Surging Lobos Get Ready for Trip to Air Force
Oct. 16, 2012
Saturday: New Mexico at Air Force
The surging University of New Mexico football team, armed with its first winning streak in four years, heads back out on the road Saturday when it travels to Colorado Springs to play Air Force.
ROOT Sports will broadcast the game (Comcast channel 261, DirecTV 683 and Dish 414 but check local listings). Tim Neverett will call the game with analyst Sed Bonner and sideline reporters Jenny Cavnar. The game will air on the Lobo Radio Network with play-by-play announcer Scott Galetti and analyst Greg Remington.
The Lobos enter Saturday’s game with their first two-game winning streak (beating Texas State and Hawai’i) since 2008 as well as a two-game road winning streak for the first time since 2007. New Mexico will try for back-to-back Mountain West road wins for the first time since beating Wyoming and San Diego State in 2007 — ironically on Oct. 13 and Oct. 20.
The Lobos’ surprising 2012 season continued last weekend with a 35-23 victory at Hawai’i. Running back Kasey Carrier had a career-high 35 rushing attempts for 161 yards and two touchdowns, and quarterback Cole Gautsche added 104 yards and a TD on a 76-yard run. The game was UNM’s first with multiple 100-yard rushers since Rodney Ferguson (149) and James Wright (112) did it during a 70-7 win against San Diego State on Oct. 18, 2008.
Carrier now ranks fifth in the league and 25th nationally with an average of 105.0 rushing yards per game.
New Mexico currently is ranked seventh in the nation in rushing offense with an average of 280.3 yards per game. UNM has rushed for 1,962 yards and 23 rushing TDs this season. The Lobos had 2,654 rushing yards and 23 rushing TDs during the 2010 and 2011 seasons combined. The 2012 offense has five 300-yard rushing games; the last Lobo team to do that was the 1972 edition that averaged 280.5 yards per game.
The Lobos are No. 20 in the nation in fewest penalty yards at 37.6 yards per game. They are tied for No. 19 in turnover margin at plus 1.14 per game and tied for No. 12 in turnovers forced with 16. UNM is 11th in time of possession at 33:08 per game.
Air Force, which rallied from a 27-14 deficit to beat Wyoming 28-27 last weekend, is No. 2 in the nation in rushing with an average of 363.0 yards per game and No. 23 in total offense at 479.8 yards per game. The Falcons rank No. 3 in the country in fewest penalty yards at 26.0 per game and have yet to allow a sack this season. The one area in which the Falcons are struggling is field goals. AFA is just 1 of 6 this season.
New Mexico enters Saturday’s game against Air Force with a surprising 4-3 record. That record is more of a surprise to some than to others. Granted, hindsight is 20/20, but let’s look back at a couple of preseason prognostications about the Lobos.
On April 15, 2012, the Orlando Sentinel started a 120-part series, rating all 120 Football Bowl Subdivision schools and starting from worst to first. No. 120 on that list: New Mexico.
“(Bob) Davie has not coached at the college football level in 10 years. He is working to rebuild pipelines while changing the culture of New Mexico football,” the Sentinel reported as one of UNM’s weaknesses at the time.
On Oct. 15, 2012, the Sentinel was tough enough to admit its error in judgment during its midseason college football report. Under the heading, “What were we thinking(?)”, it said:
“New Mexico. When we put out our preseason rankings, we had the Lobos ranked dead-last in the country. A fact that wasn’t overlooked by some of the New Mexico fans, media and even players — especially when the athletes are asked about it. Now, did our rankings help motivate the team to its current 4-3 record? We would like to believe so. In our defense, the Lobos were coming off three one-win seasons and had just hired a coach who had been out of football for close to a decade. Either way, our bad.”
The second now-infamous forecast is courtesy of cbssports.com, which on Feb.7, 2012, ranked the 26 coaching hires in FBS during the offseason, from worst to first.
Checking in as the second worst hire on that list? You guessed it: Bob Davie.
Of the 26 new hires, Davie currently has the second best win percentage improvement from 2011. His 4-3 record has a .571 win percentage, a .488 improvment from UNM’s 1-11 record and .083 win percentage in 2011. Ohio State’s Urban Meyer has enjoyed the most improvement. The Buckeyes are 7-0 (1.000 win percentage) this season, a .538 improvement from 2011 when they went 6-7 for a .462 win percentage.
Perhaps not yet, but the Lobos put an end to a 24-game road losing streak — the nation’s longest — with their 27-14 victory at New Mexico State on Sept. 22. UNM previously had not won a road game since defeating the Aggies 35-24 on Sept. 27, 2008.
New Mexico then won at Hawai’l 35-23 on Oct. 13. It was UNM’s first win outside New Mexico in almost five years — since a 20-17 triumph at San Diego State on Oct. 20, 2007.
The Lobos have back-to-back road wins for the first time since Oct. 13-Oct.20, 2007 and will try to make it three in a row away from home to match the 2007 team that beat Arizona, Wyoming and San Diego State in consecutive road games.