars on their heels and sweating it out in a chilly University Stadium.
The Lobos, down 24-19, tried an on-side kick that didn't work. BYU had the ball at the UNM 39.
You might have expected the high-powered Cougars, who scored 55 points a week earlier vs. Wyoming, to simply run out the clock and seal the win.
"We knew it was something we had to do. We did our job and we came up with a big turnover," said Lobo DE Jaymar Latchison.
The fact that UNM was even in the game at that point was a testament to the inner fortitude of this team. BYU was favored by almost four touchdowns. The Cougars were supposed to rock the Lobos. Instead, they faced a UNM offense that had scored less than a minute earlier. The game was on the line.
You have to give the BYU defense credit here. The Cougars twice sacked Porterie to throw UNM into a 3rd-and-27 hole with 2:20 to play. Porterie was forced to scramble on third down and threw incomplete. The Cougars collapsed the UNM pocket again, Porterie scrambled for 20 yards, but came up short.
BYU took over. The Cougars took their knee, ran out the clock, and took their five-point win back to Provo.
"They found a way to win the ball game," said Lobo coach Mike Locksley. "You have to give them credit."
Said Porterie: "Things didn't go our way at the end."
Said Latchison: "It was a hard loss. But we went toe-to-toe with them and they knew they were in a battle. We just couldn't close it out."
It was a defeat of "almosts," and none of those almosts were more painful than two James Aho field goal attempts that bounced off the posts. He also hit a post on a missed PAT. That's seven points.
"I can't say enough about the 100-plus guys in that locker room," said Locksley. "This team hasn't quit and they won't quit."
The loss dropped the Lobos to 0-10 on the season (0-6 Mountain West) with two games to go. UNM plays Colorado State this coming Saturday and battle TCU Nov. 28 in Fort Worth.
The Lobos ended the game with more total offense than BYU: 367 yards to 355 yards. UNM ran for 95 yards and the UNM defense was outstanding in holding BYU to 41 yards. UNM won the time-of-possession battle 35:49 to 24:11 and had more first downs, 22 to 17. The Lobos also had fewer penalties than BYU, four to six.
"We don't believe in consolation prizes. That's not what we're all about," said Locksley.
Donovan Porterie ended the game going 28-of-44 for 272 yards with no picks and two TDs. Hall went 21-of-33 with one interception and two TDs for 314 yards. BYU's Harvey Unga, the Mountain West's leading rusher, was held to 50 yards.
Lobo Daryl Jones caught eight passes for 94 yards and a score, and Kasey Carrier hauled in eight passes for 47 yards. Ty Kirk had five receptions for 48 yards. BYU had no receiver with more than four grabs.
The Lobos came out of halftime down 17-7, needing to move some numbers on the scoreboard to get back into the game.
The Lobo defense held BYU. Porterie then drove UNM 78 yards. A screen on the right side to wide receiver Jones went 26 yards to put the Lobos on the board. Aho's PAT kick hit the pole, and UNM trailed 17-13.
The Lobos got another chance to score with 1:40 to go in the third quarter when Aho's 35-yard kick hit the left post. UNM still trailed 17-13.
BYU dodged a bullet, but the Cougars needed to put some life into their offense. They were letting the Lobos hang around.
Hall quickly moved the Cougars down the field by completing four passes in a row. His fifth pass was hurried by UNM pressure, but also dropped. He then went over the middle for 22 yards to tight end Dennis Pitta.
Hall made it 6-of-7 on the drive by hitting Luke Ashworth in the right side of the UNM end zone. BYU made the boot and went up 24-13. The drive went 80 yards in seven plays -- with no runs. BYU drifted out of the quarter up 24-13.
The Lobos needed to get back in it. A huge play on UNM's next drive was a fourth-and-six at the BYU 46. Porterie scrambled out of a dying pocket to find Jones for 13 yards and a first down.
A huge miss on the drive was Porterie missing Ty Kirk in the end zone -- wide open on a broken assignment in the BYU secondary. Porterie's toss was high. That promising drive ended with Aho banging a 42-yard kick off the left post. UNM stayed in its 24-13 hole -- down 11 instead of down eight.
The Lobos' final score came after taking over on the BYU 37-yard line. Porterie kept that drive alive by converting out of a 4th-and-8 with a 13-yard pass to Carrier, wide open in the left flats.
UNM scored on 3rd-and-8 when Porterie hit James on a quick out pattern on the right side. UNM went for the two-point conversion, but Porterie's pass to Kirk was batted away. BYU was up 24-19 with 4:04 to go. The Lobos needed a stop and a TD to win.
UNM went for the on-side kick. It didn't work and BYU took over on the UNM 39. BYU went to work on the ground and on the clock. They ran it for four yards. They ran it again and fumbled on the hit by Hardaway.
Then it was BYU's defense that rose up and sealed the win for the Cougars.
The Lobos' first drive of the game was impressive. Porterie marched his team 80 yards going 7-of-9 passing. He ended the drive with a 3-yard scamper around the right side, entering the end zone standing up. The Lobos had a 7-0 lead and made it look easy.
The Cougars made it look easy on their final drive of the first quarter. Hall took his team 72 yards in seven plays. Another solid BYU drive was killed in the second quarter when a dump pass on a screen play was snatched away by Latchison. It was his first career pick.
BYU went up 10-7 on a 42-yard field goal by Mitch Payne. Lobo Kendall Briscoe ended that drive by stopping Hall on a quarterback draw.
The Cougars took their 17-7 lead into the half on a 27-yard TD strike from Hall to Andrew George. The Lobos had another shot to score prior to the break, but an Aho kick from 46 yards out was blocked.
"We didn't make all the plays we need to make," said Locksley. "But I thought we made some plays that showed our confidence."