SATURDAY: New Mexico (3-8, 1-6 Mountain West) at Boise State (7-4, 5-2)
TIME/LOCATION: 8:21 p.m. MT, Bronco Stadium in Boise, Idaho
RADIO: Lobo Radio Network (770 KKOB-AM), ESPN Deportes (1450 KRZY-AM) and Jose' 105.9 FM)
TV: ESPN2 (Comcast 8, 253 HD, DirecTV 209, Dish 144)
The University of New Mexico concludes the season with a late Saturday night game in Boise, Idaho, against the Boise State Broncos. UNM’s senior class of 18 will play the final game of their collegiate careers.
UNM has registered seven games of at least 30 points this season, tying a school record. It’s the first time since 1997 that the Lobos have registered seven games of at least 30 points. The Lobos’ current scoring average of 34.2 points would be a school record.
UNM is ranked No. 5 in the nation in rushing with an average of 309.6 yards per game. The Lobos have rushed for 7,323 yards combined the past two seasons. From 2008-2011 combined, UNM rushed for 6,356 yards. Five Lobos have rushed for more than 500 yards in a season over the past two seasons — Kasey Carrier twice, Cole Gautsche twice and Crusoe Gongbay once. From 2009-11, only Gongbay with 500 yards in 2011, reached the 500-yard plateau.
Kick returner Carlos Wiggins leads the nation with three returns for touchdowns after his 89-yarder against Fresno State last weekend. He has returns for TDs in consecutive weeks after returning a kick 100 yards vs. Colorado State. Wiggins was a College Football Performance Awards National Kick Returner of the Week for the second straight week with his effort at Fresno State that also included a 64-yard return. Wiggins leads the Mountain West and ranks No. 5 in the nation with an average of 30.1 yards per return. He’s No. 1 in the Mountain West and 18th in nationally in all-purpose-yard average at 143.0 yards per game, with a nation-leading 1,174 yards coming on kickoffs. The three returns for TDs matches Terance Mathis’ school record in 1989.
Carrier has 1,122 rushing yards this season to rank ninth on UNM’s single-season rushing list. Carrier is the first Lobo with back-to-back 1,000-yard rushing seasons since Rodney Ferguson in 2008.
Senior punter Ben Skaer is No. 5 in the nation in punting at 45.6 yards per attempt. During the 2010 season, Skaer’s first as the starting punter, UNM averaged 7.25 punts per game. This season, the Lobos are averaging 3.75 punts per game.
UNM is nationally ranked in several other categories. It is tied for No. 3 in the nation in interceptions thrown with four this year. The Lobos are No. 6 in fewest penalties per game at 3.7 and sixth in fewest penalty yards per game at 32.2, No. 7 in turnovers committed with 11 in 11 games, No. 9 in red-zone offense with a 92.3 percent success rate (36 scores in 39 possessions), No. 14 in net punting at 39.8 yards per attempt and No. 20 in time of possession with an average of 32 minutes per game.
UNM’s home attendance for six games during the 2013 season was 141,220 fans, an increase of 7,380 fans over last season (1,230 fans per game). The average attendance in 2013 was 23,537, and the percentage increase in attendance from 2012 was 5.5 percent. The 141,220 fans in 2013 represent an increase of 21,060 fans in total home attendance from 2011, the year before coach Bob Davie arrived. The average attendance in 2011 was 20,027 — 3,510 fewer than the 2013 average.
THE STARTING LINEUP
The University of New Mexico travels to Boise, Idaho, where it will meet the Boise State Broncos to finish their season. It’s the second time in the last three years that the Lobos have ended their season on the blue turf at Bronco Stadium.
Boise State has won all four previous meetings in the series. Last season on Branch Field at University Stadium, the Broncos jumped out to a 25-0 halftime lead. But the Lobos mounted a second-half charge almost entirely on the ground and cut the BSU lead to 32-29 late in the game. UNM had the ball on its own 33 with just more than two minutes remaining and on fourth down attempted its first pass of the second half that fell incomplete to end its comeback hopes. An appreciative University Stadium crowd applauded the home team after the clock hit 0:00, despite the three-point defeat.
The Lobos offense currently is averaging 428.1 yards per game, which would rank seventh on the school’s all-time list for yards per game in a season. UNM needs 291 yards of offense at Boise State to reach the 5,000-yard offensive mark for just the sixth time in school history, and its current scoring average of 34.2 points per game would break the previous school record of 34.0 points per game set in 1982.
UNM also has tied the school record for most 30-point games in a season, accomplishing that feat seven times to match the 1997 and 1994 Lobo teams.
The 1994 UNM team averaged 472 yards per game and ranked sixth in the country in total offense. That 1994 team’s total offense average per game would rank just 24th in the nation this season.
The Lobos’ rushing offense (a 309.6-yard average) is just shy of the pace to reach the 4,000-yard mark for the season. Only the 1971 team, with 4,229 yards, has surpassed that mark in school history (a 384.5 yards-per-game average). The 2013 Lobo rushing offense would finish with 3,715 yards at its current pace.
YOUTH IS SERVED
The Lobos had 10 players (11 including deep snapper Steven Romero) in the starting lineup against Fresno State who were first- or second-year players (all recruited by coach Bob Davie’s staff). The Bulldogs had three starters that were first- or second-year players recruited by second-year coach Tim DeRuyter’s staff, and one of the players, junior running back Josh Quezada, is a transfer from Brigham Young who played for the Cougars in 2011.