Flashback: New Mexico scores first for the ninth time in 14 games under coach Bob Davie, but loses for the 10th time during the Davie era as Texas-San Antonio erases a two-touchdown deficit and beats the Lobos 21-13 at University Stadium.
What went right: The Lobos’ young defense got the first touchdown of the new season on a 45-yard fumble return and kept the UTSA offense on its side of the 50-yard line more than halfway into the second quarter. Senior punter Ben Skaer averaged 47 yards on seven attempts and three times pinned UTSA inside its own 10. Quarterback Cole Gautsche rushed for 118 yards on 16 carries.
What went wrong: The Lobos thought they could run inside the tackles against the Roadrunners, but it turns out they couldn’t; star running back Kasey Carrier was held to 54 yards on 20 carries and several times was stopped short of the first-down marker in short-yardage situations. The Lobos, among the nation’s leaders in time of possession last season, lost that battle and gave the UTSA offense too many chances to find its rhythm. Kicker Justus Adams missed a 42-yard third-quarter field goal that would have put the Lobos up 16-14. A failed two-point conversion attempt after UNM’s first TD could have been a major factor in the outcome, even though it wasn’t. Saturday’s announced crowd of 26,311 was more than 2,000 short of the attendance for last year’s opening game.
Injury report: Gautsche left the game late in the fourth quarter with concussion symptoms. His status for UTEP on Saturday is doubtful. Wide receiver/kick returner Chase Clayton likely will miss at least two weeks with a knee injury.
Quoting Davie: “I’m disappointed we couldn’t win at home, particularly with (no more home games until Sept. 28). But we’ll get another chance. We’ll get another chance to bring people into this stadium, and we’ll get another chance to show them down the road that we’re improved. So let’s just keep doing what we’re doing. We’ll win our share before all the dust settles.”
Next up: The Lobos will play UTEP on Saturday night in the Sun Bowl. The Miners, who went 3-9 last year, have a new coaching staff this season. They didn’t play this past weekend, so they’ll know far more about the Lobos than vice versa. This will be the 78th meeting between the two schools but the first since 2010.