New Mexico Tops Rival UTEP, 27-10
Lobos get its second win.
Introducing the 2-1 Lobos
The New Mexico Lobo defense forced over seven turnovers to stifle the UTEP Offense Saturday night in Albuquerque, to go on and win 27-10 over the Miners.
The Lobos secondary would intercept four Miners passes and cause three more fumbles against their foes down south, the UTEP Miners.
The Lobos dominated in the first half, outgaining the Miners 217 to 76. The Lobos got on the board when Miles Kendrick methodically moved UNM from its own 20 to the UTEP 18-yard line, which led to a 37-yard field goal by Luke Drzewiecki, giving UNM a 3-0 lead.
UNM pinned UTEP at its 15 on the kickoff, and Senor Saftey Jerrick Reed II made back-to-back big plays.
First, he knocked away a short pass, then he got his hand on a pass, deflecting it right to Reco Hannah. Hannah picked it off and raced untouched into the end zone for a 10-0 lead.
Senior Linebacker Reco Hannah would get a pick-six to get early momentum for this Danny Gonzales Lobo team and end up as the Mountain West defensive player of the week.
Also earning honors were UNM Freshman AJ Haulcey with an interception and did a great job of keeping his feet in bounds and another spectacular play.
The ball hit the corner pylon of the endzone and, by rule, would be a touchback and change to possession to the Lobos offense.
Kicker George Steinkamp also had a big day for the Lobos kicking a career-long 51-yard field goal against the Miners, giving the Lobos a 20-3 lead before halftime.
His 51-yard field goal to end the half was career-long, and it tied for the 12th-longest field goal in school history and the longest since Andrew Shelley hit a 52-yard field goal at Liberty on September 28, 2019.
It’s the second-week UNM picked up an honor from the league, as Christian Washington was the Week’s Freshman last week with his 100 kickoff return.
The Lobos would go on to win the game even though the oddsmakers had the Miners a 2-3 point favorite.
This writer predicted a 34-14 win, so the Lobos would end up winning by 17 points; not my 20-point prediction, but it was close!
Coach Gonzales, when asked about the turnovers:
“We do some turnovers stuff during fall camp, but that’s not where you get turnovers,” UNM coach Danny Gonzales said. “Turnovers you get from effort and being really physical. The (turnovers) you cause from the way we play and what we preach on defense is all 11 to the ball in bad humor, and when you get there, you try to cause something,”
Gonzales said Junior Strong Saftey Tavian Combs, who starts as the Lobo safety, sustained a leg injury and could miss some time.
Linebacker Syaire Riley, who was out due to illness, is expected to return this week as the Lobos get ready for LSU in Death Valley on the road, said Gonzales.
Starting in Riley’s place was local Volcano Vista Linebacker Cody Moon. He had a career-high 11 tackles in the game and 2.0 sacks. He has had 3.5 sacks in the last two games for this Lobo Defense.
Senior Safety Jerrick Reed II had four passes broken up, a career-high. It was the most by a Lobo since Donte Martin had four on October 4, 2019, at San Jose State.
The Lobos seemed very energized as the head coach honored three teams from the past, 1962, 1982, and 1997 and greeted the current Lobo team as they left the tunnel before the game.
This offense under Offensive Coordinator Derek Warehime had a solid outing, with most of the damage to the Miners being in the first half.
They would end up with over 188 rushing yards, and 123 of those yards were done in the first half.
Nate Jones had 83 yards and one touchdown on eight carries, Sherod White had 21 yards and one touchdown, eight carries, and Freshman Christian Washing had six carries for 57 yards. UNM Quarterback Miles Kendrick had eight carries for 26 yards.
The Lobos will now face SEC LSU at Death Valley on the road to meet their most challenging test of the year as they face the Tigers.
The Tigers are coming off a victory against Miss State 31-16, and they will give the Lobo all they can handle, so the Lobos will have to be strong in all facets of the game to compete against the SEC team.