Flashback: Blame it on the fourth-quarter turnover. Blame it on the two first-quarter turnovers. Blame it on the defense. Blame it on the Bossa Nova. Bottom line, the New Mexico Lobos can’t quite keep up with Wyoming quarterback Brett Smith and fall 38-31 to the Cowboys in Laramie.
What went right: The Lobos (2-4 overall, 0-2 in Mountain West Conference play) could have tucked tail when they fell behind 21-0 just 15 minutes and 45 seconds into the game, but those days appear to be over. UNM fought back to the tie the score at 24 early in the fourth quarter. The Lobos’ special-teams play was just that, special, and the beleaguered defense managed to hold the potent Wyoming offense to just a field goal for a period of 33 minutes, 41 seconds. Sophomore quarterback Cole Gautsche passed more effectively than in any other game during his career and had a 49-yard touchdown run. Small but tough senior running back Kasey Carrier would not be denied his 11th career 100-yard rushing game.
What went wrong: When the defense wasn’t holding the Cowboys to three points in 33:41, they were giving up 35 in the other 26:19 — and a total of 532 yards. The turnovers — two fumbles, one interception — were too much for this tough yet fragile team to overcome.
Injury report: Gautsche injured a knee on the Lobos’ final possession of the game. Coach Bob Davie said the injury is believed to be a sprain — no cartilage or ligament damage. Gautsche’s availability for Saturday’s game against Utah State is undetermined.
Quoting Davie: “As far as the character of this team and the resiliency of this team, I think we have all that. We need to find a way to win; it’s that simple.
Next up: The Lobos will host Mountain West newcomer Utah State (3-4, 2-1) at 7 p.m. Saturday. The Aggies, who lost star quarterback Chuckie Keeton for the season on Oct. 5, fell to Boise State 34-23 on Saturday.