Lobos quarterback B.R. Holbrook, sidelined since Oct. 27 after suffering a separation of his throwing shoulder against Fresno State, said after Monday’s practice that he’s pain-free and hopes to play at Colorado State on Saturday.
The CSU game will be the last of the fifth-year senior’s career.
“I’m gonna do everything I can to play,” Holbrook said. “I’m ready to go. (The shoulder) feels good. It’s strong, it’s stable, so it’s ready to go.”
UNM at CSU, 5 p.m., Root (DirecTV 683, Comcast 261), 770 AM
Holbrook is, without room for argument, the best passer among UNM’s quarterbacks.
Lobos coach Bob Davie said Holbrook participated in pregame warmups before last Saturday’s 31-24 loss to Nevada, in which UNM did not complete a single pass.
“Quite honestly, he threw the ball better than anyone we had out there,” Davie said. “Hopefully, he can play. If he can get back, we’re gonna play him.”
ROCKY’S WATCHING: In February 2008, coach Rocky Long introduced what would become his final recruiting class at the University of New Mexico.
Four years and nine months later, Rocky is long gone – but 10 members of that recruiting class, plus two walk-ons who later earned scholarships, will don cherry and silver for the final time on Saturday at Colorado State.
Long, now the head coach at San Diego State, has his own team to think about. The Aztecs (8-3 overall, 6-1 in Mountain West Conference play) face Wyoming in Laramie with a share of the league title at stake.
The former UNM quarterback and coach has had little to say about UNM since his resignation after the 2008 season. But he knows what the Lobos’ fifth-year seniors have been through: three consecutive 1-11 seasons. First as SDSU’s defensive coordinator and then as head coach, he helped administer three of those defeats.
San Diego State doesn’t play UNM this season and is not likely to in the near future; SDSU is leaving the Mountain West for the Big East Conference in football next season. But Long said last week he’s watched this year’s Lobos, with particular attention to his 2008 recruits, on film while preparing to play other Mountain West teams.
He liked what he saw. The Lobos are 4-8 and riding a five-game losing streak, but four of their six conference defeats have come by seven points or less.
“I’m extremely happy for them,” Long said last week of the players he brought into the UNM program. “… Coach (Bob) Davie has done a great job. Those kids are playing with confidence. They’re playing hard, they’re playing physical.
“I’m really happy for the kids that stayed and hung in there through the bad times, that they’re experiencing some success.”
Long’s remaining 2008 signees are linebacker A.J. Butler, defensive end Jake Carr, linebacker Joseph Harris, Holbrook, defensive end Mark Hunter, wide receiver Ty Kirk, tight end Lucas Reed, linebacker Joe Stoner, safety Freddy Young and cornerback DeShawn Mills. Tight end Chris Biren and wide receiver Quintell Solomon joined the team that year as walk-ons.
THE STAT SHEET: The Lobos, on the strength of their 352 yards on the ground last Saturday against Nevada, moved from fifth to fourth nationally in rushing offense with an average of 315 per game. Despite his 145 yards, junior running back Kasey Carrier dropped from seventh to eighth individually at 128 per game.
The Lobos remained No. 1 nationally in average time of possession, despite a sub-par performance in that area on Saturday. New Mexico had the ball for 30 minutes, 20 seconds, but ran only 52 offensive plays compared to Nevada’s 77.
New Mexico ranks 17th in turnover margin at plus-10.
Nevada converted 9-of-16 third downs, leaving the Lobos 117th of 120 teams in third-down defense percentage (51.7).
THEY SHALL NOT PASS: When the Lobos failed to complete a single pass on Saturday against Nevada, how long had it been since another NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision had done the same?
Actually, it was less than 24 hours. Friday night, the Air Force Falcons didn’t so much as attempt a pass in beating Hawaii 21-7.
The Lobos hadn’t played an entire game without completing a pass since Sept. 26, 1964, when they went 0-of-2 in the air against Montana. The Lobos won that game, 20-10.
— This article appeared on page D1 of the Albuquerque Journal