The University of New Mexico Lobo football team wrapped up their 2007 spring game in what seems to be typical New Mexico fashion. UNM has had the earliest spring game and the latest spring game and every year it rains and is windy as all get out.
Still we took the BBQ grill out and did up some dogs, burgers, and brats, and had a great time. The clouds were looming and there was a little lightning in the air so things were looking for a bleak game with little or no attendance. However, as the game approached I suspect there were at least 600-700 (couldn't see all those in the big ugly brown building or in the Tow.) hearty souls that braved the elements and came out for the game.
After a delay the game kicked off and the offense came out just like they had pretty much all spring… 3 and out! Not a great start, but one that if you have followed spring ball many would expect.
I didn't get all of Rocky Long's rules on scoring this year with a point for this, and two points for that, but it looks like defense scored by shutting down the offense.
Anyway, the 2nd team offense under Bryan Clampitt took the field and Clampitt led the 2nd team offense down the field with some nice short passes and catches. The two highlight passes was a nice little passes to the FB Jered Metgzer, followed up by a nice snare by Chris Hernandez, as both passes went for 11 yards. Ultimately, the drive stalled at the 2 yard line when 3rd and goal from the 2 the Lobos ran the ball and Paul Baker was stuffed at the line of scrimmage, setting up Yosuf Shakir for a chip shot that he hit.
The defense stiffened once again as Coach Long unleashed these guys. I know the QB's were grateful for those black jerseys tonight as they would have been destroyed otherwise. The defensive line was dominant, absolutely dominant.
In the 2nd quarter the Lobo offense took the ball with time winding down in the half with Donovan Porterie under center and they started to get moving again as DP hit Marcus Smith with a nice 37 yard shot, TE Luke Walters was able to corral a nice pass and set up punter Jordan Scott for a 39 yard field goal.
I did speak with PK John Sullivan sans crutches today prior to the scrimmage as he said, "I just got fitted for my brace, went through 3 hours of rehab, and I feel really good." I watched Sullivan walk and he didn't have a limp nor did he seem to baby the injured knee at all. He did tell me, "You will see me in the fall! Count on it!"
The 2nd half started like every half this spring with the offense going 3 and out, then it was true freshman Blair Peterson's turn under center. Aided by a pair of penalties the offense moved the ball up until there was a fumbled snap and a turnover.
Porterie gets back in and leads the Lobos on their lone touchdown drive of the night as he and Marcus Smith hooked up three times including a 46 yard pitch and catch and a nice 9 yard TD reception. Forgotten in this drive by many was a pair of sacks as the defense was relentless.
And relentlessness continued as the defense twisted and did everything to shut down the offense. As the play of the day was Marcus Smith catch a ball in traffic, squirting through he seemed to have an easy path to end zone, Marcus turned on the jets and started to cruise in… Major Mosley came across displaying speed of his own was able to knock the ball out of Marcus' hand to prevent the speedy receiver a touchdown… In the rain, bad weather, a fumble, elicited the response from Dom… "No Leon… No…" In reference to former Dallas Cowboys' DL Leon Lett's fumbles on Thanksgiving and Super Bowl XXVII… Silly I know, but we had to keep warm right? Anyway, what an athletic play from Major Mosley to save that touchdown!
After this fumble was some turnover returns that both ended at the 1-yard line! The one-yard line!
First LB Herbert Felder they say he intercepted a Blair Peterson pass, but I thought it was a fumble recovery… Either way, with a mass of bodies resembling a rugby scrum Felder along with a host of Cherry and White jerseys came down in the end zone from my vantage point. But those darn BYU refs said no touchdown! I still screamed throw the red flag! Throw the red flag!
Then safety Frankie Solomon stepped in front of a Porterie pass and took off for the end zone. 51 yards later Frankie was on the ground looking at the goal line, which was roughly a foot away from the ball. Doh!
Tyson Ditmore also secured an interception off a deflected pass. Ditmore didn't have the ability for a run back, but still his field awareness gave him the I-N-T!
Somewhere in the game that looked to be over the Rock snuck in 5 minutes of overtime and the offense under Victor James hit Mike Vandenberg for a 30-yard pass setting up P Adam Miller for a 30-yard game winning field goal. Or so we thought…
There was a lot of shadiness with Rocky Long scoring system at the end and we were told later the defense won… Hell I don't know, all I know is we were flying out to the car to load up and turn the heat on!
Final thoughts… (Hmmm… I feel like Jerry Springer minus the weirdness and beautiful young ladies flashing me J) The spring game was as I thought, defense swarming to the ball with 8 sacks, and trust me there would have been more if they could hit the QB's. The defensive side of the ball is nails! Could be the best defense in many a year under Coach Long if not the best of all, if they continue to work harder and do what it takes!
Offensively what can you say? You have to hold the line of scrimmage. At times this spring they have at others they have not. It is chronicled the effects either way. Win the war in the trenches win the game!
Our kicking game is looking tough at this time. Obviously with the kickers and the injuries to Sullivan and Garrison both front runners for the job that is understandable, but the punters really have to get going as well. Tonight there were some good punts, but there were also some that weren't very good, and consistency has got to be the key for whichever punter steps up!
Offensive Player of the Game
#4 WR Marcus Smith
Smith has had a great spring and except for a few miscues has been the biggest weapon this team has. Wednesday night was just another example as Marcus finished the night 6 reception 170 yards and the lone TD
Defensive Player of the Game
#96 Frankie Solomon
Frankie continued an unbelievable spring as he finished the night with 3 tackles and an INT. They didn't count hurries and obviously they couldn't hit the QB's but I could swear that #96 was in on the QB on quite a few occasions and if they could hit the QB's the guys wearing black would have #96 tattooed on their chest a couple of times.
#49 LB Zach Arnett (La Cueva HS, Albuquerque)
Yet another linebacker with pop at UNM! Zach finished the night with 6 tackles, 1 for a loss, and a sack! Zach is pushing for serious playing time in the fall!
Stay tuned in the next few days for The Red Menace Eye on you report, and a spring ball wrap up. We will also be doing some football recruiting stuff here in the next few weeks including the Rocky Long camp.
Thank you everyone that has donated so far. We are getting closer with each donation and almost there. If you are interested in dropping a few bucks and we will take any amount you are willing to throw in just send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or you can use Paypal.com and send money on credit/debit card the exact same way. Once again TheRedMenace.com thanks you for your consideration and donations.