Nov. 17, 2003
The New Mexico Lobos end their regular season Saturday as they travel to Wyoming for yet another key conference game. Kickoff is 12:07 p.m. Mountain Time from War Memorial Stadium in Laramie. KRQE-TV in Albquerque will televise the game on a delayed basis beginning at 5 p.m. Q-13 is not permitted to air the game live because of the ESPN+Plus window that prevents other live MWC telecasts between 1-4 p.m. The ESPN+Plus game this week is Utah at BYU.
The Lobos are a bowl eligible 7-4 overall and 4-2 in the MWC after a workmanlike 24-12 victory over Air Force last Saturday. UNM is all alone in second place in the league, a game behind Utah. The Utes are 5-1 and play at BYU Saturday at 1 p.m. Wyoming is 4-6 in all games, 2-3 in conference following a 47-17 setback at Utah. The game was tied 17-17 at halftime. UW started the season 1-4, but is 3-2 since. The Cowboys can become bowl eligible with wins in their final two games. They host UNLV Nov. 29.
This is the second straight year that the Lobos need to beat Wyoming in the regular-season finale to clinch a bowl berth. UNM was 6-6 heading into last year's game in Albuquerque, and secured its second bowl appearance in 41 years with a 49-20 victory on Nov. 30.
After playing in the Las Vegas Bowl last year, UNM seeks consecutive postseason appearances for only the second time in school history, since appearing in the 1945 Sun Bowl in El Paso (actually Jan. 1, 1946) and the 1946 Harbor Bowl (Jan. 1, 1947) in San Diego.
This is the latest date that New Mexico has ever played at Wyoming. Prior to this year, it was Nov. 20, 1999. UNM has played at Laramie 26 times since 1940. Saturday's forecast: Snow showers, windy and a high of 35 degrees.
In the Air Force win, sophomore TB DonTrell Moore (Roswell, N.M.) ran for 188 yards to break the school's single-season rushing record and the UNM defense held the Falcons to season-lows for points, yards rushing (158) and total offense (273).
After starting 1-3, the Lobos are 6-1 since, including the school's first four-game winning streak since a 6-0 start in 1997. New Mexico completed its first unbeaten October (3-0) since the 1959 team went 5-0.
After no wins over teams with winning records for nearly two years from the middle of the 2001 season to this year, the Lobos' last three victories have come against Utah, Colorado State and Air Force, teams that all had winning records.
A victory Saturday would move senior QB Casey Kelly (Portland, Ore.) into the top spot on the school's all-time win list. Jim Cromartie went 18-6 from 1960-62. Kelly is 18-12 as a starter. His first collegiate start came at Wyoming on Oct. 6, 2001.
New Mexico has won seven games for only the 16th time in 105 years of football. However, after going 7-7 last year, the Lobos have won at least seven games in consecutive years for the first time since 1961 (7-4) and 1962 (7-2-1). UNM is seeking an eight-win season for only the eighth time, the others being 1927, 1934, 1938, 1939, 1964, 1982 and 1997.
A win Saturday would continue New Mexico's distinction of being the only school in the nation to increase its win total every year since 1999: UNM was 3-9 in 1998, 4-7 in 1999, 5-7 in 2000, 6-5 in 2001 and 7-7 in 2002.
A win would also give head coach Rocky Long his 33rd win at New Mexico, tying him with Dennis Franchione for third place. Long is 32-39. Franchione was 33-36 from 1992-97. Roy Johnson is the all-time leader with a 41-32-6 mark from 1920-30. Bill Weeks was 40-41-1 from 1960-67.
The triumph over Colorado State on Nov. 7 guaranteed New Mexico of having its third straight non-losing season for the first time since a seven-year run from 1958-64. The Lobos are 19-16 since 2001.
New Mexico ranks 2nd in the conference and 13th nationally in rushing offense (217.1 ypg). The Lobos are also 2nd in the MWC in scoring offense (31.9 ppg) and total offense (424.3 ypg). Wyoming is last in the league and 110th in the NCAA in rushing defense (219.4 ypg). The Cowboys are last in the MWC in scoring defense (29.9 ppg), pass efficiency defense (134.84 rating) and total defense (449.3 ypg).
In MWC games, the Lobos lead the league in total offense (439.7 ypg) and total defense (305.0).
Wyoming is 1st in the MWC in passing offense, averaging 271.4 yards a game. The Lobos have given up the most passing yards in the conference at 249.3 yards a game, although UNM is 4th in the MWC in pass efficiency defense with a rating of 120.79.
DonTrell Moore has run for a school-record 1,285 yards in 2003. He has also established New Mexico season records for rushing TDs (19), overall TDs scored (20), points (120) and 100-yard rushing games (8), and he has the career mark with 32 rushing TDs. Moore's current string of four straight 100-yard rushing games ties a season record. He ranks fifth all-time at UNM with 2,419 career yards on the ground. Moore is 1st in the MWC in rushing (116.8 ypg), all-purpose yards (132.5 ypg) and scoring (10.9 ppg), and has scored more TDs (20) than any other NCAA Div. I-A player this season.
School records for single-game attendance (44,075 for New Mexico State), season attendance (245,891) and average attendance (35,127) have all been set in 2003. The previous standards for total attendance (187,608) and average attendance (31,268) were set in 2001.
THE WYOMING SERIES
This is the 56th meeting in a series that started in 1930. Wyoming leads 31-24, but UNM has won the past three. The Cowboys lead 15-11 in Laramie. The Lobos seek their fourth straight win over Wyoming for the first time since a seven-game run from 1969-75.
UNM won 49-20 last year in Albuquerque, clinching a bowl berth. DonTrell Moore rushed for 176 yards and tied a school record by scoring five TDs. Casey Kelly was 7-11 passing for 164 yards and a career-high 4 TDs. He also rushed for a career-best 84 yards. The Lobo defense was equally impressive, sacking Casey Bramlett a school-record-tying nine times and holding him to 203 yards passing, more than 77 yards under his season average. New Mexico forced three Bramlett interceptions, two by safety Brandon Ratcliff.
UNM hung on for a 30-29 victory two years ago, its first win in Laramie since 1982. The Lobos had a 30-16 lead with 4:15 left. UW's missed PAT with 21 seconds left was the difference. It was Casey Kelly's first collegiate start. The Lobos returned two interceptions for TDs.
Lobo head coach Rocky Long was Wyoming's defensive coordinator and secondary coach under Al Kincaid from 1981-85.
The Cowboys finished 2-10 in 2002, 1-6 in the MWC. Head coach Joe Glenn is in his 19th season as a collegiate head coach. He has a 162-65-1 overall record. The 1971 South Dakota State graduate is meeting the Lobos for the first time. Glenn spent 14 seaons (1989-2002) as a head coach at Div. I-AA and Div. II schools. He won two Div. II national titles at Northern Colorado, and a I-AA championship at Montana.
The Cowboys were just 1-20 in MWC games between 2000-02, but have won two this season.
Senior QB Casey Bramlet has passed for 9,276 yards in his brilliant career. He has thrown for more than 300 yards in a game 14 times. He attempted 177 consecutive pass before throwing an interception against Boise State earlier this year.
Ryan McGuffey has caught a pass in every game of his career, which stands at 39. The junior ranks third at UW with 3,543 yards and third with 220 receptions. Teammate Malcolm Floyd has a catch in 41 consecutive games.
The Cowboys have beaten BYU and Colorado State in the same year for the first time since 1988. Wyoming is a +10 in turnover margin this season. The Cowboys have lost just four fumbles and thrown eight interceptions.
AIR FORCE RECAP
DonTrell Moore ran for 188 yards to break the school's single-season rushing record and the UNM defense held the Falcons to season-lows for points, yards rushing (158) and total offense (273) in the 24-12 victory. It's the fewest points Air Force has scored in the series since a 27-10 loss in 1981.
New Mexico scored TDs - both 1-yard runs by Moore - on its first two possesions of the game and held a 14-0 lead four seconds into the second quarter. The Falcons trimmed the halftime deficit to 14-6 on a pair of Joey Ashcroft FGs. Wes Zunker (New Braunfels, Texas) connected on his 14th straight FG and QB Casey Kelly tossed a 10-yard TD pass to senior WR Adrian Boyd (Flint, Mich.) as the Lobos extended their margin to 24-6 with 9:06 left in the game. The Falcons had just 163 yards offense after three quarters. Air Force's lone TD came with 1:14 remaining on a 1-yard run by Darnell Stephens.
POSTGAME NOTES FROM AIR FORCE
The crowd of 35,132 gave UNM a school-record attendance average of 35,127 for seven home games in 2003.
Air Force came into the game averaging 30.7 points, 301.8 yards rushing and 406.7 yards of total offense through its first 10 games.
New Mexico has won four of the past five games against Air Force. The Falcons have been held to an average of 169 yards rushing over the past four games against UNM.
New Mexico's four scoring drives measured 12 plays, 59 yards and 5:33, 10-76-4:20, 11-75-6:01 and 11-67-5:43. All told, that's 44 plays and a combined time of 21 minutes, 37 seconds for the 24 points. The 6:01 drive is UNM's longest this season from a time standpoint. The Lobos held onto the ball for 35:13.
New Mexico's five starters on the offensive line (OT Justin Colburn, C Ryan Cook, OT Jason Lenzmeier, OG Claude Terrell and OG Robert Turner) and two tight ends (Bryan Penley and Mike Augustyniak) combined for a whopping 104 knockdown blocks. All five offensive linemen had at least 13 KDs and an assignment grade of at least 96%. Lenzmeier and Terrell each had 20. Colburn, playing with a torn MCL in his knee, had 15 KDs, a 97% assignment grade and a team-high 84% mark for technique. As a team, UNM had a season-high 109 knockdown blocks. Augustyniak had a career-high 12.
Senior LB Daniel Gawronski (Marshville, N.C.) recorded a career-high 14 tackles, including nine solo stops, and was named MWC Defsnive Player of the Week for the first time in his career. Nearly half (43) of his team-high 88 tackles have come in the past four games. He had 12 against Utah and UNLV. Senior S Terrell Golden (Los Angeles, Calif.) also had a season-high 10 tackles.
DonTrell Moore scored two rushing TDs to break Stoney Case's career mark. Moore has 32 scores in 24 career games. Case rushed for 31 touchdowns in 42 games from 1991-94.
UNM did not turn the ball over for the second straight game, a feat last accomplished against Air Force and Utah during the 2000 season. The Lobos did force one turnover and have now caused 19 in the past seven games. New Mexico is 6-0 this season and 24-8 under Rocky Long when it has fewer turnovers than the opposition.
UNM is 5-0 this year when scoring first, and 17-3 over the past four seasons.
New Mexico had recorded a sack in 23 straight games, but had none against the Falcons. The last time the Lobos did not have a sack was the 2002 season opener at North Carolina State.
The Lobos were 4-4 in the red zone with three TDs and one field goal. UNM is 41-45 inside the 20 on the year, scoring on 15 straight trips.
Air Force only scored one TD on four trips inside the 20. Opponents have scored TDs on just 16 of their 31 trips in the red zone this year. Brandon Ratcliff's (Dallas, Texas) fourth-quarter interception was the Lobos' fifth pick in the redzone this year, four of those coming versus MWC foes.
WORDS FROM ROCKY
(on Air Force) -- "I thought we had a good game plan going in, but you never can tell until the players execute. And, I thought the players executed it very well. We made some mistakes that gave them some plays, but we didn't make too many of them. I was disappointed they scored at the end because I thought we were going to keep them out of the endzone. That disappointed me and disappointed our defensive players because that's as good as we can play. That's a great offensive football team. They're close to tops in the nation in several categories and they score a lot of points. That was a great effort by our defense. It was a great effort by our offense too, which helped our defense. It's real hard to score points if they don't have the ball. I thought the crowd was great. It was a beautiful afternoon and when I came out of the tunnel all I saw was red in the stands. That's a great atmosphere and the fans really had an impact on our performance."
(On DonTrell Moore's performance) -- "DonTrell is pretty amazing. They couldn't tackle him, just like we couldn't tackle (CSU QB Bradlee) Van Pelt last week. It's just really nice to have one on your side. We didn't have as many big plays because Air Force does a real nice job of playing an umbrella-type defense. I thought their defense played very well, but I thought our offensive line was as good as they've been the last half of the season.
(On Wyoming) -- "I know I've said this for the past month, but it's another game with a lot on the line for both teams. We would like a shot at tying for the conference championship and playing another game next month. Wyoming can still become bowl eligible as they finish with two home games. Joe Glenn has done a great job in the short time he has been there. They are really going to be a force in the league real soon. I think Wyoming has the best throwing quarterback n the league and he has three outstanding receivers. It's difficult going from two games (CSU and Air Force) that like to run first to a team that will be throwing all afternoon. Sometimes it takes our defense a little time to get adjusted to the change in offensive philosophies. The weather could be an obstacle, too, but we can't worry about that."