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Lobo football recap

Flashback: The Lobos rally from a horrid first half, but an injury to quarterback Cole Gautsche and three turnovers in the final 5 minutes result in a 31-24 opening game loss to UTEP at University Stadium.
What went right: Gautsche was brilliant in the running game before his injury, finishing with 184 yards rushing with touchdown carries of 68 and 51 yards. As a team, the Lobos rushed for 410 yards; after one game, they rank fifth in the nation in that department. The defense, hapless in the first half, held the Miners to a single touchdown – that one gift-wrapped by a fumbled punt – and 123 yards (with an impressive goal-line stand) in the second. Junior kicker Zack Rogers, a walk-on from Rio Rancho playing in his first game, hit a 35-yard field goal and punted twice for a 58-yard average. The Lobos could have folded after that terrible first half; they didn’t.
What went wrong: Other than Gautsche’s long touchdown run, the Lobos did virtually nothing right in the first half. The Miners blew the UNM defensive front off the line of scrimmage and found huge holes in the Lobos’ pass defense. On offense, UNM was tentative and out of sync during the first two quarters. Then came the three fourth-quarter turnovers – a fumbled pitch by Jhurell Pressley, a muffed punt by Dameon Gamblin, an interception thrown by Clayton Mitchem – that killed the rally and enabled the Miners to put this one away. The passing game, worked on relentlessly in the preseason, was rarely productive. Gautsche missed a wide-open Reece White for what would have been a big gain – perhaps a touchdown – on UNM’s first possession of the game.
Injury report: Gautsche (hamstring) is expected to miss Saturday’s game against Arizona State. Davie said he hopes to have him back for New Mexico State on Sept. 20 after a bye week on the 13th. Junior cornerback Cranston Jones injured an elbow. “It doesn’t look good,” Davie said.
Quoting Davie: “We played hard. We came out in the second half and took it to ’em. We just made too many mistakes. … (UTEP) deserved to win the game.”
Next Up: Arizona State, ranked 19th in The Associated Press preseason poll, comes to University Stadium on Saturday (5:05 p.m., CBS Sports Network). ASU opened with a 45-14 rout of Football Championship Subdivision foe Weber State. The Sun Devils led 31-0 at halftime and 45-7 after three quarters, then took their foot off the gas. The up-tempo ASU offense ran 84 plays, picked up 32 first downs and finished with 570 yards total offense.


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