Lobos lose to San Diego State (w/postgame video) - Albuquerque Journal

Lobos lose to San Diego State (w/postgame video)

New Mexico receiver Delane Hart-Johnson makes a one-handed touchdown grab in the corner of the end zone ahead of San Diego State’s Darren Hall to give his team a fourth-quarter lead. But the Aztecs scored the game’s final 17 points and won 31-23. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

A win it desperately needed slipped away from New Mexico’s football team late in the fourth quarter as San Diego State rallied for a 31-23 victory at Dreamstyle Stadium Saturday night.

The Lobos (3-6, 1-4 Mountain West Conference), 10-point underdogs, lost their fourth straight game.

They went ahead 23-14 with just a little over 10 minutes remaining, but the Aztecs (7-2, 4-1), guided by former UNM coach and quarterback Rocky Long, responded in a big way to grab the victory in front of an announce crowd of 14,606 that looked maybe a little over half that size.

Long continued his dominance in the Lobos-Aztecs series, winning his 15th straight game, eight in a row as the UNM coach, and seven consecutive now as either the Aztecs defensive coordinator or head coach.

UNM coach Bob Davie, right, and San Diego State coach Rocky Long meet at game’s end. Long, himself a former Lobos coach, has been on the winning side of this series for 15 consecutive games. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

SDSU outgained the Lobos 401-142, but only took control by taking advantage of  UNM mistakes late in the game, including an interception thrown by quarterback Coltin Gerhart, who had been playing a gritty game, if not great, before that. Gerhart, in his first start, was 9-of-20 passing for only 41 yards, but two touchdowns.

Tailback Juwan Washington bolstered the Aztecs with his return after missing six games with a broken clavicle. His 50-yard touchdown run completed the comeback in a 95-yard rushing effort.

The Aztecs took their first lead of the game with 8:09 left in the third quarter.  Washington showed off his speed during a 34-yard touchdown run.

SDSU was aided by Lobo Tyson Dyer’s 30-yard punt that set up the Aztecs at UNM’s 43.

But the Lobos regained the lead, with help from their defense. D’Angelo Ross knocked the ball loose from SDSU freshman running back Jordan Byrd (Manzano High alumnus) and Rhashaun Epting recovered the fumble at Aztecs’ 13. Byrd rushed four times for 10 yards.

Gerhart later hit Anselem Umeh in the back of the end zone for a 12-yard touchdown. Umeh, the team’s third leading receiver, missed last week’s game to attend his older sister wedding.

Gerhart started his first game of the season. He directed a conservative offense, to put it mildly. But Gerhart still threw two touchdown passes from 12 yards out and another from 4 yards away.

Gerhart threw the ball just eight times in the first half, for four completions and minus-8 yards.

Gerhart took over junior quarterback Sheriron Jones, who had started the six previous games. Jones entered the season as the Lobos’ No. 3 QB, but injuries moved him to the top of the depth chart.

Tevaka Tuioti went down with a broken clavicle against Liberty Sept. 29 and his back-up Gerhart suffered a sprained foot in the season opener.

The Lobos got off to a strong start, scoring on a defensive touchdown to get ahead 7-0 less than five minutes into the game.

SDSU quarterback Ryan Agnew tried to extend a play and drifted toward UNM’s sideline. But he ended up holding on to the ball too long, as UNM LB Alex “Mo” Vainikolo caused a fumble that bounced perfectly into the arms of defensive lineman Adebayo Soremekun, and the big guy, all 6-foot-2, 298 pounds of him, rumbled down the sideline 44 yards for a touchdown.

The Aztecs came right back with a strong 14-play, 75-yard drive that ended with tailback Chase Jasmin running in for a 5-yard touchdown to make it 7-7. SDSU converted on a 4th-and-1 and a 3rd-and-9. Jasmin’s touchdown run came on a third down, too.

From there, the teams traded punts until the Lobo defense again stepped up with a big play.

Soremekun recovered another fumble; this time he just fell on the ball after defensive end Cody Baker knocked it loose from SDSU tailback Juwan Washington at his own 35-yard line.

Three plays later, redshirt freshman placekicker Andrew Shelley drilled a 41-yard field goal.

It was an eventful week for the Lobos, who had to deal with the suspension Tuesday of senior linebacker Evahelotu Tohi, the team’s leading tackler.

Tohi was involved in an altercation with teammate David Brown, who was left in the hospital after being punched at least twice Saturday night after UNM’s 61-19 loss to Utah State, according to a police report.

In addition, Davie had to answer questions about his future with the team.

“Now’s not the time really for that conversation,” he said Tuesday.

The Lobos also played Saturday without playmaking free safety Marcus Hayes, who suffered concussion symptoms in the first quarter of UNM’s loss at Utah State.

NEXT SATURDAY: New Mexico at Air Force

1:30 pm., CBS Sports Network, 770 AM/94.5 FM

Box score: SDSU 31, UNM 23

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

Nativo Sponsored Content

taboola desktop


Lobos face surprise of the Mountain West Saturday at ...
The ball sails freely in that ... The ball sails freely in that cold, thin air of Laramie, Wyoming.And as the University ...
Twins subplot aside, Lobos' Duffs prioritize getting the victory
Twin showdown, double trouble, twice the ... Twin showdown, double trouble, twice the fun ...The Duff and Cavinder sisters have und ...
Garvey tells Lobos their upward journey can begin here, ...
When Steve Garvey first came to ... When Steve Garvey first came to Albuquerque in 1969 as a fresh-faced 20-year-old in just his second ...
Lobos begin indoor T&F stretch with MLK Jr. invitational ...
The University of New Mexico men's ... The University of New Mexico men's and women's track and field programs begin their four-weekend stretch of home meets Saturday with the Dr. Martin ...
Lobo Javonte Johnson has shown potential to dominate, or ...
ABQnews Seeker
Javonte Johnson has shown he can ... Javonte Johnson has shown he can be a high level scorer or disappear from the offense altogether. He and the Lobos seek scoring consistency. ...
Sam Houston State annihilates New Mexico State men
So much for the Western Athletic ... So much for the Western Athletic Conference's new schools holding down the old guard. For one Thursday night at least, the WAC's blue bloods ...
Dad goes the extra mile(s) for Lobo De La ...
Jaedyn De La Cerda has racked ... Jaedyn De La Cerda has racked up some eye-popping numbers over five seasons with the University of N ...
Eastern New Mexico to revive men's soccer program
After a two-year hiatus, men's soccer ... After a two-year hiatus, men's soccer is back at Eastern New Mexico, the school announced on Thursday. Men's soccer at ENMU was dropped after ...
Emptying the Notebook: Return of longball gives Lobos a ...
ABQnews Seeker
Here are some extra notes, quotes, ... Here are some extra notes, quotes, videos, stats and other odds & ends from Wednesday's Lobo basketball game at Colorado State