During the past two weeks, the University of New Mexico (2-5, 0-3 Mountain West) has scored two touchdowns, one in each loss to San Diego State and Colorado State, but with zero points from the offense.
Freshman linebacker Ray Leutele delivered a strip, scoop and score for a 15-yard fumble return in a 31-7 loss to the Aztecs in Carson, California, on Oct. 9.
Last week, freshman wide receiver Luke Wysong, like Leutele, also scored his first collegiate touchdown, his coming on a 63-yard punt return in the Lobos’ 36-7 loss to CSU.
New Mexico’s offense struggled in both games, losing senior quarterback Terry Wilson to an elbow injury late against SDSU, and against CSU recorded the lowest offensive-yard total (69) in a Mountain West game.
Danny Gonzales, the Lobos’ second-year head coach, Gonzales insists there is no bickering or divisive behavior shown toward New Mexico’s struggling offense. Gonzales said he’s grateful for that, and for the Lobos’ “right attitude,” as they head into their matchup against Wyoming (4-2, 0-2).
Both teams are struggling.
UNM, a 20-point underdog in this game, has lost five in a row, while the Cowboys have lost two straight.
“They’ve been disappointed because they haven’t been playing well,” Gonzales said of his players. “But they haven’t been arguing with each other. If that creeps in, then you got other issues. Hopefully we’ll play better on offense this week. But you can’t be complaining and arguing when you give up 36 points as a defense.”
Gonzales wants the Lobos to react with a more competitive effort than what has been shown during the past five losses. Last year, UNM began its 2-5 season with five straight losses. Coincidentally, they faced Wyoming after those five losses.
Gonzales said the Lobos were more competitive during last year’s losing streak.
“Unfortunately we beat Wyoming last year so there’s no sneaking up on them,” Gonzales said. “They know we’re going to be tough kids and battle our tails off. They just got shut out by a team so they are going to come out and give their best effort against a team they think they should’ve beat last year … The bulletin board material we gave Colorado State last week, they don’t need that; 17-16 win that will be posted all over their building. They have a lot of incentive to come and play.”
Colorado State used UNM freshman quarterback CJ Montes’ words as motivation. Gonzales said Montes’ words were arrogant and he took responsibility for not instructing Montes to refrain from such talk: “Schematically, we should run through these guys. What (offensive coordinator Derek Warehime) has for us, I think we should blow these guys out,” Montes said.
This week, the UNM quarterbacks were not available to the media, the school saying it was because of the uncertainty of who will start.
Wilson is a game-time decision. If he’s ruled out, Gonzales will start Montes or Isaiah Chavez. Chavez, a Rio Rancho High product, led the Lobos to wins over Wyoming and Fresno State to end the 2020 season.
The Cowboys are also dealing with decisions at quarterback. Coach Craig Bohl reopened the competition for the Cowboys’ starting QB between Sean Chambers and Levi Williams after Chambers threw three interceptions in a 17-0 loss last Saturday to Fresno State. The starter is expected to be revealed at game time.
The Lobos also have a game-time decision for senior linebacker Reco Hannah, who returned last week after recovering from knee surgery. Hannah, who has played in two games, is expected to play in two more games and return next year as a redshirt senior.