That was coach Bob Davie’s assessment of the atmosphere in the losers’ locker room on Nov. 3, 2012, after his New Mexico Lobos’ 35-7 loss to UNLV in Las Vegas, Nev.
“They pounded us last year, they really did,” Davie said on Tuesday, four days before UNM’s homecoming rematch against the Rebels at University Stadium. “… You think back to that locker room after that game, that was brutal. That was a brutal feeling up there.”
It was a feeling the Lobos (1-2) fervently hope not to experience again Saturday.
Last year’s loss to UNLV was not, based strictly on margin of defeat, the Lobos’ worst of the season. They’d lost to Texas by 45 points, to Texas Tech by 35.
But the Lobos, with a 4-5 record entering the game and still harboring bowl-game hopes, got hammered at UNLV by a team with a 1-8 record. New Mexico did not win another game in 2012.
“We came in with high expectations and left with a bad taste in our mouth,” Lobos senior linebacker Dallas Bollema said after Tuesday’s practice.
After that game, Davie kept his players in the locker room for an unusually long time. Postgame interviews with freshman quarterback Cole Gautsche and senior safety Matt Raymer were brief and awkward.
“It was tough losing to them,” Gautsche said Tuesday. “… It was just disappointing.”
Was it the Lobos’ worst loss of 2012, regardless of the final margin?
“To say it was our worst performance is a little bit disrespectful to UNLV,” Davie said. “… But it was our most disappointing performance.”
Now, it appears, the UNLV team the Lobos will face Saturday is better by a considerable margin than the Rebels who routed them last November.
After lopsided losses to Minnesota and Arizona, the Rebels (2-2) trailed Central Michigan early. But a change at quarterback from sophomore Nick Sherry to senior Caleb Herring seemingly flipped a switch.
Since spotting Central Michigan a 21-0 lead, UNLV has outscored the Chippewas and Western Illinois 69-7.
Central Michigan and Western Illinois are not Minnesota and Arizona. Still, the Lobos need only to remember last Nov. 3 to know how good UNLV can be at its best.
As for Saturday’s game, Davie said, last year’s losing locker room really doesn’t matter.
“It’s about our preparation, and it’s about this whole week and last week (the Lobos didn’t play last Saturday),”he said. “But I think we all remember that game.
“I’m sure they (the Rebels) remember it. That’s why they’re going to come in pretty confident, as well they should.”
At UNLV last year, Gautsche directed an offense that produced 350 yards in total offense and held the ball for more than 41 minutes – yet produced only seven points.
“It’s been lingering in the back of all of our minds,” he said of last year’s game. “But we’re definitely moving on to this year and preparing for what we have to do.”
Bollema had four tackles against the Rebels last year – but was part of a defense that gave up a total of 530 yards.
“I just remember them making big plays,” he said. “That’s what we have to eliminate this Saturday.”
WHO’S THE QB: Davie said he’s in no hurry to determine which of his two “starting” quarterbacks – Gautsche or junior Clayton Mitchem – will start against UNLV.
He expects that both will play, he said, and figures UNLV is preparing for both. Gautsche is the better runner within UNM’s base option attack, and Mitchem is the better passer.
“I think it’s more (about) what we’re going to try and do early in the game schematically,” Davie said, “because (the two quarterbacks) are a little bit different.”
THE SEARCH CONTINUES: The Lobos have five scholarship quarterbacks on this year’s team who will have eligibility remaining next season, as well as a valued walk-on in junior David Vega. Yet, Davie said, he wouldn’t rule out recruiting a junior-college quarterback for 2014 in the quest to find someone who can do for UNM what Brett Smith is doing for Wyoming or what Derek Carr is doing for Fresno State.
Davie said he’s not saying that one of his current quarterbacks couldn’t become that person, but added, “You have to find just a dynamic guy at that position.”
MORE ON RECRUITING: Davie said the entire UNM coaching staff, himself included, was on the road recruiting last weekend – looking mostly in the junior-college ranks.
The Lobos have another Saturday off the weekend of Oct. 26. The plan then will be the same, he said.
“These two open dates are really important for us,” he said. “… We all know, at the end of the day, (recruiting is) the most critical thing as we move forward.”