UNM Takes Down UTEP 27-10
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — New Mexico got an early 22-yard touchdown from linebacker Reco Hannah on an interception return and the Lobo defense was stout all game with seven takeaways as the Lobos defeated UTEP 20-3 in a game that wasn’t nearly as close as the final score would suggest. The seven takeaways were the most for UNM since getting seven on five interceptions and two fumbles in a 20-13 win over Memphis on November 22, 1986.
The Lobos also got a 3-yard touchdown from Sherod White in the second quarter and a pair of field goals in the first half, one from Luke Drzewiecki from 37 yards out and one from George Steinkamp from a career-best 51 yards away.
The Lobos were dominant in the first half, outgaining the Miners 217 to 76. The Lobos got on the board first when Miles Kendrick methodically moved UNM from its own 20 to the UTEP 18-yard line, and that led to a 37-yard field goal by Luke Drzewiecki, giving UNM a 3-0 lead. After UNM pinned UTEP at its 15 on the kickoff, Jerrick Reed II made back-to-back big plays. First, he knocked away short pass, and then he got his hand on a pass, deflecting it right to Reco Hannah. Hannah picked it off and raced untouched into the end zone for a 10-0 lead.
From there, UNM’s defense kept it up. The defense held for a three-and-out, and then had to face a short field after a 34-yard punt return gave UTEP the ball at the Lobo 42. However, the Miners could only muster a 46-yard field goal.
The Lobos took a 17-3 lead on a picture-perfect 75-yard drive. Nate Jones converted a third down with a 21-yard run, and then he added 14 on the next play. Kendrick turned in a 22-yard run on the drive which was capped by a 3-yard Sherod White touchdown.
George Steinkamp’s career-long 51-yarder at the end of the half gave UNM a 20-3 lead. It was coming out of half that the game turned, and it was turned in by a true freshman. Tyrin Smith caught a pass over the middle on the opening drive of the second half and raced to the corner of the end zone, being chased by A.J. Haulcy. Smith raced 76 yards and looked to have scored, but Haulcy, who gave chase for about 50 yards, karate chopped the ball out of Smith’s hands, and it hit the pylon. Instead of a 76-yard touchdown and a 20-10 game, UNM got a touchback, and crushed any momentum UTEP tried to gain out of the half.
UNM had chances to extend the lead but Drzewiecki hit the upright from 30 and missed wide right from 31. UTEP finally got in the end zone with 4:41 to go when Deion Hankins scored to make it 20-10. UNM recovered the ensuing onside kick and Nate Jones eventually punched the ball in from five yards out to clinch it.
This was the 81st meeting between the two teams.
New Mexico now leads the series 44-33-3
New Mexico now leads 27-12-1 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
Offense: Elijah Queen and Trace Bruckler started at tight end for Will Dennis and WR Austin Erickson.
Defense: Cody Moon started at LB for Syaire Riley.
*New Mexico’s captains were Donte Martin, Miles Kendrick, Radson Jang and Jake Saltonstall.
*New Mexico’s Bryce Santana carried the state flag of New Mexico onto the field and George Steinkamp carried the United States flag.
*UTEP won the toss and elected to defer. UNM elected to receive and defend the North goal. It marked the 21st time in 22 games under Danny Gonzales that UNM has received the opening kickoff.
*New Mexico allowed just 73 yards in the first half and just three yards rushing.
*The Lobos had seven takeaways with four interceptions and three fumble recoveries. It was the most takeaways since intercepting five passes and recovering two fumbles on November 22, 1986 in a 20-13 win over Memphis State on the road. It also marked the first time UNM has had multiple fumble recoveries and interceptions in a game since October 10, 2014 against San Diego State when it also had two fumble recoveries and two interceptions.
*UNM allowed UTEP just 2-for-11 on third down. UNM has allowed its opponents to go just 7-for-39.
*Luke Drzewiecki connected on his first career field goal, hitting from 37 yards out.
*Reco Hannah scored on a 22-yard interception return in the field quarter. It marked his first career touchdown and first career interception. Jerrick Reed II was credited with a pass break up on that play.
*Hannah’s interception return for a touchdown for UNM since Reed II returned one 43 yards for a touchdown against New Mexico State on 9/21/19.
*Sherod White’s second quarter touchdown was his team-leading third touchdown of the year.
*Donte Martin recorded the 23rd and 24th pass breakups of his career, moving him within seven of Glover Quin’s school-record of 31.
*A.J. Haulcy recorded his first career interception in the second quarter. He also forced a fumble through the end zone after a 76-yard pass play.
*George Steinkamp’s 51-yard field goal to end the half was a career-long and it tied for the 12th-longest field goal in school history and the longest since Andrew Shelley hit a 52-yard field goal at Liberty on September 28, 2019.
*Cody Moon made his first career start and had a career-high 11 tackles in the game along with 2.0 sacks. He has 3.5 sacks in the last two games after having 0.5 sacks over his first 13 career games.
*Jerrick Reed II had four passes broken up, a career-high. It was the most by a Lobo since Donte Martin had four on October 4, 2019 at San Jose State.