What Did New Mexico Learn In Loss To Boise State?
Lobos getting better but it’s still gonna take time
New Mexico slowly getting better
Well, if games were played in just halves, the UNM Lobos under third-year head Danny Gonzales could feel semi-good about his team being down only 10-0 at the half to Boise State.
But of course, football is played in two halves and all four quarters, and the Lobos would fall to the Broncos at home in an announced home crowd of 16,157
Boise State held New Mexico’s offense to just 123 yards, and the Broncos blocked a punt for a touchdown for the third time in the last two meetings as the Broncos defeated the Lobos 31-14 at University Stadium.
The Broncos, preseason favorites at the top of the Mountain West Conference, would be a good test early in the season to see what progress this program has made in the three years under Gonzales.
The Lobos would come in the matchup with lots of confidence after last week’s dominant win over FCS Maine Black Bears 41-0 and seeing Boise State struggle against Oregon State and lose 34-17.
It’s pretty apparent to anyone who knows the program over the years (I have watched this program for 20 years) that the Lobos have made progress, primarily in how hard they compete and overall effort.
Even though they would end up losing the game, it’s evident that the Lobos are a much better team than last year’s team, especially on the defensive side of the ball.
This Rocky Long 3-3-5 defense would shine for about three quarters before getting winded into the fourth quarter.
Lobo Safety Jerrick Reed’s 12 tackles marked his fifth career double-digit tackle game, and Safety Ronald Wilson picked off his second pass of the season, equaling his total from a year ago. He has four career interceptions in 12 career games.
Cornerback Donte Martin had three passes broken up, the second-most of his career. He had four against San Jose State on October 4, 2019.
The offensive line for the Lobos would get their first test of a big physical Mountain West Defensive line, and oh, what a test it would be.
The Broncos up front made It clear they would be the men in the trenches on Saturday and let the Lobo offensive line know they were there to play physical football.
They did not need much stunting or blitzing; they controlled the line of scrimmage and stayed in cover 2 (2 Safeties high) for much of the game.
Cover 2 makes it much more challenging throwing the deep ball, just passing in general.
Defensive Tackle, Boise State Bronco Scott Matlock #99 at 6-4 295Lb, gave the Lobo offense all they would handle, pushing back the offensive tackles into the backfield a few times and showing why more than likely he would be playing on Sunday.
Early in the game, Boise State Bronco left defensive end George Tarlas 6’3 255 really gave the Lobo offensive fits as well.
Boise State tallied six sacks and 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage; amazing what happens when you have four very physical guys up front who can dominate the line of scrimmage.
Last week Lobo quarterback Miles Kendrick had a solid performance against the Main Black Bears. Would he take some hits, never have much time for separation from his receivers, and have to throw the ball away to avoid the sacks.
He would not get much help from his offensive line as he was chased from the pocket many times and would take some big hits in the first quarter.
That being said, this Derek Warehime (Offensive Coordinator) took 17 deep shots, passes beyond 25 yards and the Lobos connect on 3 or 4 of these, it’s a different ball games.
Pressure up front made it very difficult to establish any momentum or rhythm for this Derek Warehime offense. Kendrick would be run out of the pocket and had to throw the ball away a handful of times on very critical plays for this Lobo offense.
Gonzales would go on to say: “It wasn’t Miles’ fault,” Gonzales said after the loss. “Those guys (from Boise State) were in his face so fast. He’s moving around the pocket. He’s doing his part. He was managing the offense just fine. We got physically beat up front. We gotta give him a little bit better of a chance schematically. If we underestimate our ability, we have to be able to adjust better in the second half. I don’t think we adjusted well.”
The score did not reflect the outstanding defense the Lobos played for the three and half quarters before starting to show fatigue.
As for the offense, only a pair of fourth-quarter big plays, a 69-yard touchdown pass from Miles Kendrick to Geordon Porter and a 100-yard TD kickoff return by Christian Washington, prevented the Lobos from being shut out.
Geordan Porter’s 69-yard touchdown catch was the longest of his career. He had a 63-yarder at Arizona State. It was also the longest completion for Miles Kendrick in his career, topping a 43-yarder for a touchdown as Kansas.
Christian Washington’s 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown was UNM’s ninth all-time 100-yard return and the first since Elijah Lilly went 100 against Texas A&M in College Station on November 11, 2017.
If you are a Lobo fan, there is lots of hope as the team generally looks much better in the effort department and on defense, flies to the ball to close the games.
The offense looked great last week, but there is a big difference between an FCS team and a Mountain West Pres season favorite team; it showed big time.
If the Lobo offensive line can improve in opening up some holes for these very talented young running backs in Jones, Washington, White, and Alexander, the run game will improve.
Also, give the quarterback time toi throw the ball to what potentially could be the best receiver tandem in Porter and Wysong, and they should be fine.