Oct. 17—The New Mexican
ALBUQUERQUE — Just when it seemed like it couldn't get any worse for the sputtering University of New Mexico offense, it took the ugliness to a whole new level in a 36-7 loss at home to Colorado State.
The Lobos managed just 69 yards total offense and freshman quarterback CJ Montes, making the first start of his college career in place of injured senior Terry Wilson, completed only 3 of 19 pass attempts for 11 yards in a game that was actually close until midway through the second half.
As if trying to give Montes a shot to boost his confidence, UNM offensive coordinator Derek Warehime dialed up a deep ball on the first snap of the game. The ball sailed 40 yards downfield but was too far for receiver Andrew Erickson, setting the stage for a long night that ended with two interceptions and plenty of mistakes.
Montes and the Lobos had 14 drives, penetrating CSU territory only twice. They never crossed the Rams' 35, getting their only touchdown on a 63-yard punt return by true freshman Luke Wysong in the second quarter — meaning the Lobos had almost as many yards on that one return as the offense had the entire game.
"Really, really tough second half," said New Mexico coach Danny Gonzales. "We've got to fix, offensively, an opportunity to even be competitive. When you're 3 of 19 throwing the ball, it makes it really, really hard to run the ball because they can load up the box."
Gonzales said he hopes to see Wilson, who dislocated his left elbow in a recent loss to San Diego State, back on the practice field by Tuesday. If not, it leaves the door open for either Montes or sophomore Isaiah Chavez to start next week's game at Wyoming.
The Lobos (2-5 overall, 0-3 Mountain West) have now dropped five straight after starting the season with consecutive wins over Houston Baptist and New Mexico State. The skid has seen the offense fail to crack 300 yards in all five games, with three of the losses coming in games where they've had fewer than 200 yards.
"Losing, obviously, is miserable," Gonzales said. "I talk about it all the time, how much I hate losing — and I absolutely hate it. We've been good the places I've been for so long it's really frustrating."
Colorado State (3-3, 2-0) scored eight times, getting five field goals from kicker Cayden Camper to go along with three touchdowns, two of which came in a second half that was all Rams. The Lobos defense stiffened just enough to keep CSU out of the end zone several times, including a rare miss for Camper late in the first half the Rams took a 13-7 lead into halftime.
"I'm just frustrated right now," said New Mexico defensive lineman Joey Noble. "All phases of the ball. Defense, we're letting up points. I'm trying to encourage the offense, we need to score. We just got to control what we can control."
CSU quarterback Todd Centeio passed for 289 yards and a touchdown. ... It was homecoming for UNM. Saturday's attendance was announced at 15,403. ... The Lobos are at Wyoming this week and return home for a Nov. 6 date with UNLV. ... UNM is in sole possession of last place in the MWC's Mountain Division and is just one of three teams, league-wide, without a win in conference play. Wyoming and UNLV (the Lobos' next two opponents) are the others.