ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — It’s a new season, but the same results for the University of New Mexico football team.The Lobos struggled on offense, plagued by four missed field-goal attempts (one blocked), and suffered their 13th straight loss dating to last year, falling 28-0 to Air Force in Colorado Springs on Friday night.
It was UNM’s first shutout since 2017 when the Lobos lost to Fresno State, 38-0.
The Lobos’ 13-game losing streak is the second longest in the country. UNM (0-4) also extended its losing streak in the Mountain West Conference to 19 games. That is the nation’s longest current conference losing streak.
The Falcons’ vaunted triple-option rushing attack overwhelmed the Lobos. Air Force (2-2) rushed for 356 yards to help give Falcons coach Troy Calhoun his 100th career win, all with Air Force. Brad Roberts led Air Force with 177 yards and three touchdowns on 28 carries.
UNM coach Danny Gonzales, in his first year as the head man of his alma mater, lamented preparing to play against Air Force when the week began, especially on a short week. He said he couldn’t get the right looks from the UNM scout team trying to impersonate the Falcons’ triple-option attack during practices in Las Vegas, Nevada.
For the past three weeks, the Lobos have been in Las Vegas to be able to train and practice so that they can compete in an unprecedented college football season. They left Albuquerque, where COVID-19 positive case numbers continue to rise and the public health order would restrict them from practicing or competing.
UNM’s defense did force and recover three fumbles, but each resulted in subsequent missed field-goal attempts, two by George Steinkamp and another by Andrew Shelley.
The Lobos were without starting quarterback Tevaka Tuoioti, who did not gain clearance to play Friday night. He missed his second straight game after sustaining a concussion late in the 39-33 loss at Hawaii on Nov. 7.
Trae Hall started for the second straight week. He threw for 221 yards, on 23-for-42 passing with one interception.
Steinkamp had a 50-yard field goal blocked to end the first half, when Air Force led 21-0. He also missed field-goal attempts from 37 and 51 yards. Shelley missed from 40 yards to end the third quarter.
UNM defensive lineman Joey Noble forced a fumble by quarterback Haaziq Danniels that New Mexico defensive back Jerrick Reed recovered.
UNM defensive back Patrick Peek recovered a fumble forced by defensive back Nico Bolden.
Bolden forced another fumble that was recovered by Noble.
Air Force established the run early in the game, scoring on its first offensive possession. It was a sign of things to come. The Falcons drove 86 yards on 11 plays, all rushes, capped by a 4-yard touchdown run by Daniels.
After forcing the Lobos on a three-and-out, Air Force then went 72 yards in 10 plays to go up 14-0.
The Falcons extended their lead to 21-0 with 5:07 left before halftime.