Aiming to end skid
Davie’s squad is a 1-point favorite today in Fort Collins
The Lobos will be out to break an 8-game football losing streak to Colo. State today
During this season, and especially the past three weeks, New Mexico coach Bob Davie has used a simple two-word message that reveals the primary goal for his Lobos. Get better. Davie simply wants each player to improve every week. He also said the Lobos gained confidence from their 50-14 win at UNLV last week. But their success is not so much dependent on mindset, but rather technique and execution. He believes the Lobos (3-2, 1-0 in Mountain West Conference) showed they can execute at a high level against the Rebels. Now he’s wanting his team to do it again against Colorado State (2-4, 1-1), which plays host to UNM in its homecoming game at Canvas Stadium today at 2 p.m.
While improvement is the top priority for each week, Davie said the 1-point favorite Lobos must stop the Rams from running for big yardage.
“There’s no secret that we have had trouble against Colorado State and their physical style of run game,” said Davie. He has not beaten CSU in his six years at UNM, which has lost
eight straight to the Rams.
“First and foremost we can’t let (Izzy Matthews) and their other tailbacks run. We can’t let them manhandle us and run the ball on us.”
The Rams also have a strong passing attack led by quarterback K.J. Carta-Samuels and wide receiver Preston Williams, who leads the team with 578 yards receiving and is tied for the team lead with six touchdowns.
Davie said the Rams have a balanced attack on offense. He expects Carta-Samuels to launch deep passes to his “tall and talented receivers,” Davie said.
Olabisi Johnson and Warren Jackson are also capable of making big plays in the passing game for the Rams, Davie said.
The Lobos will need to make explosive plays in the air, as well, with quarterback Sheriron Jones, who is coming off his best game as a Lobo.
The junior transfer quarterback threw for 250 yards and four touchdowns with no interceptions last week. He became the first UNM quarterback to throw for four touchdowns in back-to-back games. But against the Rebels, Jones and the Lobos were not in catch-up mode.
“It’s fun to watch,” Davie said of Jones’ recent play. “As Sheriron Jones gets more reps, as he gets more reads and he’s able to play fast, he can just react and let his athletic ability carry him instead of thinking so much ... He’s getting better. It’s encouraging.”
The Lobos showed they are capable of connecting on deep fade passes that have hurt them on defense in the past. Jones called it “child’s play,” the way he connected with senior wide receiver Delane Hart-Johnson against UNLV.
“We wanted to put that on film that we can execute,” Jones said of the Lobos’ win over the Rebels. “We want to go out there and be fast, physical and dangerous. Stay dangerous.”
UNM’s defense had its best performance against UNLV, holding the Rebels to 166 yards of total offense, including 23 in the first half. The Rebels picked up their initial first down with just under two minutes left in the second quarter.
UNM outside linebacker Rhashaun Epting, who is tied for eighth in the nation in sacks with 5½, is one of the leaders on defense, as is inside linebacker Evahelotu Tohi, who leads the Lobos with 30 tackles.