"I thought our effort was pretty good, but we still have to cut down on mistakes like penalties and turnovers," said interim head coach George Barlow after the game. "Those same things came back again in the third quarter," he said. "I thought maybe we had gotten over the hump, but… We have to step outside the box that we have put ourselves in."
Neither team did well in their first two possessions, but after the Lobos' second punt San Diego State (5-3, 2-2) was able to get a 10-play, 66-yard drive capped by a one-yard run by Walter Kazee to take a 7-0 first quarter lead.
The Aztecs added to the lead at the 10:18 mark of the second quarter when Kazee scored his second touchdown, a six-yard scamper that capped a 11-play, 89-yard drive to give SDSU a 14-0 lead.
Instead of folding, the Lobos responded with a long drive of their own.
Junior quarterback B.R. Holbrook marched the Lobos 80 yards in nine plays on to pull UNM into a 14-7 deficit at the half. Freshman Crusoe Gongbay capped the drive with a six-yard run with 32 seconds left to play in the half.
"It was a big-time spark," said Barlow of that scoring drive. "I thought the kids were motivated , excited and focused. But we have to come out in the third quarter and do the same thing."
Instead the Lobo offense went 3-and-out on the first possession of the third quarter and the Aztecs and needed just six plays to drive 32 yards for their third touchdown of the game to give SDSU a 21-7 lead.
The Aztecs then put the game away. Aztec defensive back Leon McFadden went up high to intercept a Holbrook pass on the next possession and the Aztecs needed just four plays to scored again to make it 28-7 with a one-yard run by Ronnie Hillman. SDSU scored its final touchdown on its first possession of the fourth quarter, taking the total to 35-7.
Gongbay led the Lobos with 73 yards on 15 carries. Holbrook finished with 10-of-20 passing for 88 yards and two interceptions.
Senior Carmen Messina again proved to be the bellweather for the defense, making 14 solo tackles and 15 tackles overall and one sack. Senior Bubba Forrest had eight and sophomore Dallas Bollema had seven. Forrest and Bollema each had five solo tackles.
UNM falls to 0-9 for the season and 0-4 in conference. The Lobos play their final home game of the season this Saturday, Nov. 12 versus UNLV at 8 p.m. The game will be televised by The Mtn. and broadcast on the Lobo Radio Network, including flagship station 770 AM KKOB.