Oct. 30, 2010
Saturday: Colorado State 38, Lobos 14
Up Next: Wyoming at Lobos, 4 p.m., Saturday - University Stadium
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
The ugly view on the Lobos' bench as the second quarter began with the Lobos down 21-7 told a huge part of the story of New Mexico's 38-14 Mountain West loss at Colorado State.
There sat starting quarterback B.R. Holbrook without a jersey, grimacing in pain, and with a huge pack of ice tied to his throwing arm. Holbrook never returned and UNM fell to 0-8.
The other part of the story was the CSU Rams finally had a game in which the CSU running attack and the deadly passing of freshman quarterback Pete Thomas showed up at the same time. The Rams smashed through the Lobo defense for 584 total yards, with 328 coming on the ground. CSU had 30 first downs to 11 for the UNM offense.
"They imposed their will on us in the run game," said Lobo Coach Mike Locksley, who saw his Lobos fall to 0-4 in league play. "We didn't get off blocks and we didn't tackle very well."
At the half, the Rams led comfortably 31-14 after racking up 397 total yards - 202 on the ground and 195 through the air. The per-carry average of five Rams in that half were stunning: 34.0 yards, 17.5, 12.5, 9.5 and 6.8. The big plays, the big runs, were killing the Lobos.
The Rams only scored a single touchdown in the second half, but used their dominant rushing attack to control the clock, field position - and the Lobos.
The Lobos now have to wait the results of an MRI image to see if Holbrook can return to the pocket. The Lobos also lost senior QB Brad Gruner earlier in the week to a hand injury that ends his season. Lobo freshman Tarean Austin has not yet recovered from an ankle injury, which means the Lobos might have one quarterback for Wyoming's visit to University Stadium on Saturday --- Godfrey.
Godfrey went 8-of-16 passing for 82 yards and a touchdown pass to Ty Kirk. He ran for 72 yards on 18 carries. Not bad for a freshman, if you don't compare his numbers to CSU's Thomas.
The Rams' strategy for the Lobos visit to Fort Collins was obvious - run right at `em, out tough `em in the trenches. It worked.
CSU's Leonard Mason had 124 yards on 15 carries for an 8.3 average per carry and three touchdowns. Chris Nwoke went at the Lobos' defense 19 times and had 98 yards and a 5.2 average.
"Obviously, we were running the ball decently," said CSU Coach Steve Fairchild. "I thought we showed up and played pretty good today. It all starts with running the football."
The Lobos didn't run so well. UNM had 96 yards on the ground and 141 passing for a 237 total. James Wright was UNM's top runner with 27 yards on 10 totes. Kirk had five receptions for 91 yards for an 18.2 average.
The Lobos got off to a good start in Fort Collins. UNM's Dante Caro took the opening kickoff 49 yards to set up the Lobo offense at the New Mexico 49-yard line. Holbrook opened the drive with a 41-yard pass to Kirk and Wright ended it with a 1-yard plunge. James Aho's foot made it 7-0.
It was downhill the rest of the quarter for the Lobos. The Rams ripped through the Lobos' defense and grabbed a 21-7 lead.
The success of the Rams' running made it easy on Thomas. He went 12-of-16 for 202 yards in the first half, working over the Lobo secondary like a surgeon working with a scalpel. The Rams continued to cut through the UNM defense in the second half, but not with as much malice.
The Rams moved into a 38-14 lead at the end of the third quarter and cruised to their third win of the season. "We have to learn how to play for four quarters," said Locksley. "This team struggles with overcoming adversity."
CSU's Thomas ended the game 17-of-25 for 256 yards and an eye-catching 68 percent completion rate.
Holbrook's injury was the result of a savage charge and a savage, but clean, hit from CSU's Guy Miller. Miller put two Lobos on their rears in that charge. First, UNM lineman Mike Cannon hit the ground. Then it was Holbrook's turn and he was hit hard as he bravely took the tackle in order to throw a pass.
Holbrook hobbled to the bench in obvious pain. CSU accepted the UNM punt and rolled in for its third touchdown and a 21-7 lead. Godfrey took over the UNM huddle the rest of the way.
Godfrey quarterbacked the Lobos on a nice drive in the second quarter. It went 80 yards in 10 plays with the clincher a 10-yard pass from Godfrey to Chris Hernandez to Kirk. The pass was intended for Hernandez, who missed the ball and it deflected into Kirk's willing arms.
"He (Godfrey) showed progress, especially in the passing game," said Locksley. "We have been able to add to Stump's package."
Based on the status of Holbrook's shoulder and Austin's ankle, the Stump package might grow a whole lot more prior to Wyoming's visit.