Boise State Downs Lobos 42-9
BOISE, Idaho — New Mexico quarterback Tevaka Tuioti fumbled on the opening play of the game and Boise State’s Sonatane Lui scooped and scored from 24 yards out, setting up a first quarter for the Broncos that put the game away early, as UNM lost 42-9 in Boise in UNM’s first game since the death of defensive lineman Nahje Flowers.
The loss dropped UNM to 2-8 overall and 0-6 in the conference, and it was UNM’s seventh straight loss. For Boise State, the No. 19 Broncos improved to 9-1 overall and 6-0 in the conference. BSU travels to Utah State next week while UNM heads home for its final two games against Air Force and Utah State.
The game started on an emotional note as both teams lined up along the respective sidelines, linked arm-and-arm as there was a moment of silence for Flowers, who died a week ago Tuesday. UNM’s captains were at midfield and held Flowers’ jersey aloft, and each helmet had a round black sticker with Flowers’ 93 inside of it on the back left of the helmet. On the back right was a sticker that was an actual picture of Flowers.
UNM then had disaster strike on the first play from scrimmage as Tuioti was hit by Chase Hatada on an option read and lost the ball, where Lui scooped it up and raced untouched from 24 yards out. It was one of two fumble recoveries for him in the half.
Up 7-0, Boise State forced a Lobo punt and Tyson Dyer pinned BSU at the three with a perfect 59-yard punt, but BSU went all 97 yards in eight plays, the last 17 by Octavius Evans on a reverse after an end around.
BSU made it 21-0 with 3:24 left in the first quarter when Khalil Shakir took a flip from Jaylon Henderson on a jet sweep that went as a forward pass for an 18-yard touchdown, and then with seven seconds left in the half, John Hightower caught a 51-yard pass to make it 28-0.
From there, UNM’s defense got on track. Alex Hart picked off a pass to end one drive and Jacobi Hearn forced a fumble on another. However, UNM couldn’t capitalize, as the Lobos got into Bronco territory three times in the second quarter, but turned it over on downs once, fumbled once and then missed a long field goal.
The Lobos finally got on the board in the second half when Shelley banged home a 40-yard field goal to make it 28-3, but Boise State answered with a sustained 74-yard drive, their first offensive success of any kind since the first quarter. That ended with an 8-yard touchdown by Andrew Van Buren to make it 35-3. BSU pushed it to 42-3 before UNM’s Micah Gray, a Clovis native, scored his first career touchdown, accounting for the final score.
Postgame Notes: Boise State 42, New Mexico 9
This was the 11th meeting between the two teams.
Boise State now leads 10-1
Boise State now leads 5-1 in Boise
Boise State leads 5-0 in Albuquerque
Boise State has now won four straight in the series
Boise State has now won two in a row in Boise
Starting lineup changes for UNM from published two-deep
Defense: Ben Gansallo started at nose tackle. That slot was left blank for Nahje Flowers.
*New Mexico’s captains were Alex Hart, Kyle Stapley and Trent Sellers
*Boise State won the toss and deferred. UNM received off to start the game, defending the south goal. UNM is now 5-5 on the coin toss.
*Micah Gray carried the New Mexico flag onto the field for the Lobos for the third time this season.
*New Mexico fumbled on the opening offensive play of the game, and it was returned for a 24-yard touchdown by Sonatano Lui. It was the first fumble return for a touchdown allowed by UNM since November 18, 2018 when Desmond Williams of Boise State had a 9-yard touchdown in Albuquerque.
*In New Mexico’s last three road games, the Lobos have gotten into opponent territory (or the 50) 18 times (eight vs. Wyoming, six vs. Nevada and four times against Boise State). UNM has two touchdowns and two field goals out of those 18 drives.
*UNM rushed for 117 yards, the second lowest total of the season.
*UNM finished the season winless on the road, and has lost nine straight road games dating back to last season.
*UNM dropped to 6-57 all-time against ranked teams, and UNM dropped 2-31 on the road all-time against ranked teams. UNM’s last road win over a ranked team was October 25, 2003 at No. 23 Utah, a d 47-35 win. UNM has now lost 13 in a row on the road against ranked teams.
*The game was the third road game this season in which all of UNM’s points were scored by New Mexico natives. The same happened at Liberty and at Wyoming.
*Alex Hart picked off his first career interception in the second quarter, but it did not lead to any points. It marked UNM’s third interception of the year, and each position group has one (defensive line, linebacker and defensive backs). Hart ended up with eight tackles, a sack and an interception.
*Jacobi Hearn seemingly had a sack/fumble, but ended up with just a forced fumble as the ball careered forward and was recovered by UNM’s Devin Sanders beyond the line of scrimmage. Since that happened, it counted as a positive rush.
*UNM’s top two running backs, Ahmari Davis and Bryson Carroll, were both injured in the opening two drives. Kentrail Moran ended up as UNM’s leading rusher with 30 yards.
*Tyson Dyer, who led the nation in punts inside the 20 with 28, and percentage of punts inside the 20 with 62.2%, hit three of five inside the 20 against Boise State, and he now has hit 31 of 50 punts inside the 20.