Flashback: New Mexico bolts to a 21-0 lead, loses all but five of that, then puts together a victory-clinching, 75-yard, 6-minute drive in the fourth quarter to take a 35-23 Mountain West Conference victory over Hawaii in Honolulu.
What Went Right: Offensively, with a few variations, the Lobos adhered to the formula that has made them a winning team (4-3) through seven games. They rushed for 332 yards, dominated time of possession (38:32 minutes) and won the turnover battle 3-0. Junior running back Kasey Carrier alternately sprinted and blasted his way to 161 yards rushing on 35 carries; Hawaii had 27 carries as a team. True freshman quarterback Cole Gautsche had a 76-yard touchdown run. After Gautsche went out with a head injury, senior B.R. Holbrook engineered that crucial fourth-quarter drive. The New Mexico defense, bent but never broken by the Warriors, had a crucial defensive stand in the third quarter. Holbrook passed effectively when called upon, in particular a 33-yard completion to Chase Clayton on that key drive.
What Went Wrong: After the aforementioned defensive stand and the Gautsche touchdown, UNM let Hawaii back into the game with a touchdown on a 100-yard kickoff return. The Warriors were far more competitive against the Lobos than they’d been in blowout losses to Mountain West rivals Nevada and San Diego State.
Injury Report: Gautsche remained in Honolulu for observation after the game, but coach Bob Davie said his freshman quarterback was symptom-free Sunday with no recurring headaches. No other serious injuries were reported, although Davie said his team was “battered” after the physical contest.
Quoting Davie: “What we are is just really trying to find a way to win. Just a different way to win, different combinations of things. … We’re getting some different combinations in different ways from different guys.”
Next Up: After the long trip back from Honolulu, the Lobos (4-3 overall, 1-1 Mountain West) play another road game on Saturday against Air Force (3-3, 2-1). The Falcons beat host Wyoming, 28-27, last Saturday.
— This article appeared on page B6 of the Albuquerque Journal