Lobo Defense Solid in 21-10 Loss at Nevada
RENO, Nev. — New Mexico’s defense was up to the task, but Nevada’s only third down conversion of the fourth quarter went for a back-breaking touchdown, and the Wolf Pack moved within a win of bowl eligibility with a 21-10 victory at Mackay Stadium in Reno. With the loss, New Mexico dropped to 2-7, and will not qualify for a bowl game for a third consecutive season.
Felled of late by poor starts, UNM opened the game with its longest drive of the season, going 90 yards in nine plays, with Ahmari Davis going over from four yards out for a 7-0 lead. It stayed 7-0 until midway through the second quarter, when Nevada put together a 15-play, 80-yard drive that saw a fourth down conversion. Toa Taua bulled over from a yard out with 7:50 to go to tie the game at 7-7. After a three-and-out, Nevada got a big third down conversion and then Carson Strong hit Romeo Doubs in stride for a 57-yard touchdown at the 5:08 mark for a 14-7 lead, which carried into halftime.
After that score, UNM’s Andrew Shelley was just short on a 53-yard field goal, a kick that probably goes in if not for an inadvertent whistle that blew a play dead at the 36-yard line that would have made the 53-yard attempt a 50-yarder.
Nevada threatened for more, but in the final minute, UNM held on a fourth down play from inside the 10, taking it to halftime.
UNM moved the ball once again on the opening drive of the second half, and Shelley connected this time, hitting from 49 yards out to make it 14-10. UNM had a chance to get closer, but Ahmari Davis on fourth-and-1 was stopped just short of the line to gain.
All the while, UNM’s defense was solid, allowing just nine yards in the third quarter and one first down. However, with 5:35 to go in the fourth, Strong hit Elijah Cooks for a 20-yard touchdown, and that was the back-breaker that put the game out of reach. UNM drove to the Nevada 40 in the final minutes, but four straight incompletions sealed the deal.
Postgame Notes: Nevada 21, New Mexico 10
This was the eighth meeting between the two teams.
Nevada now leads 4-3-1
Nevada now leads 3-0-1 in Reno
New Mexico leads 3-1 in Albuquerque
Nevada has now won one straight in the series
Nevada has now won three in a row in Reno
Starting lineup changes for UNM from published two-deep
Offense: Anu Somoye started for Jordan Kress.
*New Mexico’s captains were Alex Hart, Kyle Stapley and Trent Sellers
*UNM won the toss and deferred. UNM kicked off to start the game, defending the north goal. UNM is now 5-4 on the coin toss.
*Micah Gray carried the New Mexico flag onto the field for the Lobos.
*New Mexico led at the end of the first quarter for only the second time this season, the other being the season opener against Sam Houston State. The last lead against an FBS team at the end of the first quarter was on September 8, 2018 when UNM led No. 5 Wisconsin 7-3 after one.
*UNM’s 90-yard drive to open the game was the longest of the season for the Lobos, topping an 87-yard touchdown drive last week against Hawai’i.
*UNM failed in its bid to comeback after trailing after three quarters. UNM’s last such win was 10/3/2015 when UNM trailed New Mexico State 26-14 and won 38-29. UNM has now lost 29 straight games when trailing after three.
*Neither team recorded a takeaway in the game for the first time this season.
*UNM allowed two sacks. In nine games this season, UNM has allowed no sacks in four, and two sacks exactly in the other five.
*During it’s six-game losing streak, UNM’s first half point totals are 14, 7, 7, 7, 3 and 0.
*Andrew Shelley hit a 49-yard field goal, his fourth of the season from 48 yards or longer.
*Marcus Williams caught a career-high six passes for a career-high 74 yards.
*Mo Vainikolo recorded a career-high 4.5 tackles for loss, totaling a career-best 32 yards in losses
*Ahmari Davis had 80 yards rushing and now has 823 on the season in just eight games.
*Tyson Dyer, who entered the game leading the nation in punts inside the 20 with 25, added three more on six punts.