The Rams got out of New Mexico with their first road win since 2009 on the heels of Nordly Capi's record tying afternoon. With four forced fumbles and 3 1/2 sacks Capi played a huge roll in the outcome of the game. New Mexico lost two red zone opportunities to fumbles, one on the goal line. The other in the final seconds of the game which secured the victory for the Rams.
Tarean Austin threw for 179 yards on a 20 of 31 day. He added a nice touchdown pass when transfer Lamaar Thomas beat E.B. Smith of the Rams. Thomas just ran past Elijah Blu Smith to the end zone and Austin laid it in there.
Pete Thomas threw for 178 yards on a very efficient 22 of 26 day. The Lobos 4-2-5 defense kept everything in front of him and limited deep opportunities. Thomas did find Crockett Gillmore for a 33 yard touchdown pass. Gillmore looked like a absolute beast out jumping and muscling which ever poor Lobo was covering him.
The Rams did miss two field goals making the game a bit closer then it should have been. New Mexico did miss one also, very very badly. Comically bad.
There is your short recap, let's find out what we learned about these two teams after The Jump!
I will start with the Lobos. The 4-3-5 defense will serve them much much better this year then whatever they ran last year. They kept everything in front of them save for the Gillmore touchdown. I see them not stopping offenses completely but slowing them down and avoiding giving up 40+ points a game this year. It will be interesting to see how it holds up once teams get a few games of tape on them. Next week in Arkansas might not be a complete blow out.
Austin did a very good job which kept Holbrook on the bench. The 10 sacks allowed is part offensive line and part Austin's fault. He held on to the ball a bit, but also ran out of some trouble. Hard to tell where the blame goes, so everyone should take a piece. The line will be an issue all year, the Rams are not a 10 sack team.
Austin has two weapons in transfer wide receivers Thomas and Deon Long. They will help the Lobos get back to being watchable.
The Lobos could have won, but they made the Lobo mistakes. Untimely penalties and two red zone fumbles. Without those it could be a Lobo win. So we learned that the Lobos might not be the basement dweller everyone called in our preseason poll.
Now the Rams, Pete Thomas seems like a good place to start. 22 of 26 is awesome, I only remember one of the four incompletions getting tipped by a defender. At least one should have been caught. They were mostly short passes but that is what the defense game him. Great start for the second year QB.
The defense! I expected athleticism but that was fun to watch. It seemed that Mychal Sisson and Mike Orakpo made or would be the next guy to make the tackle on every play. Both had 6 tackles along with CJ James. Sisson assisted on 5 tackles. Sisson and James had 1.5 sacks a piece, Orakpo had 2 tackles for loss totaling 10 yards. Shaq Bell was great in coverage only getting thrown at once, he did get a PI flag on the play. Besides E.B. Smith getting burnt it was a great day on defense. Momo Thomas also was good in coverage. Capi's final numbers, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 3.5 sacks, 4.5 tackles for loss, and 6 total tackles. Sisson led the nation last year with 7 forced fumbles, Capi got more then half way there in a afternoon.
Ben DeLine needs to pick it up. Two missed field goals could have been the difference had the Lobos scored on the last drive. Both were close, but as they say close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades. Not field goals, DeLine, not field goals.
Overall it was a positive day for the Rams, a road conference win is nothing to scoff at no matter where you get it. It wasn't the prettiest win but for the Rams to win by defense and on the road seems almost hard to fathom. Ram fans should be excited. Also nervous about the team piecing it together by the time they play Colorado.