San Diego State 35, New Mexico 30
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
SAN DIEGO, Calif. – The New Mexico Lobos fell into a 14-0 first-quarter hole, scratched their way back to 21-17 at the end of the third quarter, but couldn’t keep the San Diego State Aztecs out of the end zone in the fourth quarter. UNM fell 35-30 Saturday night in Qualcomm Stadium.
The Lobos’ last chance was to recover an on-side kick, but the Aztecs pounced on the bouncing ball with 45 seconds to go and ran out the clock. UNM also was off sides on the kick.
The Aztecs scored on the first play of the game – a 75-yard pass play – and went up 14-0 in the first quarter. The rest of the way in the game was played pretty much even on the scoreboard and statistically.
The Aztecs finished with 483 total yards and UNM finished with 423. The Aztecs attacked with balance and had 249 on the ground and 234 in the air. The Lobos also showed balance Saturday in San Diego with 253 on the ground and 170 passing.
UNM had 21 first downs to 19 for the Aztecs. The Lobos threw a meaningless interception in the closing seconds of the first half but turnovers were not a factor in this game. SDSU did not turn the ball over and UNM had only the one turnover.
“There was a period of time late in the first quarter and early in the second where we actually
played some defense and made some plays," said Lobo Coach Bob Davie. "But yet when it's crunch time and the other team's offense picks it up a notch, we can't stop them
"And that's what it came down to tonight."
The game stats credited Lobo Dallas Bollema with 16 tackles -- nine solo and seven assisted. UNM's Dakota Cox had 12 total -- six solo and six assisted.
The Aztecs’ main weapon Saturday was Adam Muema, who rumbled for a season-high 233 yards for an 8.6 average per carry. He scored three touchdowns. Quinn Kaehler had a solid passing game going 16-of-21 with no interceptions. He had 201 passing yards and two aerial scores.
Kasey Carrier had 72 yards, Crusoe Gongbay had 66, Cole Gautsche had 54 and Teriyon Gipson had 45 in UNM’s four-man attack. Gautsche went 6-16 for 101 yards. It was a good effort for the Lobos on the ground against an SDSU defense that was No. 1 in the Mountain West and No. 21 in the nation yielding 124.9 yards heading into the game with UNM. UNM had 253 yards rushing.
The Aztecs got a big score at the 8:39 mark of the fourth quarter. It looked even bigger a few minutes later when UNM answered.
The Aztecs appeared to have scored on a pass play on second down, but the score went to review. The pass was ruled incomplete and SDSU tried a run play on third down that stalled on the UNM 2-yard line. The Aztecs went for the score on fourth down and rolled around the right side of the UNM defense to go up 27-17 to take the important 10-point lead to push UNM two possessions away from a potential tie.
The Lobos answered as they had through most of the Mountain West contest. Teriyon Gipson went around the right side of the UNM attack from five yards out to slip into the corner of the end zone.
That score left UNM in a 28-23 hole and the Lobos went for a two-point conversion trying to pull within a field goal. The run failed by inches as Carrier was pulled down as he neared the goal line. UNM was down five points with 5:17 to play.
The Aztecs took over on their 20. UNM needed a stop or a turnover. For sure, the Lobos couldn’t give up a touchdown with the clock fading away.
The Aztecs marched. With 1:54 to play, the Aztecs were looking at a 3rd-and-goal on the Lobo 1-yard line. UNM called a timeout. SDSU came out and Muema punched the ball over at the 1:50 mark to claim a game-sealing 35-23 lead. It was Muema's third TD of the night.
“I'm going to do everything I know to do in the short term to try to get us to play defense and
make some stops," said Coach Davie. "The effort, the toughness and the offense is there, the kicking game is there, but what can we do in the short term to give ourselves a chance to make some stops and win a game?
"It's that simple."
The Lobos rallied out of that 35-23 hole behind Mitchem. New Mexico began the scoring drive at its 29 yards line and the talented junior went 4-of-4 passing hitting Duncan for the 36-yard score with 46 ticks to play. SDSU then recovered the on-side kick and ran out the clock.
The loss dropped the Lobos to 2-6 overall and 0-4 in Mountain West play. The Aztecs, under former Lobo Coach Rocky Long, evened its record at 4-4 and is 3-1 in MW play.
The Lobos opened the scoring in the third quarter with a 20-yard field goal from Justin Adams: 14-10. The Aztecs answered on their next possession to go up 21-10.
New Mexico scored on an 18-yard Crusoe Gongbay run to make it 21-17. That scored carried into the fourth quarter. The Aztecs' first scoring drive of the fourth quarter began at the close of the third quarter and covered 87 yards in 17 plays. The drive took 8:28 off the clock and handed SDSU a 28-17 lead.
The Lobos answered with a 72-yard drive in eight plays that ended with Gipson's 5-yard score. to pull UNM into a 28-23 count.
The Aztec drive that put SDSU up 35-23 with 1:50 to play featured seven consecutive carries by Muema -- the first a 57-yard burst up the middle that placed the Aztecs on the UNM 18-yard line. Bollema stopped Muema twice on that drive, both for no gain.
First Half: San Diego State 14, New Mexico 7
The Aztecs had to like their start. All teams try to punch the other guy hard and early and that’s what the Aztecs did. They scored on the first play of the game – a 75-yard pass from Quinn Kaehler to Ezell Ruffin. The Aztecs were up 7-0 16 seconds into the game.
It wasn’t a good start for the Lobos as the Aztecs scored on their second possession, too. That march started on their 4-yard line and ended nine plays and 96 yards later in the UNM end zone on a 4-yard burst by Adam Muema.
The Lobos needed to answer quickly and change the momentum. They did. It was an important score. UNM got a 41-yard return from Carlos Wiggins that set the Lobos up on the UNM 48-yard line. The drive almost sputtered as the Lobos went to the air three times and an 8-yard pass to tight end Andrew Aho left UNM looking at a 4th-and-2. Gautsche turned the corner and rumbled 20 yards to the SDSU 24. Teriyon Gipson finished that drive with a 20-yard touchdown at the 3:07 mark of the first quarter.
That 14-7 score held up as the halftime count as neither team could crack the scoring column in the second quarter.
The Aztecs dominated the stat sheets in the first quarter with 180 yards to 80 for UNM. The Lobos had 69 on the ground and 15 yards passing. SDSU had 126 in the air and 54 on the ground.
The Aztecs went into the half with 236 total yards to 141 for UNM. Both teams had nine first downs. SDSU was 10-of-13 passing for 161 yards. UNM had 118 yards on the ground with Gautsche leading the ground charge with 43 yards.