Saturday: New Mexico (2-3, 0-1 Mountain West) at Wyoming (3-2, 1-0)
Time/Location: 1:38 p.m. at Laramie, Wyo.
TV: ROOT Sports (Comcast 261, DirecTV 683, Dish 414); Mountain West Network (game online subject to blackout in systems carrying ROOT Sports)
Radio: Lobo Radio Network (770 KKOB-AM), ESPN Deportes (1450 KRZY-AM, Jose' 105.9 FM)
The University of New Mexico is back out on the road for the first time since Sept. 14 when it travels to Laramie, Wyo., to take on the Wyoming Cowboys in a Mountain West Saturday matinee. The teams will meet for the 66th time as the Cowboys will tie Arizona as UNM’s the third most common foe behind New Mexico State (105 meetings) and UTEP (77 meetings).
Wyoming has a 17-14 edge in Laramie, including a 31-10 win the last game there in 2011.
The Lobos exploded for 541 rushing yards and 608 total yards in a 66-17 win last weekend over New Mexico State in the Rio Grande Rivalry. The rushing total was the fourth most in school history, the total yards were the 15th best in school history and the points were the most by UNM in the rivalry since 1982. Bob Davie is the first Lobo coach to win his first two games vs. NMSU since Joe Lee Dunn in 1983-84.
UNM leads the nation in rushing with an average of 367.8 yards per game. The Lobos have rushed for 1,038 yards in their last two games (an average of 519 per game). As astounding as that total is, it only ranks as the second-best two-game rushing total in school history. The 1971 New Mexico team had a two-game stretch in which it rushed for a combined 1,061 yards vs. Utah (543) and UTEP (518). UNM’s 1,038 rushing yards the last two weeks are more than 82 FBS teams have all season. Its 541 rushing yards Saturday are more than 11 FBS teams have all season. The Lobos are also the only FBS team in the nation without an interception thrown.
Running back Kasey Carrier is the nation’s ninth-ranked rusher and the MW leader. The senior from Pearland, Texas, is averaging 137.0 rushing yards per game. Quarterback Cole Gautsche checks in at No. 26 nationally in rushing at 100.8 yards per game. Brigham Young is the only other FBS team with two 100-yard rushers. Carrier and Gautsche rank No. 1 and No. 2 in the MW.
Kick returner Carlos Wiggins ranks fifth nationally with an average of 32.7 yards per attempt after scoring on a 100-yard return vs. NMSU last week. Wiggins has five TDs the last two weeks (two rushing, two receiving and one kick return). He has averaged 240.0 all-purpose yards the last two weeks and is No. 23 in the country in all-purpose yards at 144.0 per game.
Defensive end Brett Bowers earned MW Defensive Player of the Week honors for his three-sack, one-forced-fumble performance vs. NMSU. The three sacks are one shy of the school’s single-game record. Bowers is tied for ninth nationally, averaging 1.0 sacks per game (five on the season). Cornerback SaQwan Edwards is tied for third nationally in fumble recoveries with three in five games.
UNM is nationally ranked in several categories. It is No. 5 in the nation in turnovers lost with four on the year and No. 5 in net punting at 42.8 yards per attempt. The Lobos are eighth in penalty yardage per game at 30.6, No. 14 in kickoff returns at 26.4 yards per attempt, No. 12 in red zone offense (19 scores in 20 possessions), tied for No. 12 in fourth-down defense (allowing one first down in five attempts) and tied for 18th in turnover margin at plus-1.0 per game.
Wyoming, coming off a bye week, ranks 16th nationally in total offense at 516.2 yards per game. Quarterback Brett Smith is No. 9 in the country in passing yardage at 321.4 per game. He has 14 TD passes and just four interceptions. The Cowboys rank 22nd in pass defense at 191.6 yards per game allowed.
The Starting Lineup
The Cowboys have won three of the last four in the series, including a 28-23 win on Branch Field at University Stadium last season. UNM quarterback Cole Gautsche had career highs with 155 passing yards and 149 rushing yards, but Wyoming’s Brett Smith countered with 374 passing yards.
Laramie also was the site of one of the most memorable UNM wins in its history. In 2003, the Lobos were scheduled to fly to Wyoming in the regular season-finale. UNM was supposed to land in Laramie at 6 p.m., the night before the game, but a snow storm twice diverted the Lobos’ plane back to Denver. The team finally had to bus up to Laramie and got into town at 3 a.m. Saturday, with game time set for noon. The wind chill factor was below zero as several Lobo players, including current offensive line coach Jason Lenzmeier, walked onto the field in T-shirts and shorts a couple hours before kickoff. UNM beat Wyoming 26-3 to cap an 8-4 regular-season record.
Road To Recovery
The Lobos’ 66-17 victory over New Mexico State last weekend gave coach Bob Davie his sixth victory in 18 games as Lobo coach. That total doubles UNM’s win total from 2009-11 combined. The following chart shows some of the growth of the program under Davie.
|Category||2009-11 (36 games)||2012-13 (18 games)||Improvement|
|Record||3-33 (8.3 win %)||6-12 (33.3 win %)||25%|
|Road Wins||0||3||3 wins|
|Scoring Offense*||14.6||29.2||14.6 ppg|
|Scoring Defense*||40.6||31.7||8.9 ppg|
|Scoring Margin*||-26.0||-2.5||23.5 ppg|
|Total Offense*||292.4||390.6||98.2 ypg|
|Total Defense*||459.2||450.7||8.5 ypg|
|Rushing Offense*||107.1||319.8||212.7 ypg|
|Penalties*||6.7||4.3||2.4 pen pg|
|Penalty Yards*||55.8||37.9||17.9 ypg|
|Turnovers Gained*||1.4||1.9||0.5 turnovers pg|
|Turnovers Lost*||2.2||1.0||1.2 turnovers pg|
* — Per game