Defensive battle with little offense, mental mistakes, and a loss… This game was totally reminiscent of a 2005 Lobo football game. Offense looks bleak and filled with mistakes. Defense is stout, keeps the Lobos in the game, but offense just fumbles it away.
If you had told me prior to the game starting the Lobos would hold CSU to 14 points. A team that manhandled the Lobos in 2011 I would say we are doing Lobo Leaps and going nuts in the end zone. What happened?
As great as the defense played great holding CSU to 270 yards of total offense, 14 points, and stuffing CSU on 4th down twice including giving UNM the opportunity for some last minute heroics. Remember the year before CSU just blew up the Lobo defensive line. Not tonight! The CSU power running game never got on track, nor did their receivers. The Lobo line, linebackers, and DB's were solid.
With all that UNM should be thrilled right? Right! Wrong…
As stellar as the defense played the Lobo offense was anemic.
I know the score doesn't show it and should drive every Lobo coach, player, and fan crazy, but if you look at this team in the 1st half they moved the ball at will. Putting at least 7 beautiful drives that should have ended in points. Unfortunately, of the 7 great drives the Lobos put together today only 2 resulted in points 8 plays 52 yards gained resulted in a James Aho FG, and one of the best drives of the night was a 7 play 80 yard masterpiece that concluded when T. Austin hit Lamaar "Flash" Thomas with a 27 yard TD shot!
The other drives were the Lobos shooting
themselves in the foot with brutal holding penalties, false
starts, sacks allowed, and fumbles… Grrrr, those fumbles! The
Lobos put the ball on the turf 6 times recovering 3 of them. It
was the spot that 3 of them weren't recovered that killed this
team as Frosh Crusoe Gongbay had a ball stripped as he was diving
and stretching towards the end zone in the 1st half and
the final fumble as T. Austin fumbled for the second time of the
evening with only seconds on the clock.
Gongbay stretches out to get into the end zone... Fumble!
Another killer of the night… Sacks! The Lobo offensive line just wasn't special tonight. They had their moments but giving up 10 sacks is unacceptable, and the final pain was the penalties. Just drive killers, whether it was the false start, or the holding calls that just destroyed rhythm downs and distances. Including the final drive as the Lobos went from 2-1 at the 10 after a marvelous T. Austin scramble to second and six and time running out.
Not going to sugar coat it, this was a game I felt the Lobos would win, and in reality should have won. This is one that will come back and haunt this program.
Player of the Game
I'm not giving one. Some did a lot, but not enough. Not enough passes to Lucas Reed, Deon Long looked solid until the holding, Flash nice TD, but can't fumble the ball, O-line looked good at times. James Wright looked good at times, Gongbay looked solid except the fumble in the end zone. Tarean Austin looked good running and passing except the fumbles… Like I said they all did some, but not nearly enough.
Defensive Player of the game
8 tackles 2 for loss and 1 sack
Earlier this year Mike Locksley talked about
Messina not just getting tackle numbers but making those tackles
for loss and behind the line of scrimmage. The saying goes, not
just putting up numbers, but helping your team win games. Tonight
Carmen did all he could to help his team win. 3 plays behind the
line of scrimmage including stopping CSU's last 4th
down play to give the Lobos a shot to win makes him our defensive
player of the game.
photos courtesy of Gary Stepic Photography