We may not have the most talented football team
field, but we are the toughest, and I would take my guys in a fist
anyone else. Coach Rocky Long
Clint McPeek in a fist fight!
Once again that rang true as the University of New Mexico Lobos used their nasty physicality and tenacity to defeat the University of Arizona Saturday night 36-28 as the Lobos improved their record to 1-2.
Make no doubt about it, Arizona is a very good and they are a very talented team. They have some serious speed, some slick wide receivers a good QB, and solid RB's. In a track meet they would kick UNM's butt. However, the Lobos weren't running track, they were playing football. Rocky Long Football!
Rocky Long football isn't very complex the way I see it. Hit them in the mouth. Get physical and be aggressive. Blitz your opponent, cause turnovers, and hit them more. On offense, have a bruising running back, give him the rock and let him grind out yardage while your 300lb Hitmen pave the way. Toss in a few passes a few little trick plays, and win the game.
Arizona RB Nic Grigsby was quoted in an Arizona paper last week saying that last season's 29-27 victory over U of A was a "fluke" and in a way he was partially correct. Last season the Lobos threw the ball around "Air Porterie" style as he finished with 327 yards and 3 TD's and the Lobos won in a shoot out. I guess that is kind of a "fluke" for the Lobos…
This year the Lobos went back to basics as discussed above, while there was more points scored it was the Lobos being tougher than the Wildcats. It was hard hitting plays by the Lobo defense forcing fumbles, and forcing interceptions. It was Lobos smashing Arizona's Willie Tuitama to the ground on a regular basis while holding Arizona to 67 yards rushing. The Lobos did give up some points through the air and it wasn't perfect, but it seemed like every Arizona WR was subjected to Lobo punishment every time they touched the ball! That is Rocky Long football!
On offense, the tandem of Rodney Ferguson and Paul Baker were too much for Arizona, as Ferguson and Baker combined 218 yards and a pair of TD's. It wasn't as much the amount of yards as they way Ferguson would lower his shoulder and smash into linebackers and DB's. If he wasn't dusting them off he was using his off hand to shove them away. Meanwhile Baker who is a smaller back is quicker than Ferguson but just as tenacious. He doesn't fear contact and when he'd get to the 2nd level he would find ways to squeeze out more yardage.
You have to give it up to The Hitmen! Talk about paving the way. They were awesome giving up 2 sacks and opening up holes for 221 yards of rushing. They were physical up front and were doing the job!
Hey! Does anyone remember when we had a bad field goal kicker? Nah, I don't remember either. How about James Aho? The Roswell native went 5 for 5 for the three pointers and it was literally from 3 point range as 4 out of the 5 treys were from downtown (42,43,46,48)
Defensively I don't even know where to begin…
Brett Kennedy's INT started everything off as he leaped up for a sweet interception kept his feet and set the Lobos up in good field position.
That started the turnover department going for the Lobos as Glover Quin later in the game caught an INT as Tuitama was under pressure. It was Ian Clark getting a sack and a fumble. Clint McPeek, Zach Arnett, and Carmen Messina didn't want to be overlooked as they also forced fumbles.
Speaking of McPeek, I think he spent more time in the Arizona offensive backfield then their running backs. Has anyone noticed that the 3 Lobo position players don't hit very softly? McPeek, Clark, and Jake "La Familia" Bowe bring it! You can put together a highlight reel of these 3 guys hits this year!
Hey Frankie! How about Frankie Solomon. #96 stepped up in a big way in the backfield. I always love when you get these guys on TV that go, "#96 that is a weird number for a safety. That is usually a defensive lineman and look how small he is." My answer to them is #96 is a D-lineman number and I cant' remember which AZ WR came up the middle but he found out that Frankie will hit you like a D-lineman! Not to mention fight off the bigger receivers for pass break ups.
Not to be outdone Frankie Baca also had a solid game, and I his name is Blake Ligon… Not sure how that fits into my "Hey Frankie" thing but what the hell I wanted to give Blake a Red Menace Shout Out as he deserved it!
Speaking of Shout Outs: Seth Johannemann much love bro! During every kick off Seth was getting The Red Menace fired up!
Offensive Player of the Game
#12 James Aho
You go 5 for 5 in pressure packed situations with 4 of those being longer than 40 yards and I would say you have earned your worth as a kicker!
Defensive Player of The Game
#91 Brett Kennedy
Yes guys like Clint McPeek, Ian Clark, and Jake Bowe had huge days, but in the end it was the athletic interception by Brett Kennedy that ignited the 2008 Lobo football team. No bigger an interception has been made!