Edition No. 99 of the New Mexico-New Mexico State football series takes place Saturday night in Las Cruces. Kickoff is 6:05 p.m. Mountain Time from Aggie Memorial Stadium on the NMSU campus. It’s the home opener for New Mexico State. The game will be televised lived by Aggievision, which is Channel 53 on Comcast Cable in Albuquerque.
UNM has won 5 straight against New Mexico State and 7 of the past 8. The Lobos’ last 6-game streak was during a 10-game run from 1977-86.
Last Saturday, New Mexico (1-3, 0-1 MWC) got whipped at Tulsa 56-14. The Lobos also lost junior QB Donovan Porterie for the season with a torn right ACL and MCL. Porterie has started 22 games in his UNM career, including 18 in a row since late in his freshman season. Redshirt freshman Brad Gruner will make his first Lobo start Saturday against the Aggies.
New Mexico State (1-1) defeated UTEP 34-33, in El Paso last Saturday. The Aggies recorded their first win in the Sun Bowl since 1994. Junior wide receiver Marcus Anderson caught three touchdown receptions while senior wide receiver Chris Williams (Rio Rancho, N.M.) caught seven passes for a game-high 119 yards. Senior quarterback Chase Holbrook threw for 329 yards and five touchdowns.
The Lobos were picked to finish 4th in the Mountain West Conference, while New Mexico State was chosen to 7th in the Western Athletic Conference.
THE RIO GRANDE RIVALRY
Year 2 of the Rio Grande Rivalry between UNM and NMSU begins this Saturday. The rivalry series is awarded to the school with the most points in all competitions. Head-to-head competition in most sports is used to determine the winner. There are three points at stake for Saturday’s winning football team. UNM has a 1.5-0 lead in 2008-09 after winning women’s golf last weekend in Albuquerque.
The Lobos won the inaugural competition by outscoring the Aggies 16.25 to 6.75. UNM claimed wins in football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, men’s golf, women’s track and field, men’s tennis, women’s tennis, baseball and softball.
The athletics rivalry between UNM and NMSU dates back more than a century. The first competition between the two institutions was a football game in Albuquerque on Jan. 1, 1894. That was 18 years before the territory of New Mexico was granted statehood in 1912. The first men’s basketball game was played Dec. 22, 1904, in Las Cruces.
NOTES TO KNOW BEFORE THE GAME
• UNM looks to avoid its poorest start after five games since the 1994 team began 0-5
• New Mexico State defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn is no stranger to the Land of Enchantment...he was the Lobos’ head coach from 1983-86, compiling a 17-30 record...Dunn also served as UNM’s defensive coordinator under Joe Morrison from 1980-82...current Lobo head coach Rocky Long was UNM’s secondary coach in 1980
• As part of the Rio Grande Rivalry, the ROTC units from the two schools will again hand deliver the game ball...the ball will be presented to the University of New Mexico ROTC by Lobos head coach Rocky Long in Albuquerque on Wednesday, Sept. 5...members of the UNM ROTC will carry the ball 110 miles down I-25 where it will be relayed to the Aggie Batallion at the Veterans Memorial in Truth or Consequences on Thursday...the Aggie Batallion will carry the ball the remaining 110 miles to Las Cruces where it will arrive at Aggie Memorial Stadium prior to kickoff
• In his last two games against the Lobos, New Mexico State QB Chase Holbrook has completed 84 of 119 passes for 945 yards, 3 interceptions and 7 TDs...however, he has been sacked 9 times, including 6 dumps in 2006...Holbrook’s 63 pass attempts last year are the most against the Lobos in school history while his 473 yards passing in 2007 is the highest total allowed by a Rocky Long Lobo squad
• The Lobos have sacked Aggies QBs 15 times in the past 3 games
• UNM grabbed two interceptions in last year’s game, giving them 17 takeaways (7 interceptions and 10 fumbles lost) during the 5-game winning streak vs. New Mexico State...the Lobos have turned it over 6 times during that span, 4 interceptions and 2 fumbles
• Last year against New Mexico State, the Lobos had 496 yards of total offense, the most since gaining 578 yards against UNLV in 2003
• New Mexico is 25-36 in road games under head coach Rocky Long, 20-17 in conference play and 5-16 out of conference...however, UNM is 4-3 in its last 7 non-conference road games...the four wins have come at New Mexico State (twice), Missouri and Arizona...the 3 losses have been dealt by Conference USA members UTEP in 2005 and 2007, and Tulsa last week
• Since 2003, New Mexico has a 17-14 record away from University Stadium
• After gaining 122 yards at Tulsa, senior TB Rodney Ferguson continues to lead the MWC and is 11th nationally in rushing at 118.5 yards a game...a 2-time all-league performer, Ferguson has 2,933 career rushing yards to rank 3rd in the MWC record book and 5th all-time at New Mexico
• Better starts? New Mexico trailed TCU 16-0, Texas A&M 14-0 and Tulsa 21-0 before the first quarter was over...UNM has been out-scored 58-17 in the 1st period with the only lead after one period being 10-7 against Arizona
• Before Arizona, UNM had lost 11 straight games when the opponent scores first...the last win in that situation came against New Mexico State in 2006...conversely, the Lobos have won 13 straight games when they hit the scoreboard first...the last loss was to Wyoming in 2006
LAST WEEK AT TULSA
David Johnson threw for 469 yards and six touchdowns as Tulsa christened its newly remodeled H.A. Chapman Stadium with a 56-14 victory over New Mexico. Johnson, who entered the game as the nation’s leader in pass efficiency, completed 24 of 39 passes in a performance marred only by two interceptions.
Receivers Slick Shelley and Damaris Johnson each had two touchdown catches and exceeded 100 yards receiving. Tulsa finished with 606 yards total offense against a New Mexico defense that had been allowing just 305 per game.
Tulsa’s defense chipped in as well, as Roy Roberts returned an interception 41 yards for a score as Tulsa limited New Mexico to 316 yards of offense.
Johnson directed Tulsa to touchdowns on five of its six first-half possessions, with the only miscue being an interception in the end zone by the Lobos’ Glover Quin.
New Mexico quarterback Donovan Porterie was injured with 3:42 to play in the first half. Porterie had completed 11 of 13 passes for 92 yards with one interception.
Brad Gruner replaced Porterie and connected with Bryant Williams on a 21-yard touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter. New Mexico also scored on a 37-yard run by Rodney Ferguson, who gained 122 yards on 27 carries.
TULSA POSTGAME NOTES
• Tulsa’s 56 points are the most scored against UNM since Air Force won 56-14 in 1998
• Tulsa QB David Johnson’s 6 TD passes ties for the most against New Mexico…it had been done 4 times previous, the last by Texas Tech’s Kliff Kingsbury in 2002
Senior RB Rodney Ferguson
• rushed 27 times for 122 yards, his 3rd straight 100-yard game and the 13th of his career
• No. 5 all-time at UNM with 2,933 rushing yards, 3 yards short of passing Fred Henry for 4th place
• moved pass UNLV’s Dominique Dorsey for 3rd place on the MWC’s career rushing list
• 5th all-time at UNM with 26 career rushing TDs...Mike Williams is 4th with 27
• passed Don Perkins for 7th place at UNM with 3,528 all-purpose yards
• has accounted for 42% of UNM’s total offense (499 of 1,207 yards) and 75% of the scoring (6 of 8 TDs) through the first 4 games
Senior CB Glover Quin
• got 2 interceptions, giving him 3 for the season and 5 for his career; all 5 of those interceptions have come in the past 6 games
• tied for the MWC lead with 0.75 interceptions per game
• in the past 2 games has played all but 1 defensive snap (152 of 153) and totaled 12 tackles, 3 interception returns for 76 yards, 2 pass breakups, a 29-yard fumble return and 0.5 tackles for loss
• 6th place all-time at UNM with 23 career pass breakups
• has missed just 2 tackles all season
Senior LB Zach Arnett
• forced a fumble, his 4th in the past 3 games and he leads the nation with 4 forced fumbles
• 4 forced fumbles ranks tied for 8th at UNM for a single season and is the most since Josh Bazinet had 4 in 2004
• tied a career-high with 3 QB hurries
True freshman K James Aho
• made the first 7 FGs of his collegiate career before a miss from 47 yards in the 1st quarter
Junior QB Donovan Porterie
• left with 3:42 to go in the 2nd quarter after injuring his right knee
• completed his first 10 passes for 79 yards before throwing his 5th interception of the season
• finished 11 of 13 passing and he has completed 24 of 30 attempts the past 2 games
Junior S Frankie Solomon
• had a career-long 54 yard kickoff return
Senior LB Herbert Felder III
• had a career-high 5 QB hurries
Redshirt freshman QB Brad Gruner
• tossed his 1st career TD pass, a 21-yarder to Bryant Williams in the 4th quarter
Sophomore WR Bryant Williams
• caught a team-high 5 passes for 32 yards, including the first TD reception of his UNM career
Senior DE Kevin Balogun
• had a career-high 5 tackles
Senior LB Herbert Felder III
• had a career-high 7 tackles and a pass breakup
Junior lobo Clint McPeek
• had career-high 2 pass break-ups along with a team-high 8 tackles
Junior C Erik Cook
• had his 3rd straight game with an overall performance grade higher than 80%...has led the team every game
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