Davie would like to for­get UNM’s last visit to Fresno

Lobo pro­gram has re­bounded from that 2013 de­ba­cle


Not a sin­gle player re­mains on the Univer­sity of New Mex­ico ros­ter who took a sin­gle snap the last time the Lo­bos played a game at Fresno State.

That, UNM coach Bob Davie said, is prob­a­bly just as well. Hav­ing been there that day, he’d as soon for­get.

And yet, the 69-28 shel­lack­ing the Lo­bos ab­sorbed that late Novem­ber af­ter­noon ever af­ter will re­main a sig­nif­i­cant bench mark in the de­vel­op­ment of Davie’s pro­gram.

That was as bad as it got. Since then, it has only got­ten bet­ter.

When Davie was hired at UNM in Novem­ber 2011, he looked at the ros­ter and knew the 2012 sea­son would be dif­fi­cult.

He knew 2013 could be worse. It was.

Ros­ter at­tri­tion from the Mike Lock­sley era, cer­tainly a prob­lem in 2012, truly came home to roost the fol­low­ing year. Of the 61 play­ers signed by Lock­sley

from 2009-11, fewer than 20 re­mained. Davie had signed only two re­cruit­ing classes of his own, too few to re­con­struct the ros­ter on both sides of the ball.

“We’ve talked a lot about that first year, but there were ac­tu­ally some holdover guys,” Davie re­called af­ter a prac­tice this week as the Lo­bos pre­pared for their first game at Fresno State since 2013. “Even though we were re­ally thin, there were some older guys.

“Then af­ter that first year and at the end of the sec­ond year, it was bru­tal.”

De­fense, in par­tic­u­lar, was a prob­lem. The Lo­bos had be­come a threat of­fen­sively from the very start of the Davie era, thanks to their triple-op­tion at­tack, but there was no de­fen­sive equiv­a­lent.

By the time the Lo­bos limped into Fresno with a 3-7 record, in­juries had fur­ther de­pleted the ros­ter. The pre­vi­ous week, UNM had given up 649 yards in to­tal of­fense to Colorado State in a 66-42 home loss.

The Rams were good that year, but Fresno State — quar­ter­backed by Derek Carr, who now (when healthy) plays for the Oakland Raiders — was bet­ter. Much bet­ter.

And of his Lo­bos, Davie said, “There wasn’t much meat left on the bone.”

It was Se­nior Day in Fresno, and the Bull­dogs (9-0 over­all at the time, 6-0 in Moun­tain West Con­fer­ence play) were more fired up for a game against an out­manned op­po­nent than they oth­er­wise might have been.

The Lo­bos got the ball first and were forced to punt. Five plays later, Carr hit Da­vante Adams — yes, the Green Bay Pack­ers wide re­ceiver and Dal­las Cow­boy neme­sis — for a 58-yard touch­down. So the slaugh­ter be­gan.

“They were on fire,” Davie said.

By game’s end, Carr & Co. had amassed 822 yards to­tal of­fense, the most ever al­lowed by a New Mex­ico team. Carr was 27-of-37 pass­ing for 522 yards and seven touch­downs. Adams caught nine passes for 246 yards and four TDs.

The mir­a­cle, per­haps, is how the Bull­dogs man­aged to score only 69 points. But it wasn’t for lack of try­ing.

Up 21-0 in the sec­ond quar­ter, on a sec­ond down-and-1 play from the New Mex­ico 26-yard line, the Bull­dogs ran a “fum­blerooskie” trick play. Carr took the cen­ter snap and laid the ball on the ground. Wide re­ceiver Isa­iah Burse, hav­ing hid­den be­hind the right guard, picked the ball up and ran un­touched for a touch­down.

Now, was that nec­es­sary? Ob­vi­ously not. But Davie said he holds no grudges and con­sid­ers Tim DeRuyter, Fresno State’s head coach at the time, a friend.

And DeRuyter did pull Carr af­ter three quar­ters, with the Bull­dogs lead­ing 63-21.

All in all, Davie said, “That was a tough day.”

There were bet­ter days to come, though the process took time.

Af­ter drop­ping the 2013 sea­son fi­nale, 45-17 at Boise State, the Lo­bos went 4-8 in 2014. But the past two sea­sons, they’ve gone 7-6 and 9-4, with New Mex­ico Bowl ap­pear­ances each sea­son and a bowl vic­tory over UTSA last De­cem­ber.

They’re 3-2 over­all, 1-1 in Moun­tain West play, en­ter­ing Satur­day’s game at Fresno State (3-2, 2-0), re­ju­ve­nated af­ter go­ing 10-28 the past three years. DeRuyter was fired last Novem­ber and was re­placed by for­mer Cal­i­for­nia coach Jeff Ted­ford.

Of Nov. 23, 2013, Davie said, “It was a dis­mal day. But when you think about how far we’ve come since then, we’ve come a long way.”

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