Stevens: Lobos Bitten 49-7 by Nevada Wolf Pack
Oct. 15, 2011
Nevada 49, New Mexico Lobos 7
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
A New Mexico Lobo team looking for a spark and a better start to a football game is heading toward one of the more difficult places in the Mountain West to look for a win - TCU.
In the Lobos' rearview mirror is a bad start in Reno, Nev., in a non-conference game that saw the Nevada Wolf Pack jump to a 21-0 first-quarter lead, roll out 598 total yards, and defeat the Lobos 49-7.
"Again, we didn't come out like I thought we could," said UNM's interim head coach George Barlow. "We just have to find a way to get a spark at the beginning. We don't come out of the box like I want us to and it's hard to play catch up when you aren't playing with a whole lot of confidence."
The Lobos next road stop isn't exactly a coach's first choice when it comes to looking for confidence. TCU has a Mountain West record 19 consecutive conference wins.
The TCU Horned Frogs' defense has been terrorizing NCAA football for several years and the defending Rose Bowl champions are surely looking to make a statement that they are better than the TCU team that already has lost two games in 2011.
The Frogs also will be coming off a bye week in facing the 0-6 Lobos.
The Lobos came off a bye week heading to Nevada and were looking for a second start to the 2011 season and a better start in a football game. UNM fell behind two weeks ago 21-0 to New Mexico State and never recovered. The Lobos fell behind 21-0 in the first frame to the Wolf Pack and trailed 28-0 at the half in spite of creating three Nevada turnovers. The Lobos never recovered.
"You like to have (turnovers), but we have to score off them," said Barlow.
The Pack put down the hammer in the third quarter with another 14 points that formed a 42-0 hole for the Lobos. Nevada crushed the UNM defense for 338 yards on the ground and added another 260 passing (no passing TDs) to form their 598 total yards. The Pack had 34 first downs to 14 for the Lobos. Nevada never punted in the game.
"They do a great job of running as well as throwing out of the pistol (offense)," said Barlow. "They do a good job of packaging their run and pass plays together so it makes it difficult to get a bead on it. They do a great job with it."
Nevada had held UNLV to eight yards passing a week earlier and held the Lobos to 89 passing yards. Lobo quarterback B.R. Holbrookgot the start and didn't exactly lock up the huddle going 9-of-22 for 62 yards and one interception. Holbrook's first pass of the third quarter was intercepted, earning him a seat on the UNM bench.
"That was a play we talked about at the half and we talked about if it's not open, just go ahead and run it," said Barlow. "We told (Holbrook) the options that we wanted and exactly what we wanted to do with it and we wound up throwing the interception."
Sophomore Tarean Austin, who started UNM's first four games, took over the pocket on UNM's next possession after the Holbrook interception. He also had limited success against the Wolf Pack defense, but did push the Lobos into the end zone. Austin orchestrated a 9-play, 63-yard drive that he finalized with a 17-yard scramble into the end zone. That made the score 49-7.
"We have to find a consistent quarterback," said Barlow. "So coach Reaves (QB coach David Reaves) will continue to coach them and see if we can get one of them to emerge to be a leader."
The Lobos had 168 yards rushing on 35 attempts for a 4.8 average. Crusoe Gongbay had 39 yards on nine carries and James Wright had 31 yards on nine carries. Austin had 41 yards on three carries. Ty Kirk had six catches for 42 yards.The Lobos' defense was paced by Carmen Messina with 11 tackles and Destry Berry with 11. Bubba Forest had nine tackles and Freddy Young had eight. Freshman DB Zach Dancel had UNM's lone interception while Forrest and Jamal Merritteach had a fumble recovery.
A stat that burned UNM of the defensive side was Nevada converting 9-of-12 third downs. "We have to get off the field on third down, which I didn't think we did that great at throughout the game," said Barlow.
Nevada scored all its touchdowns on the ground with its defense scoring one of those in the first quarter. Holbrook completed a pass to Deon Long, who fumbled. Nevada's Marlon Johnson scooped up the loose ball and sprinted 25 yards into the end zone.
"The kids haven't quit," said Barlow. "They are giving us everything they have. We are going to get back on the grind and see what we can do to get better."