Quarterback Cole Gautsche and running back Kasey Carrier, who together have accounted for almost 60 percent of the UNM football team’s offense this season, will sit out the Lobos’ final two games.
For Carrier, a senior, that means his much-decorated UNM career is over.
Both players, Lobos coach Bob Davie said Sunday evening, have exhibited concussion symptoms after taking blows to the head during UNM’s 66-42 loss to Colorado State on Saturday. Neither played in the second half.
“Obviously, we’re going to err on the side of caution,” Davie said. “They’re both out. … It’s really unfortunate for those guys.”
Davie said backup linebackers David Orvick and Tevin Newman also will miss the final two games. Starting offensive right guard Jamal Price (shoulder) “is 50-50,” Davie said. Senior linebacker Rashad Rainey, who left the CSU game with an injury but returned, also is questionable.
Other Lobos – starting defensive ends Brett Bowers and Fatu Ulale among them – are banged up but probably will play, Davie said, “when all the dust settles. There’s a whole list of those guys.”
The Lobos (3-7 overall, 1-5 in Mountain West play) finish the season with road games against 15th-ranked Fresno State and Boise State.
For Gautsche, a 6-foot-4, 227-pound sophomore from Cleveland High School in Rio Rancho, it’s the third time in his brief Lobos career that concussion symptoms have sidelined him. He missed last year’s game at Air Force with a injury sustained at Hawaii and sat out this season’s game at UTEP because of a shot to the head absorbed against UTSA.
Carrier, 5-9 185-pound fifth-year senior from Pearland, Texas, redshirted the 2011 season because of a nagging knee injury. But after missing the 2012 season opener, he has been the picture of durability as well as productivity.
Assuming he does not play again this season, Carrier will finish his career with 1,122 yards for the season and 3,233 yards, on 609 carries, for his career.
He ranks fifth on the UNM all-time career rushing list. If not for the injury, he likely would have passed Winslow Oliver (3,332) for fourth place.
Gautsche finishes the year with 777 yards rushing and 639 yards passing. He has passed for seven touchdowns, run for eight.
Between them, Gautsche and Carrier have accounted for 2,538 of the Lobos’ 4,384 total yards this season.
The Lobos have some experience and depth at both positions, in particular at running back. Junior Crusoe Gongbay and sophomore Jhurell Pressley have combined this season for 638 yards on 85 carries, a 7.5-yard average. True freshman Teriyon Gipson rushed six times for 48 yards and a touchdown against CSU.
At quarterback, junior Clayton Mitchem completed 5-of-8 passes for 116 yards Saturday in relief of Gautsche. Mitchem doesn’t run the triple option as well as Gautsche, but UNM showed against CSU the ability to run the ball without the threat of the option keep/pitch.
ENDING TOO SOON: Center Dillon Farrell and nose guard Jacori Greer, two of the 18 UNM seniors who played their last home game Saturday, expressed confidence that better days are ahead for the program.
They just wish they could be a part of it.
“It’s tough to face that reality (of his career coming to an end),” Farrell said, “because I see where our program’s headed. I really love it and I really would love to be part of it longer.
“But unfortunately, I’m just one little piece of this giant puzzle.”
Greer took one for the team this year, moving from defensive end to nose guard. At 270 pounds – he played defensive end last year at 255 – he’s not ideally suited for the job.
“I feel so bad for a guy like (Greer),” Davie said. “He’s out there and he’s playing nose at 270 pounds and he’s got a bunch of young kids around him.”
Greer has looked into the possibility of staying with the program as a graduate assistant.