Open Announce

Lobo Football Heads to Kyle Field for No. 5 Texas A&M

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — They are going to get sick of that song.

The Lobo football team heads to Texas A&M for an early morning showdown with the No. 7/5 Teas A&M Aggies in a game being broadcast on the SEC Network.  In preparation for a potential crowd of 100,000 fans, the Lobos practiced on Tuesday with lots of piped in crowd noise and a heavy, heavy rotation of the Texas A&M fight song, and plenty of chants from Aggie Yell Leaders.  It made for quite the practice, but it was all for a specific reason … communication.

“We are trying to emulate Texas A&M’s game day, the Revilie, the fight song, the band, all that good stuff. It’s loud in there, and it makes it hard to communicate so they can get used to that so we don’t get the silly penalties, the dead ball penalties,” said Gonzales.  “Our crowd on Saturday caused New Mexico State to jump offsides, and we had 28,000, so you add five times that many people and it will be that much harder.”

Penalties were the big bugaboo for Gonzales after a 34-25 win that saw New Mexico get penalized 12 times for over 100 yards.  What really bothered him were two personal fouls and five dead ball penalties when the clock was stopped. “Those just all stop momentum,” said Gonzales.  “The ones where they called holding, the two targetings (only one was upheld on review), those when the ball is in play, those are going to happen.  But the two personal foul penalties … those are just undisciplined, selfish penalties that will get you beat in games.”

New Mexico has only once played in front of a crowd of 100,000 fans, and that was in Austin when UNM played Texas on Sept. 8, 2012 as 100,990 Longhorn fans came out to Darrel K. Royal Stadium.  The second-largest was four years ago at Kyle Field when attendance hit 99,051.  While that could be intimidating, it’s not foreign to Lobo quarterback Terry Wilson, who went into Kyle Field in 2018 in front of 100,000 fans and lost in overtime 20-14. Wilson, the reigning Mountain West Player of the Week told the Albuquerque media on Tuesday that he loves playing at UNM and in this offense, and why wouldn’t he?  He threw for a career-best 381 yards and he has six touchdown passes in two games in leading UNM to a 2-0 record for the first time since the 2005 season.

The Lobos will be facing a different quarterback for the Aggies as Haynes King will be out for a few weeks with an leg injury, meaning Zach Calzada will get his first start of the season.  He went 18-for-38 for 138 yards and the winning touchdown in the final minutes for a hard-fought 10-7 win at Colorado. Calzada will present all sorts of issue for UNM, as any SEC quarterback would do, but UNM’s defense has been solid, allowing just 6.0 points per game in the second half (and it’s really 5.0 since a safety was recorded against the Lobo offense).

UNM will need another big game from Mannie Logan-Greene, who scored his first career touchdown on Saturday, and overall picked up 254 yards on all-purpose yardage, just missing the UNM top-10 single game list.  What will hurt is the loss of Reco Hannah for the season due to a knee injury.  He and Coach Gonzales have decided to fix his meniscus and try for another injury year instead of not knowing when he’d be back.  Syaire Riley earned the start last game in his stead and will start again on Saturday.