The New Mexico Lobos football team lost a hard-fought contest Saturday night in Honolulu to the Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors by a final of 39-33. The loss is UNM’s 11th consecutive, dating back to last September when they defeated New Mexico State. This loss drops the Lobos to 0-2 on the season. There are still five games remaining to right the ship for a team looking better and better every week.
Tale of Two Halves:
The Lobos defense stymied the Rainbow Warriors offense in the first half, holding them to 272 yards in the first half and getting two takeaways. The defense helped the Lobos offense build a 20-14 halftime lead. UNM’s first lead at a halftime since last September in the win over New Mexico State.
In the second half, it was a different story for both sides of the ball. The Lobos offense picked up only 256 yards in the second half and turned the ball over once and had a missed field goal. Hawai’i held New Mexico to 13 points over the final 40 minutes to help its own cause.
Hawai’i scored two touchdowns within the first 3:05 of the second half to take a 28-20 lead on back to back touchdown drives that ended with quarterback Chevan Cordeiro finding Zion Bowens from 42-yard and 40-yard touchdown passes, respectively.
The Lobos battled back, taking a 30-28 lead, thanks to a Nathaniel Jones touchdown run and a George Steinkamp field goal in the fourth quarter. Their lead was short lived.
Cordeiro would find Calvin Turner on the next drive, and Turner broke three tackles and outran everyone else for a 64-yard touchdown to put the Rainbow Warriors back ahead. They would add a field goal later to make it 39-30.
New Mexico would knock through a field goal late, but then failed to recover the ensuing onside kick. Hawai’i then took three knees and ran out the clock for a 39-33 win.
In the second half, with the Lobos down 39-30, the Lobos had began driving in hopes to cut into the Rainbow Warriors lead. On a second down and 14 with 6:27 to go in the contest, Lobo quarterback Tevaka Tuioti scrambled for 23 yards, but as he went down, he was hit helmet to helmet by Cameron Lockridge. Lockridge was called for targeting and ejected, but Tuioti was done for the night as well as he entered the concussion protocol.
If he is diagnosed with a concussion, it would be Tuioti’s third while he has been at UNM. Tuioti ended the night with 181 yards passing and two touchdowns, he also added 71 yards in rushing.
With Tuioti out, Trae Hall was thrust into action. Two-plays later Hall threw an interception that ended a promising drive. Hall would later lead a drive that ended with a UNM field goal.
The Lobos will play host to the Nevada Wolf Pack next Saturday. Though the game will be in Las Vegas, Nevada at Sam Boyd Stadium, where the Lobos have been practicing over the last week.
Nevada will come into the game with a 3-0 record. The Wolf Pack have beaten Wyoming, UNLV and Utah State so far on the season. In those three contests they have averaged 36 points per game, and close to 394 yards passing per game. It will be a tough test for a young Lobo defense.
If Tevaka Tuioti cannot go due to the injury suffered last night, Trae Hall would be in line to get the start. Hall has seen action in five contests in his Lobo career. He started the season finale last year against Utah State. In that game Hall was 10-for-21 through the air for 107 yards and two touchdowns with two interceptions. He added 105 yards on the ground and added two rushing touchdowns in the game.
The contest with Nevada will be at 4:30 p.m. MT on Saturday and will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 2.