Lobo Football: UNM Aims To Exit 2012 a Winner
Nov. 20, 2012
Saturday: New Mexico (4-8, 1-6 Mountain West) at Colorado State (3-8, 2-6)
The never-say-die University of New Mexico football team looks to finish the 2012 season on a winning note Saturday when it visits Colorado State in both teams' season finales. UNM seeks a five-win season, which would be its most victories since '07.
The game is on ROOT Sports Rocky Mountain (Comcast 261, DirecTV 683, Dish 414). Tim Neverett will call the game, Sed Bonner will serve as analyst and Jenny Cavnar will be the sideline reporter. The game will air on the Lobo Radio Network with play-by-play announcer Scott Galetti and analyst Greg Remington.
Linebacker Dallas Bollema's fourth-quarter, 37-yard interception return gave UNM the ball at the Nevada 14 with a chance to send last weekend's game into overtime, but a fumbled exchange between QB Cole Gautsche and RB Crusoe Gongbay allowed the Wolf Pack to escape Branch Field with a 31-24 victory.
Junior Kasey Carrier ranks eighth in the nation in rushing at 128.2 yards per game after gaining 145 vs. Nevada -- his seventh 100-yard game this season. Carrier's 1,410 yards are 40 yards off the all-time single-season mark of 1,450 that DonTrell Moore set in 2003.
New Mexico moved up to No. 4 in the nation in rushing offense with an average of 314.9 yards per game. UNM has 33 TDs this season, which is tied with the 1970 team for second all-time in school history. The offense set a record with its 10th 300-yard rushing game and ninth in a row. The 1971 team also had nine consecutive 300-yard games, averaged 384.5 rushing yards per game and scored a school-record 42 TDs.
UNM leads the nation in average time of possession at 34:16 per game. The Lobos are No. 16 in the nation in fewest penalty yards (38.0 per game). They're No. 17 in turnover margin (plus-0.83 per game) and tied for 19th in turnovers forced (24).
Colorado State enters Saturday's game having won two of its last four contests after a 1-7 start. The Rams average 332.3 yard per game to rank ninth in the Mountain West and 105th among 120 Football Bowl Subdivision programs. They have a 1-2 punch at running back with Chris Nwoke and Donnell Alexander combining to average 124.5 yards per game. QBs M.J. McPeek and Connor Smith have taken over for injured Garrett Grayson to fuel a passing offense that averages 206.2 yards per game (sixth in the MW and 92nd nationally.
Seven Rams have recorded 50 or more tackles on defense. Strong LB Cory James has 7.5 sacks and 10 tackles for loss to lead CSU's 71st-ranked defense that allows 411.4 yards per game.
The Starting Lineup
The Lobos (4-8, 1-6 Mountain West) look to halt a five-game losing streak and start 2013 with momentum when they travel to Fort Collins, Colo., to face Colorado State. The Rams have shown improvement over the course of the season and are trying to better their win total from 2011 (three games) .
CSU beat UNM 14-10 in the season opener last season at University Stadium, a game in which the home team had put considerable stock in setting a positive tone for the season.
New Mexico's only win in 2009 came against Colorado State, a 29-27 thriller in Albuquerque. The teams had other memorable games in recent years:
CSU's 20-6 win over UNM signaled the end of Rocky Long's 11-year tenure at UNM in 2008.
The Lobos kicked field goals as time expired in 2003, 2006 and 2007 to beat CSU by scores of 37-34, 20-19 and 26-23, respectively.
The Rams erased a 22-5 first-half deficit to beat the Lobos 35-25 in 2005 on the night in which DonTrell Moore became the sixth player in NCAA history to rush for 1,000 yards in four seasons.
Colorado State beat UNM 22-14 on Nov. 23, 2002 in a game in which the winner would win the Mountain West Conference.
The Rams beat the Lobos 41-13 in the 1997 Western Athletic Conference championship game.