Lobos Blank Maine 41-0 in Opener
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico’s defense was stellar, allowing just 118 yards of offense and only seven first downs, all of which came in the second half and the Lobos never let Maine get inside the 38-yard line as UNM pitched a 41-0 shutout in its season opener. The Lobo shutout was the first since a 66-0 win in the 2015 season opener against Mississippi Valley State.
While the defense was the story, the Lobos revamped offense was clicking all night. UNM put up six touchdowns on 12 possessions (not counting two end of half kneel-downs) and the Lobos totaled 437 yards with 267 yards on the ground and 170 through the air.
Miles Kendrick, starting his first game for UNM as a graduate transfer from Kansas, went 14-for-17 passing for those 170 yards with two touchdowns. He also added 40 yards rushing on 11 carries, and one would never know he suffered a broken leg in 2021.
After an opening quarter that saw Ronald Wilson turn in an interception on the first defensive play of the season and UNM allow just seven yards, the Lobos got themselves on the board in the second three straight drives. Sherod White, earning his first career start, earned a four-yard touchdown, breaking two tackles on the way to the end zone. Luke Wysong then finished off the next two drives, the first on a 13-yard run and the second on a 10-yard pass from Kendrick.
All the while, the Lobo defense was stymieing the Black Bears, who entered the game having won five of its last six and with a veteran offensive team. The Lobos didn’t allow a first down in the opening half and just 44 yards, 22 of which came on one play.
In the second half, Maine picked up a few first downs, but UNM never let the Black Bears sniff anything close to the end zone. Reco Hannah picked up a fumble, his first career takeaway as part of a one and half sack night for him, but it was more a team effort. Five Lobos broke up passes and UNM had three sacks and five QB hurries as UNM harassed quarterback Joe Fagnano into a 12-for-27 day for 96 yards with an interception and a lost fumble and -23 yards rushing.
White made it 28-0 with a 3-yard run midway through the quarter, and after Hannah’s fumble recovery, true freshman Jah’Mar Sanders scored on a 10-yard run on his first career play to make it 34-0.
Geordon Porter’s 7-yard touchdown catch ended the scoring, and the night for Kendrick as well. From there, the only drama was would UNM’s defense be able to maintain the shutout, and the Lobos were more than true to the task. Up 41-0 the Lobos turned in a quick three-and-out allowing just a yard. Maine had one more drive left in them and after moving the ball to near midfield, Fagnano threw incomplete with freshmen JD Roberts in his face, the last of UNM’s five hurries.
This was the first meeting between the two teams.
New Mexico now leads 1-0
New Mexico now leads 1-0 in Albuquerque
New Mexico has now won one straight in the series, and one straight in Albuquerque
Starting lineup changes for UNM from published two-deep
*New Mexico’s captains were Jerrick Reed II, Miles Kendrick, Isaak Gutierrez and Reco Hannah.
*New Mexico’s Bryce Santana carried the state flag of New Mexico onto the field and Jah’Mar Sanders carried the United States flag.
*New Mexico won the toss and elected to receive and defend the North goal. It marked the 19th time in 20 games under Danny Gonzales that UNM has received the opening kickoff.
*New Mexico’s defense allowed just seven yards and recorded an interception in the opening 15 minutes.
*New Mexico’s 21-point second quarter tied for the most points in a quarter in the Danny Gonzales era. UNM scored 21 in the fourth quarter of a 49-39 win over Fresno State on 12/12/2020.
*UNM Missed its first extra point in 38 attempts. The last missed extra point came on November 30, 2019, when the Donovan Murphree missed. Murphree missed two in that game and Andrew Shelley missed one.
*New Mexico broke the 200-yard rushing mark as a team with 267 yards. Last year the Lobos only broke the 200-yard mark once, getting 260 against UNLV. It was the most rushing yards since getting 299 against Fresno State on December 12, 2020.
*New Mexico didn’t allow a first down until the third quarter.
*UNM held Maine to just 1-for-12 on third downs.
*The Lobos had 10 players record rushes during the game, and eight gained at least 20 yards.
*New Mexico’s four rushing touchdowns in a game was the most since getting four against Sam Houston State on August 31, 2019.
*Rocky Long coached a game from the press box for the first time since 11/24/1990 when he was a defensive backs coach at TCU.
*For the first time at University Stadium, the game had two female officials. The head lineswoman was Henrietta Powell and the Center Judge was Krystle Apellaniz.
*Ronald Wilson’s first quarter interception was the third of his career.
*Sherod White scored his first Division I touchdown to open UNM’s scoring for the season.
*Luke Wysong’s second quarter touchdown was the first offensive touchdown of his career. His only touchdown last year was on a punt return. He followed that up with a touchdown catch of 10 yards later in the quarter.
*Reco Hannah recovered a fumble in the third quarter, and it was the first takeaway of any kind in his career. It came in his 20th career game over four seasons.
*True freshman Jah’Mar Sanders scored a 10-yard touchdown on his first career play.
*Geordon Porter’s 7-yard touchdown catch was his first career touchdown. He never scored one in 22 games at Arizona State.