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Lobos’ Owens hopes to keep running after season finale

Tyrone Owens scores against New Mexico State earlier this season in Las Cruces. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Tyrone Owens, the New Mexico running back of few words, knows exactly what he’s going to do after the Lobos’ season finale Saturday.

Owens, who is No. 9 on the UNM all-time rushing list with 2,654 career rushing yards, has his sights set on the NFL. There’s no reason to think about arena, Canadian or any other type of football league.

“I’m training, getting ready for pro day and for whatever else comes,” Owens said of his plans. “To be ready for the next level.”

Owens is one of 22 seniors who will be recognized Saturday on Senior Day at Dreamstyle Stadium, where the Lobos (3-8, 1-6 in the Mountain West Conference) will face Wyoming (5-6, 3-4).

This season, Owens, a 5-9, 188-pound running back from Manor, Texas, has led UNM in rushing with 669 yards and six touchdowns on 174 carries.

Off the field, Owens is known as a quiet type who keeps to himself, UNM coach Bob Davie said. Owens has a strong love for football that has enabled him to endure “a lot of ups and downs,” Davie said.

After Wednesday’s practice, Davie had Owens call the break of the team huddle.

Owens has dealt with the adversity of back-to-back losing seasons, which came after a sensational sophomore year when he ran for 1,038 yards and helped the Lobos to a New Mexico Bowl game victory. That 2016 season was on the top of Owens’ highlights, he said, when the Lobos led the nation in rushing, averging 350 yards per game and led the nation in rushing yards per carry.

This past offseason, Owens also saw the game taken away from him as he had to sit out during the spring for academic reasons.

He didn’t let the story end there. Still, the losses again this season took a toll on him. He said the challenging season taught him to appreciate the game even more than he did.

“He has a unique personality,” Davie said. “A bit of a loner. Doesn’t say much. I’ve coached a lot of guys and he’s one of the most unique guys.”

Owens said he wants to be remembered as a great player who was effective for the team.

STILL OUT: UNM senior linebacker Evahelotu Tohi will remain on suspension and will not play in Saturday’s game, Davie said.

Davie would not comment further on Tohi’s status.

Tohi, who led the Lobos in tackles and stepped up greatly when teammate and fellow linebacker Alex Hart suffered a season-ending injury, was suspended for being involved in an altercation with teammate David Brown and Brown was left in the hospital on Oct. 27. Tohi will miss his fourth straight game. No charges were filed on Tohi after a police report was made that included Brown’s mother, who was not present during the incident that reportedly took place at a party.

THANKSGIVING: The Lobos will practice in the morning today and then feast together during a Thanksgiving lunch afterward, Davie said.

The Lobos won’t practice Friday morning so that the players can spend time with their families, and instead will practice at 4 p.m.

Davie said several families are making the trip to Albuquerque for Thanksgiving and to attend the Lobos’ season finale.

MONDAY NIGHT MADNESS: The thrilling, high-scoring Monday Night Football game featuring the Los Angeles Rams and the Kansas City Chiefs was must-watch TV for UNM quarterback Sheriron Jones.

He said he had to watch. Two of his former roommates from his days at the University of Tennessee have ties to the Rams and Chiefs. The Rams drafted running back John Kelly in the sixth round, and the Chiefs selected offensive lineman Kahlil McKenzie in the same round. Both were inactive for the game.

Jones said he also enjoyed watching the game because of the young quarterbacks, Jared Goff and Patrick Mahomes, at play.

“I like to watch those guys do their thing because they are closer to my age,” Jones said. “… It was a great game. I loved watching that game.”



Wyoming at UNM

12:30 p.m., AT&T SportsNet, 770 AM/94.5 FM