The New Mexico Lobos lost their first game of the 2021 season on Saturday, dropping a 34-0 decision to the #7 Texas A&M Aggies in College Station.
The loss shouldn’t be too surprising for the Lobos, considering that the Aggies are #7 in the country. However, what seemed to be disappointing was the fact that the offense did not show up on Saturday. New Mexico’s offense mustered just 122 yards and nine first downs in College Station.
“My biggest disappointment as a football team was that they didn’t believe they could play with them,” said Head Coach Danny Gonzales in the press conference following the loss. “We gave up two touchdowns withing the first six minutes before they realized they’re just like us.”
As Gonzales said, it didn’t take long for Texas A&M to take control of the contest, scoring two touchdowns on just four offensive plays. Aggie running back Devon Achane took a screen pass 26-yards for a touchdown on their opening drive. The Aggies quickly followed that up with a 70-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Zach Calzada to receiver Demond Demas on just the first play of A&M’s second drive.
During the entire contest, Texas A&M’s defense clamped down on Terry Wilson and the Lobos offense. The Aggies forced 11 punts from UNM, and just 33 yards passing, one week after Wilson tossed for 381 yards against New Mexico State.
There are several positives that the Lobos and their fans can take away from this contest.
The main positive is that they left College Station healthy for the most part. That is a big plus with Mountain West Conference play still ahead of them. Every time that there is a money game the biggest worry is leaving the game with most of the starters healthy, that is what UNM did.
The other big positive is from the financial standpoint, the Lobos were paid $1.1 million for this contest, something that will help an athletic department that has struggled recently financially, especially with last season’s COVD-19 season that UNM football, and basketball, played on the road. More money is always a help right now for UNM.
Although the Lobos are not on level with the #7 team in the country, this was a good measuring stick at just how far the Lobos have come under Danny Gonzales. And while they have done a great job building up a program that was struggling before their arrival, Saturday showed that they still have a way to go to get them near Rocky Long era stature. They are on their way, however.
The loss dropped the Lobos to 2-1 on the season, a record that many figured they would be at after three games into the season. Up next is a rivalry game with the UTEP Miners on Saturday in El Paso.
The Miners are 2-1 on the season as well. Beating New Mexico State, FCS school Bethune Cookman and losing to Boise State before taking this past weekend off. The contest on Saturday night will kickoff at 7:00 p.m. Mountain and will be streamed on ESPN+ on the TV side of things.