New Mexico’s offense historically bad in latest loss
LARAMIE -- Sixty-nine.
That's the number of offensive yards New Mexico rolled up in a 36-7 loss to Colorado State last Saturday night in Albuquerque. Just 16 of those came through the air. The Rams defense also added six quarterback sacks, eight tackles for loss, three turnovers and held the Lobos to just 1.2 yards per snap.
This wasn't just an off night for the Lobos, it's a pattern.
A historically bad one.
New Mexico, which started seven true freshmen against CSU, converted only 2-of-12 third downs. That final yardage was the second-lowest in program history. That output can also now lay claim to the lowest in the 23-year lifespan of the Mountain West Conference.
The Lobos have lost five straight and their offense has failed to generate a single point over the last two weeks. New Mexico is averaging just seven points an outing during its current skid.
"What we're doing on offense -- production wise -- I mean, that 69 yards is horrendous," New Mexico's second-year head coach Danny Gonzales said during his weekly press conference. "So, we've got got to get back to the basics and the fundamentals of blocking people and trying to run the football."
The Lobos run game was the only bright spot on a very dark night inside University Stadium.
Aaron Dumas carried the ball 14 times and finished with 68 yards. That is an average of 4.9 yards per tote. Bobby Cole racked up 35 yards on just nine carries. Trae Hall is the only other Lobo ball carrier with positive yardage next to his name.
New Mexico lost 54 yards in sacks and stops behind the line of scrimmage.
Gonzales has not committed to a quarterback Saturday afternoon in Laramie.
Unlike his counterpart, Craig Bohl, who has opened the Wyoming quarterback competition due to inconsistencies and turnovers, Gonzales is hoping senior Terry Wilson will be healthy enough to suit up for the Lobos inside War Memorial Stadium.
The 6-foot-3, 202-pound signal caller started the first six games of the season for New Mexico before suffering an elbow injury on his non-throwing arm in a loss to San Diego State. Wilson has thrown seven touchdown passes and is completing 58% of his throws.
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Last week against CSU, Gonzales inserted CJ Montes into the lineup, giving the true freshman his first collegiate start.
It didn't go well.
Giving the visitors bulletin board material proved to be a big mistake, too.
Montes told the local press he was confident heading in. Maybe a tad too confident.
“Schematically, we should run through these guys," Montes told the Albuquerque Journal. "What (offensive coordinator Derek Warehime) has for us, I think we should blow these guys out.”
Montes completed just 3-of-19 passes for 11 yards and tossed a couple of interceptions. He also fumbled in the third quarter. The Pasadena, Calif., product was sacked four times. Isaiah Chavez relieved Montes on the Lobos' final drive of the night.
"Obviously, we made some dumb comments last week," Gonzales said, taking the blame for his rookie QB. "CJ made a mistake and he'll learn from it. A lot of people were saying, you know, that stuff doesn't matter anymore. I don't believe that. I think it matters tremendously. You can't ever be arrogant and that was an arrogant statement."
Gonzales said if Wilson can't go in Laramie, Montes and Chavez will fight for reps this week in practice. He added Montes only has two more games before he loses his redshirt status. He wants to keep that, if possible.
Wyoming (4-2, 0-2) is all too familiar with Chavez.
The redshirt freshman entered last year's game in Las Vegas in relief of an injured Connor Genal and completed 5-of-10 passes and threw a touchdown in a 17-16 upset of the Cowboys.
That New Mexico win snapped an FBS-worst 14-game losing streak. It also put to a halt a 20-game skid in conference play that dated back to October of 2018.
So, does Gonzales see any similarities between last year and this meeting with the Cowboys?
The Lobos (2-5, 0-3) are once again on an extended losing streak and they're playing Wyoming.
That's about it.
"No, we were more competitive last year in those first five games," Gonzales said, pointing to his team's five straight loses, four of which have been courtesy of a blowout. "... You start seven true freshmen, you're going to lose a bunch of games just because they're not big enough, fast enough, strong enough and the game is so fast.
"So, I knew this was going to be a really rough year. I'm disappointed in how the scores have turned out because we should be more competitive. So, we're not doing a good enough job on offense to give ourselves a chance."
There's another element Gonzales is fully aware of Saturday on the high plains -- revenge.
New Mexico's head coach knows the 17-0 home blanking at the hands of Fresno State isn't sitting well with Bohl's bunch. Neither is the Cowboys' own struggles on offense, which has been held scoreless over the previous six quarters.
He also knows that loss inside Sam Boyd Stadium last December is still fresh.
Gonzales said the Cowboys probably have "17-16" posted all over their facility.
"Unfortunately, we beat Wyoming last year so there's no sneaking up on them," he said. "They know we're going to be tough kids and that we're going to battle our tails off -- and they just got shutout by a team. So, they're going to come out and give their best effort against the team that they feel they should have beat last year and they were probably better than. It didn't turn out that way."
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