The New Mexico Lobos came into this contest in Honolulu having not won outside their state in five years. But with the help of the fifth leading rusher in the Mountain West Conference plus a little wrinkle to their offense, they were able to outlast the University of Hawaii Warriors 35-23 before 31,632 at Aloha Stadium this past Saturday night.
The New Mexico ground game came into this contest as a Top 10 team rushing-wise, and there were no surprises as the Lobos ran the ball consistently. Fourth-year junior running back Kasey Carrier ran for 161 yards and scored two touchdowns. But there was a little twist that helped the Lobos win on the road against the Warriors: their passing game.
New Mexico quarterback B.R. Holbrook threw 12 times and connected on seven passes for 109 yards - the most passing yardage for the New Mexico Lobos in a game this year. It was enough to keep Hawaii off balance so the Lobos could do what they do best and that's run the ball.
The Warriors knew coming into this Mountain West battle that they needed to stop the New Mexico ground game. Knowing something and being able to have an effect on the outcome are two different entities and Hawaii wasn't able to succeed. First off, the Warriors let the Lobos jump out to a 21-0 lead. Hawaii had minus seven offensive yards in the first quarter - that's certainly not the way to victory when you're trying to win for only the second time in the season.
Not that the Warriors didn't fight back. With New Mexico firmly in control in the third quarter 28-10, cornerback and kick return specialist Mike Edwards atoned for a fumble earlier in the game with a 100 yard kickoff return for a touchdown to cut the lead to 28-17. Quarterback Sean Schroeder went to the air and it appeared he had found some rhythm but fumbled the ball to negate one drive; however, he kept on slinging in the fourth quarter. A 65 yard drive netted a touchdown but failed a two-point conversion. Even so, Hawaii still had cut the lead to 28-23.
The Lobos put together a late drive to go ahead 35-23 and pretty much cinched it from there. The Warriors moved down the field but after a couple penalties on the offensive line, Schroeder once again fumbled the ball and any chance at a comeback.
On the road
The New Mexico Lobos have another road contest next, this time at the Air Force Academy. After a bye, the Hawaii Warriors go on the road for two games, starting off with the Colorado State Rams - a similar team to the men of Manoa in that the Rams have won only once this season. The Warriors will not step on the Aloha Stadium field again until November 10 versus Boise State.
Hawaii probably needs this bye because nothing is working right now. Simply, they make too mistakes and can't stop anyone with their defense, especially a running team. The Warrior jerseys had the word "Imua" on the back where the names used to be. The effort's there but if the Warriors want to keep moving forward - as the word imua implies in Hawaiian - then they better start with a more consistent offense. And having some defensive linemen would be nice too but with all the injuries they will have to deal with … moving forward may be easier said than done.
Sources - Mountain West Conference, University of Hawaii
Through thick and thin, Daryle has been a huge fan of college football as well as Hawaii, visiting there as a second home for over 40 years. Go 'Bows!
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