BOISE, Idaho – Midway through the second quarter Saturday night, TV cameras caught University of New Mexico football coach Bob Davie covering his eyes with one hand.
A few moments later Davie showed an expression of disbelief. He was reacting to a play when no one on the UNM offense moved after quarterback Tevaka Tuioti took the snap.
That play, and Davie’s reaction, typified the Lobos’ inauspicious start. No. 19-ranked Boise State capitalized, built a big lead and defeated UNM 42-9 in front of an announced crowd of 31,492 at Albertsons Stadium.
Jaylon Henderson threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns, Sonatane Lui had two fumble recoveries, including one for a score, and the Broncos (9-1, 6-0) stayed alone atop the Mountin Division of the Mountain West Conference.
The Lobos (2-8, 0-6) playing in their first game since the unexpected death of 21-year-old defensive lineman, Nahje Flowers, lost their seventh straight contest.
The Lobos’ team captains – Alex Hart, Kyle Stapley, Trent Sellers and Aaron Blackwell – held out the jersey of Flowers as they walked out to midfield for the coin toss.
A moment of silence for Flowers took place after the coin toss before the game.
UNM players’ helmets had two decals on the back in remembrance of Flowers, the No. 93 in black and an image of Flowers.
Before the game, UNM football’s Twitter account posted a photo of the helmet and a photo of Flowers’ jersey at a locker room stall at Boise State, with the message: “As we wear all white tonight, we have Nahje with us, in the locker room and on the field.”
Flowers’ cause of death on Nov. 5 was determined to be by suicide, according to a police report. UNM’s home game with Air Force, scheduled for Nov. 9, was postponed to this coming Saturday in order to allow the program time to grieve Flowers’ death.
The Lobos had a rough start against Boise State, which deferred to kick off to begin the game after winning the coin toss.
Boise State’s defense then scored on the first play of the game. BSU nose tackle Lui recovered a Tuioti fumble and ran it back 24 yards for the touchdown.
Defensive end Chase Hatada forced the fumble that began a 28-0 run for the Broncos in the first quarter.
The Lobos lost running back Ahmari Davis to a leg injury early in the first quarter. Running back Micah Gray, a Clovis High grad, scored UNM’s lone touchdown on a 1-yard run late in the fourth quarter. It was his first career touchdown.
UNM showed strong effort during the second quarter. Its defense allowed only 39 yards in the second quarter and held the Broncos scoreless.
But the majority of the damage was done already.
Henderson, the Broncos’ No. 3 quarterback, threw a 51-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver John Hightower for a 28-0 lead with seven seconds left in the first quarter. He was playing in place of starter Hank Bachmeier, a true freshman, who missed his third game of the season with an undisclosed injury.
Henderson looked plenty motivated to thrive on Senior Night for the Broncos. He threw for 157 yards and two touchdowns, completing 7 of his 9 passes, in the opening quarter. Hightower caught three passes for 114 yards and one touchdown in the first quarter.
Henderson also connected with Khalil Shakir for an 18-yard touchdown with 3:24 left in the first quarter. BSU wide receiver Octavius Evans scored on a 17-yard run from a reverse for a 14-0 lead.