Grateful Dead, the iconic jam band sang a traditional blues song that
this: "Goin' down the road, feeling bad, bad, bad... Don't wanna be
treated this a way."
I wasn't supposed to be this way for UNM this time. The '09 season needed to get going in a positive direction. The road is never a place to feel great...except if you win against all odds. Enough bad feelings had taken place this last week. UNM had another chance to get the 10 game "losing in the state of Texas monkey" off it's back. The losing streak seemed on the way out. With less than 2 minutes remaining in the first half UNM had the ball first and goal at the Red Raider 6 yard line. Suddenly, the 14-7, or at worst, expected 10-7 "lead" evaporated as fast as UNM could say Steven Sheffield, as in the second string QB from Tech who replaced, the hounded starter, Taylor Potts. UNM's Defense had harassed Potts, had picked him twice and knocked Potts out of the game after withstanding a haymaker from the quick strike Tech offense. The Red Raiders scored two plays into the game on a simple crossing pass over the middle that went for 79 yards followed by a one yard jaunt into the end zone to race to a 7-0 lead. UNM's D would pitch a shut out the rest of the half or so it seemed. Until...UNM put the ball on the carpet and the road got bad. Real bad. 94 yards and 56 measly seconds later... UNM went into the locker room down 14-7.
Nathan Enriquez first career interception
The second half saw an onslaught of 28 consecutive points the home standing Red Raiders delighted a sold out crowd with. UNM made many costly errors to begin the second half; getting the opening kickoff and fumbling it away AFTER picking up a first down. As the game seemed to spin out of control, and, the 35 plus point margin of victory predicted by the sports books looked solid, a funny thing happened. UNM kept it's head down and kept playing. A UNM T and then recovery of a brilliantly executed onside kick by the Lobos special teams made the Tech crowd nervous. Could it be? Unfortunately UNM could not produce on offense and the opportunity to close the game to 35-21 went away. UNM did close out the 4th quarter getting a 61 yard strike to Bryant Williams to close the gap to 42-28 Tech. The final 20-point margin was produced by a crazed Coach Leach going for a TD on the last two plays of the game. The first was a QB sneak by Sheffiled. That kind of sportsmanship usually gets your QB a cheap shot. UNM played with class refused the invitation. Hmmm, maybe Leach could only get 19 points from his bookie. Final tally? UNM loses 48 to 28 to Tech in Lubbock. Hopefully the recruiting that Coach Locks and staff are doing will result in future wins both in Texas and all over the map. It is clear that Tech had a speed advantage over the Lobos. Experience will close the gap too. 38 freshmen and sophomore's made the 60 man traveling squad this weekend. This is a young Lobo team, it will make mistakes, even if fans don't want to hear it. Youth and inexperience has more to do with the current woes than just about anything else. At some point, hopefully soon, the mistakes will cease.
AJ Butler has a career day
In the final analysis the things that Coach Lock's said could not happen, happened. UNM was, again, their own worst enemy handing Tech some real gifts. UNM needs to compete for 4 quarters and not let the opponent get out to a comfortable margin. This team will win when it does what it did Saturday WITHOUT the turnovers. UNM has shown in spurts that the offense can move the ball against anyone. The defense is starting to show the ability to make some good things happen. Nathan Enriquez had a breakout game stealing two passes to stop Red Raider drives. The road continues all the way to Laramie, Wyoming next weekend. UNM has one conference loss and can ill afford another. As the team continues to learn lessons the hard way one thing was evident Saturday in Jones AT&T Stadium; this young Lobo team will get it right. The hope is sooner, like next Saturday, than later. If the team "Don't wanna be treated this a way" anymore it will have to find a way to overcome the obstacles they themselves place in the road.
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