New Mexico to try to end 5-game skid with run game - Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico to try to end 5-game skid with run game

UNM running back Bobby Cole runs the ball during last Saturday’s game against Colorado State.
(Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Mired in an offensive slump, the University of New Mexico football team will look to its run game to pull it out.

It’s a strategy that worked last year when the Lobos were on a five-game losing streak with its fourth and fifth option at quarterback against Wyoming.

This time, New Mexico (2-5, 0-3 Mountain West) might be without its starting quarterback, Terry Wilson, for the second straight game as he is recovering from an elbow injury on his left, non-throwing arm.

Wilson will be a game-time decision Gonzales said after Wednesday’s practice. And even if he’s ready the second-year head coach wants to establish the run when the Lobos face Wyoming (4-2, 0-2) in Laramie on Saturday.

“We have to be able to run the ball and pop some plays here and there,” Gonzales said of what the UNM offense needs. “We have not been able to do that. We have to stay committed to that. We’ll be committed to it. We’re going to run the ball. We need to get some guys up front with some push. We need the running backs to make people miss.”

Last year vs Wyoming, running back Bobby Cole ran for 131 yards on 22 carries, part of the team’s 223 rushing yards, and he had a 44-yard touchdown reception in the Lobos’ 17-16 win over the Cowboys. Cole followed that up with another big-time performance: 138 yards and three touchdowns on 18 carries to help lead UNM to a 49-39 win over Fresno State.

This year, Cole is second on the team with 266 yards on 73 carries and one touchdown.

“When things don’t go how you want it to go, you have a decision to make,” Cole said. “We just have to make the decision to make the best out of it and attack it.

“How we react is going to expose our character and expose who we are as men. It’s an exciting challenge.”

Last week in a 36-7 loss to Colorado State, the Lobos actually ran for 109 yards, but finished with 53 net yards after losing 56 yards in sacks and tackles for loss. New Mexico produced 69 yards of offense, the second-lowest in program history and the fewest in a league game.

The Lobos’ offense has gone two straight games without a touchdown. UNM now ranks 130th, and last, in the nation, averaging 253.6 yards per game

“We’ve been playing more physical in practice trying to prepare better for games, but we need to deliver, man,” said freshman running back Aaron Dumas, who leads the Lobos with 352 yards on 71 carries. “We’ve been getting shut out. We just need to deliver, that’s all I need to say. Just put our best foot forward and just get at it.”

UNM running back Aaron Dumas, shown last week against Colorado State, hopes to do his part to spark the Lobo offense going forward. (Roberto E. Rosales/Journal)

Dumas has yet to score his first collegiate touchdown and top the century mark in a game, things he did with frequency while starring at Americas High in El Paso.

In his 26 varsity high school games, he rushed for over 100 yards each time. He rushed for 57 touchdowns with 36 coming in his junior year when he ran for 3,184 yards.

He remembers his junior year well because he learned a valuable lesson of perseverance. In his sophomore season, Americas struggled with a 5-6 record, but the next year the team went 10-2 and earned two playoff wins.

“We definitely have to stay the course,” Dumas said. “I’m behind my guys and I know they’re behind me.

“I’m going to come out here and give my all for these guys every day. … No matter what it takes I just want to get out there and win for this program.”

Dumas said he has learned more about the speed of the college game, something he dealt with earlier in the season.

But there is still room to grow, he said.

“I definitely still need a lot of improvement,” Dumas said. “… I need to deliver more for my team. I’v-e been pretty consistent, but I need to do more, and more and more each time if we want to put ourselves in the best position to win.”

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