UNLV Rebels 56, New Mexico Lobos 42
Up Next: New Mexico State at New Mexico Lobos -- Branch Field -- Saturday, 5 p.m. (MT)
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
It was a history-making game forged by a New Mexico option that racked up 497 rushing yards with the history coming from three Lobo backs cracking the 100-yard barrier.
Three in one game -- for the first time in New Mexico history.
The Lobos ended up with 581 total yards and ruled the clock by more than five minutes. However, the big-play Rebels ended up in control of the scoreboard, 56-42.
Lobo coach Bob Davie didn’t hide his frustrations – or his team’s need.
“At the end of the day, you got to be able to stop someone and you got to be able to make some plays,” he said. “We have to get better on defense. That is a humbling experience. We have to grow up on defense.
“That’s unheard of by me to rush for almost 500 yards and not win the football game. There were so many good things (on offense), so many positive things.”
The Lobos got 192 yards from Kasey Carrier, 119 yards from Carlos Wiggins and 108 from quarterback Cole Gautsche. UNM averaged 8.4 yards per carry. Wiggins had his 119 yards on three carries and caught two passes for 57 yards.
“Carlos is an explosive guy,” said Davie. “He continues to improve.”
The two Mountain West teams both ran 72 plays during the Saturday night on Branch Field with UNLV rolling out 568 yards with 248 coming on the ground and 320 coming through the air -- 293 yards from Caleb Herring’s arm, which went 25-of-34 with no picks and four scores. UNLV also scored four times on the ground.
“Give him a lot of credit,” Davie said of Herring. “He is a guy who a year ago was playing wide receiver, who started out the (2013) season the backup. Since he’s come on that field, they’ve been pretty much unstoppable.”
Both teams were pretty much unstoppable in the first half and played to a 35-35 halftime count. UNM had 400 yards rushing in the first half. Both defenses played better in the second half, but UNLV had the edge there holding UNM to 97 rushing yards in the second half.
The Lobos only scored once in the second half on a 43-yard pass from Gautsche to Wiggins that pulled UNM into a 42-42 tie. The Rebels reached the board twice in the fourth quarter. UNLV went up 49-42 with 4:46 to play on a 7-yard pass from Herring to Devante Davis, who had 10 catches for 164 yards and three scores.
After Vegas went up 49-42, the UNLV defense forced the Lobos to punt and UNLV had the ball with 3:03 to play while guarding that seven-point lead.
The Rebels Tim Cornett went around the right side of the UNM defense for 75 yards on the first play to seal the MW win for the visitors from Vegas. UNLV is 3-2 and 1-0 in league play while the Lobos fall to 1-3 and 0-1. Cornett finished with 179 rushing yards.
There were a few little things that turned out to be big things in this loss. The Lobos were penalized six times for 60 yards and UNLV had one flag for 10 yards. “We had a couple of personal fouls that just crushed us,” said Davie. “We are so vulnerable on defense that we can not have any mistakes. It’s humbling.”
The Lobos also fumbled three times and lost two of them while UNLV lost a lone fumble by Cornett.
“Physically, they are a good-looking football team,” said Davie. “But, man, to be able to move the ball like we moved on offense and not be able to win the game is frustrating. But we keep plugging away.”
The Lobos next play the New Mexico State Aggies, who are coming off a loss to San Diego State.
“The most important game of the year is next week,” Davie said of the rivalry with NMSU. “We’ll bounce back. We have no choice.”
Said Wiggins: “We just have to come back harder next week.”
FIRST HALF: New Mexico Lobos 35, UNLV Rebels 35
“I don’t know if I’ve been in a game like that,” said Davie. “That first half was just unbelievable. Both teams, every time they touched the ball, there was a chance to score.”
The Lobos rolled out 400 yards rushing in the first half with Carrier going for 147 yards on 16 carries. Gautsche and Wiggins each added 84 yards and Crusoe Gongbay had 57 yards. The Lobos got first-half touchdowns from Carrier, Wiggins (2), and Gautsche (2) to get their 35 points.
The Rebels had 308 first-half yards to 442 total for the Lobos, but like the Lobos didn’t have much trouble marching down the field. Herring was 10-of-14 in the half for 169 yards and two aerial scores. There was one punt in the first half – by the Rebels on their first possession.