Open Announce Photo/Marshall Saiz

Lobos Take on CSU in Finale at Ft. Collins

by Frank Mercogliano

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — One left, and it features a 2-9 Lobo team against a 2-9 Colorado State team on national television on a Friday afternoon on Black Friday.  One might think that isn’t all that enticing, but this should be a football game that is ripe with story lines, and ripe with a chance for each team to enter the offseason on a winning note.

The game will be at 1:32 p.m. on Friday at Canvas Stadium in Ft. Collins, and it will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network with John Sadak and Randy Cross on the call.  The game will be on the Lobo Radio Network with Robert Portnoy as well.

For UNM, it will be a second straight game with C.J. Montes at the helm at quarterback, UNM’s third starting quarterback of the year.  That’s actually better than each of the last three years when UNM went through four in each year.  Montes was solid against San Diego State, going 15-for-23 for 112 yards in the contest on Friday night, a 34-10 loss to the Aztecs.  Montes also scored his first career touchdown in that game.  Just a freshman, Friday’s finale will be his third career start.

The Lobos and the Rams are very similar in terms of being two teams with two wins that are struggling on offense.  New Mexico ranks last in the FBS in yards per game and Colorado State ranks last in scoring. New Mexico is next to last in third down conversion percentage, ahead of only Colorado State, which is last. UNM is last in first downs, and Colorado State is last in red zone offense.

Both teams have been pretty good on defense.  In fact, each team can attribute one of their two wins mostly to the defense.  The Rams scored two defensive touchdowns in a 17-14 win over Nevada, and UNM had seven takeaways including a defensive touchdown, against UTEP in a 27-10 win.  Both teams have good special teams, kicking, punting and in the return game.  It’s almost like the Spiderman pointing at Spiderman meme.

The difference?  CSU has owned the series of late, winning the last 11 in a row.  UNM’s last win was in 2009, when Mike Locksley picked up his first (and next to last it turned out) win as a Lobo head coach, winning on a walk-off field goal 29-27.  Since then, it’s been all CSU.  Along with losing 11 in a row, UNM is trying to end an 11-game losing streak in conference play, and a nine-game overall losing streak.  Ending all of those would give UNM some much needed momentum into an offseason that will start with the search for a new offensive coordinator as Heath Ridenour has been holding the fort since being named the interim coordinator.