A season of offensive futility came to its all-too-logical conclusion in Fort Collins, Colorado.
The New Mexico Lobos, held to just 133 yards in total offense, lost their season finale 17-0 to the Colorado State Rams on Friday afternoon.
The Lobos finish the season with a 2-10 record, winless (0-8) in Mountain West Conference play. Friday’s defeat extended three losing streaks: nine this season, 12 in Mountain West play dating to last season and 12 against Colorado State, a team the Lobos last beat in 2009.
The shutout was UNM’s second of the year. It was the fifth game this season in which the Lobos failed to cross the goal line.
Afterward, UNM coach Danny Gonzales led with the obvious.
“When you have 130 yards and score zero points,” he said, “You’re never going to win a game. We didn’t do anything offensively good enough to give us a chance.”
After UNM’s 27-14 loss to Wyoming on Oct. 8, Gonzales fired offensive coordinator Derek Warehime and appointed quarterbacks coach Heath Ridenour as the interim O-coordinator. The Lobos scored 41 points on two touchdowns and nine field goals in the remaining six games, all losses.
Gonzales said on Friday he hopes to hire a new offensive coordinator by mid- to late December.
On defense Friday, the Lobos matched goose eggs with CSU (3-9, 3-5) for the game’s first 26½ minutes before the Rams put together a five-play, 75-yard drive capped by a 21-yard Clay Millen-to-Justus Ross-Simmons touchdown pass.
New Mexico kicker Luke Drzewiecki missed a 46-yard field goal on the final play of the first half.
After Lobo quarterback CJ Montes fumbled while being sacked, Colorado State’s Michael Boyle kicked a 22-yard field goal to give the Rams a 10-0 lead with six seconds left in the third quarter.
A 41-yard Millen-to-Tory Horton touchdown pass with 6:04 left in the game finished the scoring.
Montes, making his third career start, was 12-of-27 passing for 62 yards. He was sacked five times.
The Colorado State defense, Lobos offensive tackle JC Davis said, sometimes brought more pass rushers than UNM had blockers. But Gonzales said Montes could have avoided the rush at times by simply stepping up in the pocket.
“That comes along with experience and practice and being better, obviously, at throwing the football,” Gonzales said.
Bright spots? True freshman running back Christian Washington rushed for 88 yards on 18 carries. Sophomore linebacker Cody Moon was in on eight tackles, becoming the first Lobo in eight years to have 100-plus tackles (105) in a season.
Moon, a Volcano Vista graduate, also had a sack, two tackles for loss, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery.
“I’m excited to be able to put the stats up that I did,” Moon said, “but winning is what I want to do.”
Toward that end, in recruiting, Gonzales said he first needs to determine who and how many among players with eligibility remaining choose to stay in this era of the transfer portal — and how many he might advise to move on.
“Then you address your recruiting needs,” he said. “… If we can score some points and keep the defense off the field, we can obviously be competitive instantly, where we have an opportunity to win games.
“And not end up like we are right now.”