Sep. 24—BATON ROUGE, La. — University of New Mexico coach Danny Gonzales said he didn't need to review game film to realize just how badly the Lobos' offense played in a 38-0 loss to LSU in front of an announced crowd of 100,501 at Tiger Stadium on Saturday night.
New Mexico's third-year coach also didn't hesitate to tell offensive coordinator Derek Warehime what was needed after the Lobos mustered just 88 yards and an all-time program-low two first downs. UNM (2-2) ran only 33 plays on offense. The Lobos went three-and-out eight times, including all five of their possessions in the second half.
"It ain't good enough," Gonzales said. "That's what I told (Warehime): It ain't good enough. We gotta give ourselves a chance. Eighty-eight yards ain't good enough."
Gonzales could gather very few positives after being shut out at LSU. Now the Lobos must turn around and face a hot UNLV team on Friday night at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.
"The 38-0 (loss) doesn't define who this football team is or define our season," Gonzales said. "They were bigger and stronger than us tonight and they played like it. ... We gotta continue to build to be competitive in these games because we're going to play them. ... They whooped our tail tonight and we gotta move on."
LSU quarterback Jayden Daniels, a transfer from Arizona State, where Gonzales worked before UNM, threw for 224 yards in the first half to help the Tigers build a 17-0 lead. It could have easily been 28-0, but two touchdowns were taken off the board by a blindside block on Jack Bech's 76-yard punt return and an offensive pass interference call when Kole Taylor caught a 9-yard pass.
The Lobos (2-2) did themselves no favors with a rough start. They went three-and-out on their opening possession. Then, UNM's Aaron Rodriguez, one of the best punters in the nation, shanked his punt for only 25 yards.
The Tigers (3-1) quickly took advantage, going 57 yards on eight plays in just under 2 1/2 minutes. Daniels went 4-for-4 for 40 yards on LSU's first scoring drive.
Daniels sustained what Gonzales said was a hip injury early in the third quarter. Daniels appeared to be fine, but remained out due to the Tigers' big lead.
Meanwhile, UNM senior quarterback Miles Kendrick, a transfer from Kansas, remained in the game for its entirety.
"My confidence is always going to stay the same," Kendrick said after being asked about his confidence level. "No matter if I'm first string, second string, whatever. I'm going to prepare the same. I'm going to compete the same each and every day, every week. That's just who I am, really."
Kendrick finished with 47 passing yards, completing 5 of his 7 throws with no interceptions. He was sacked four times.
He's aware the UNM coaches believe in him and believe he gives the Lobos the best chance to win.
"I'm appreciative they believe in me," Kendrick said. "It's up to me to continue to work and to continue to work to get better for this football team."
LSU entered as a 31 1/2 -point favorite in the guaranteed-money game. The Tigers paid $1.6 million to the Lobos.
Gonzales is 7-16 into his third season at UNM. After each win, he has said UNM is not a good team yet and the Lobos have a long way to go.
After this loss, it's the same. UNM, which has a strong defense, just isn't ready for prime time.
The Tigers continually displayed what an aggressive offense looks like. They were making highlight plays in the fourth quarter.
LSU star wide receiver Kayshon Boutte missed Saturday's game after the birth of his baby boy on Thursday. The Tigers have so much depth at wide receiver his absence didn't mean much.
Brian Thomas Jr., just another electric wide receiver for the Tigers, eluded a few tackles to complete a 57-yard catch-and-run touchdown that gave LSU a 38-0 lead.
UNM senior defensive end Justin Harris, who is from Lutcher, La., led the defense with a career-high two sacks to go with six tackles.
"Emotions were pretty high at the beginning of the game," Harris said. "I was too excited. I had to pipe down a little bit, but it was exciting to come home and play."
LSU — New Mexico Game Book by Albuquerque Journal on Scribd