New Mexico Bowl

The hometown fightin’ Lobos of the University of New Mexico (NM) take on the Roadrunners from the University of Texas San Antonio (SA) in Albuquerque on Saturday December 17, 2016.  The weather is cool (low 40s) and breezy.  Good thing NM doesn’t throw the ball much.

I don’t disagree with Albuquerque Mayor Richard Berry’s assessment of the trophy to the victors.

1st Quarter

Start a minute late because ESPN times everything terribly.  This is the first bowl game in the 6-year existence of SA football history.  Apparently a big run got SA into NM territory.  SA facing a 3rd & 2, have to be thinking 4 downs here.  Doesn’t matter, RB powers fwd for the 1st down.  Wind is blowing at 25 MPH.  Off a zone read, SA had a TE down the seam.  Little overcooked but definitely could have been caught.  Smart play call on 1st down.  Lobo D rises up on 3rd & 5, and forces a 4th & 5.  SA QB first read wasn’t open so he tried to tuck and run.  SA going for it on 4th & 5 and converts on a flat route to the RB.  Fade route on 3rd & 9 hung up in the wind and QB didn’t get it to the outside shoulder which enabled the NM CB a chance to bat it away.  SA converts the short FG.  From what I saw, the SA QB doesn’t know how to go through progressions.  One read and throw .

Gibson with a chicken salad run to get 27-yard run on NM’s 1st snap.  Nothing doing to the left and bounces it back right.  Option on 3rd & 5 loses  yardage and its 4th & long for NM at the SA 36.  NM elect to punt and it blasted into the endzone so a net of just 16 yards.

SA 3 NM 0 5:57 left 1st qtr

SA should have been flagged for intentional grounding on its first play.  QB swarmed immediately and throws it away to nobody while in the pocket.  Not called.   I mean, I don’t think we’re seeing the best of NCAA officiating in the Dec 17th New Mexico Bowl.  Zone read fools NM front but only gets 6.  On 3rd down QB had to come to a second read on a crossing route and not close.  SA punt.  It’s a good one, and NM takes over at own 32.

NM QB off a zone read races for a 1st down.  I hope you bet the under on pass attempts.  Lobos run a true triple option offense.  Another good run left and NM is inside the SA 40.  7 plays, 7 runs.    NM starts in the wishbone a lot.  This time Gibson darts ahead for another 1st down. NM carries inside the SA 10 from what looks like more of a power back.  I mean the play calls aren’t a mystery it’s just who is actually carrying.   Power back again gets NM about half-yard short of the endzone.  1st Quarter closes as a LB stands up power back at the goalline.  NM takes a TO just to preserve the wind for one more snap.  Not sure why it matters because is NM really going to throw here?  Powerback up the gut and in for the TD.

NM 7 SA 3  :04 left 1st qtr

1st qtr closes with a pass to nobody by SA down the middle.

2nd Qtr

SA will now have the wind.  SA busts a long run out to midfield.  Lobos looked like they were expecting pass for some reason.  Another big run into NM territory.  Wait, did they say Kevin Cosgrove is the DC at NM? The former Badger DC?   NM stuff a 2nd & 5 and it’s 3rd & 7.   SA pass over the middle just inches too far out in front of WR.  He puts that on the WR and that’s a TD as the S slipped down.  4th down pass incomplete.  Lobo ball.   That was a good throw but WR lost it as he went to the ground.

Care to guess what NM does on 1st down?  huh, a run.  Some great pursuit puts NM in a 3rd & 7.  Might we see a fwd pass here?  Technically the QB did drop back to pass but quickly realized it was just a DL on the edge and that was never going to be a fair fight.  Easy conversion out to the 50.  Graphic shows with 117 yards of offense on the ground and 0 in the air.  NM just short on 3rd down so they’ll clearly go on 4th & inches.  Mack Brown argues passionately for NM to run the ball.  But SA D stones the Lobos and SA takes over at its own 44.

Brian Urlacher in the booth now.

S spills a SA run and puts SA behind the chains.  They get half it back for a 3rd & 5.   SA a mess here and finally burns a TO as they can’t get the personnel grouping right.  Some nice B roll from the Sandia Peak Tramway.  Fake reverse, perfectly executed gets the 1st down.  Another 3rd & 5.  Lobo defender commits a facemask and the SA runner still gets the 1st down so now Roadrunners are in business inside the redzone.  Urlacher is pretty good at this.  Unsurprisingly reads the plays easily.   Bad substitution penalty for SA moving the ball from inside the NM 1 to the NM 6.  And another one.  Delay of Game moves SA back outside the 10.    Pass tipped over the middle dangerously.  Flag down, no idea why.   wow, unsportsmanlike conduct and it’s not 3rd & goal from the 26.   Maybe a run to set up the FG with the win at their backs?  Should have been 1st & goal from the 1.

Completion to the NM 10 and a terrible targeting call on NM.  That should get reversed. Not head-to-head at all.  That was shoulder/arms first and any head contact was to the chest.   Not the crown of the helmet.  Should be 4th & goal for SA from the Lobo 10.  If they get it wrong, and stick with the penalty, SA will get 1st and goal from the 10 and NM won’t touch the ball again before half.   Good officiating!  they get it right and erase the penalty.  Correct call for sure.  SA sneaks the FG through.

New Mexico 7  UTSA 6  1:32 left 2nd qtr

Lobos start at their 25 and have 2 TO.   Might they take a shot into the wind on 1st down?  SA has only 1 TO so NM probably more likely to stay on the ground and see if they can bust a run or two.  2 runs only get about 8 yards.  QB off a zone read gets out to midfield.  But only :11 left.  NM throw their 1st pass of the half .  Catch and run sets them up at the SA 35. The 53-yard FG has just enough on it and Lobos at 3 going into the break.

HALFTIME New Mexico 10  UTSA 6

1st Half Stats from ESPN

Probably most significant stat is the penalties. Because all 3 SA flags came after a run to set up 1st & goal inside the 1.  Drive ending with 3 instead of a TD and that’s your difference.  Not sure why SA attempted 12 passes but that’s way too many given what we’ve seen of the QB ability thus far.

1st Downs 8 9
3rd down efficiency 3-5 4-9
4th down efficiency 0-1 1-2
Total Yards 163 174
Passing 18 30
Comp-Att 1-1 3-12
Yards per pass 18.0 2.5
Interceptions thrown 0 0
Rushing 145 144
Rushing Attempts 23 22
Yards per rush 6.3 6.5
Penalties 1-15 3-25
Turnovers 0 0
Fumbles lost 0 0
Interceptions thrown 0 0
Possession 12:49 17:11

3rd Qtr

NM starts with the football.  A 2nd down flip over the middle gets NM out to midfield.    Nobody home in the SA D over the middle.   On the 1st down, NM go deep and SA gets flagged for DPI.  Looked more like holding but the ball was in the air so it had to be DPI.  SA DB was beaten so probably a good penalty to take.  Things getting a little chippy around the piles.  QB races around left end for the conversion on a 3rd & 5.  Jump ball in the corner of the endzone and SA DB does juuuust enough to knock it away.  Close for NM there.  NM coming out throwing to loosen up SA and force SA to stop loading the box.  On 3rd &  9 QB is just short setting up 4th & 1.  If QB dives he probably gets it.  Power back gets the 1st down with a nice second effort after initial surge was contained.  Kept legs churning and 1st & goal for NM.  Gibson up the middle for the TD to extend the Lobo lead. XP blocked.

New Mexico 16  USTA 6  9:54′ left 3rd quarter

USTA needs a rebuttal here.  After a 10-play 5′ TD drive a quick punt back to NM  and another Lobo TD could put NM out of sight early in this half.  SA mishandles the kick and SA at its own 13.  Run stuffed and its 2nd & long.  Run blitz and SA OL wasn’t able to get over in time.   Great run by SA RB and carries out to the 47.  Lobos nearly got an INT and SA staring at a 3rd & 10.  Pass swatted away by NM D.  SA punted and NM pinned around the 5.   Lobos stoned on a 3rd & 1 but given fwd progress somehow.   Lobo QB down and rolling around in pain.  He does jog off and a shoot a thumbs up to the bench.  2 incompletions for the backup and SA will take over on its own 43.  Lobos miss the sack and SA QB and picks up 9.5.   SA QB who was 3-15 floats a pass INT by NM DB who was dropping into zone coverage .  Not a clever disguise by NM D.  That’s just terrible QB play.

NM does nothing with it and SA has it back with decent field position.   We’ll head to the 4th qtr with SA at midfield at a 2nd & 7.

4th Qtr

Strong tackle by a big NM S and its 3rd & 5.  What looked like a terrible pitch out GB style run and SA gets the corner and picks up the 1st down.  Had to have it.  Can’t imagine SA punting at any point now so should be 4-down territory unless/until they get a lead.  QB for SA runs for another 1st down.  Him not throwing is a good thing for SA.  Again he runs instead of throwing.  Now he just is gun-shy.  3rd & 9.  Surprised we haven’t seen screens given NM blitzing and how bad the QB is.  False Start and it’s 3rd & 14.  Pressure gets there and NM gets the sack.  From the 35, SA doesn’t try the long FG with the swirling wind and pass over the middle complete! diving reception moves the chains.  Keeps SA alive.  They miss that one and NM has a chance to burn some serious clock.  Good throw and even better catch.  Lobos completely fooled off play action and TE makes the catch.  TD SA!  XP good.

New Mexico 16  UTSA 13  9:43′ left 4th Qtr

Trickeration on the reverse for NM goes backwards.   NM connects on another careful passing play gets the ball to the S 45.  Simple crossing route and stacked SA defenders leave a gap over the middle.  Gibson cut down at the line and 3rd & 6 from NM with 7:30′ left.  Even if nothing comes of this, NM has moved the ball and flipped field position.  Another generous spot looks like NM converts as the clock rolls under 7 minutes.   NM gives you so many different looks out of variations of the pistol and wishbone.  Mack Brown praising the SA defense for holding NM to a 6-yard run on 1st down.  NM now inside the 10.  NM blocks down to the left and SA can’t keep contain giving the NM RB the edge.  Looks like NM power back missed a hole to the left there that could have been a big gain even a TD.  Gibson struggles fwd inside the 5.  3rd & 2 inside the SA 5.  A TD here probably settles things.  Power back comes up just short.  Decision time for Bob Davie.  I go for it with  my prolific rushing offense.  NM calls a TO with 3:08 left to get the right alignment.  NM twice on 4th down has had trouble up the middle.  They were stopped on one and got a generous spot on the 2nd.  A zone read fake dive, blocking down, and QB keeper around the end should work for not just the 1st down but probably a TD.  Have to figure SA is going to sell out for the power back up the middle.  Replay review for some reason even though NM was clearly short.  NM go with power and actually works well for NM because he’s short of the TD and NM can take the clock down to 2:30 before next snap.  Another power run and NM with a dagger TD.  7:21 on that drive.

New Mexico 23  UTSA 13   2:22′ left 4th quarter

SA has to throw now, empty backfield.  Short cross broken up which is fine for SA because it stops the clock.  At some point SA is going to have to push the ball down the field.  I don’t believe this QB can do it without making a mistake.  Good solid tackle by NM keeps SA short of the sticks and clock keeps running.    NM missed tackle and SA into Lobo territory.  SA burns a TO with 1:22 left after a short completion. Not sure why SA WR are running routes behind the chains.  SA keeps moving, inside NM 30.  SA throws it away as a blitz ruins the SA play.  QB overthrows WR open at the 10.  3rd & 10.   Another pre-snap penalty on SA and it’s 3&15.  That might take a FG off the table if SA doesn’t convert here.  Pass incomplete, but SA WR was crushed eaerly by a NM defender on a floated pass down the field.  DPI on NM.  I see why it was called but SA actually just tripped over his own feet.  Tough break for NM.  That wasn’t DPI.  A 2nd WR nearly made the catch so the play is under review.  Maybe there was contact by another NM defender? I don’t know. Weird play.  Play was incomplete.  Still a little time here for SA to try to get the TD before settling for a FG.  SA WR some shifty movement to take SA inside the Lobo 5.  Lobos missing quite a few tackles on the outside that have been costly.  TD on an under thrown fade.  Strong hands by the WR.

New Mexico 23  UTSA 20  :25 left 4th quarter

NM up man moves fwd and recovers.  Despite 2 TO left for SA that will do it.  NM gets its first bowl win since 2007 and will finish 9-4.  That’s good because NM will lose 5 starters on offense and 7 on defense.

FINAL New Mexico 23  UTSA 20

Final stats from ESPN

1st Downs 17 20
3rd down efficiency 6-13 7-14
4th down efficiency 2-3 2-3
Total Yards 296 364
Passing 77 118
Comp-Att 3-6 10-26
Yards per pass 12.8 4.5
Interceptions thrown 0 1
Rushing 219 246
Rushing Attempts 52 38
Yards per rush 4.2 6.5
Penalties 2-30 8-60
Turnovers 0 1
Fumbles lost 0 0
Interceptions thrown 0 1
Possession 30:42 29:18


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