2008 New Mexico Lobos Season

Posted Feb 8, 2009

2008 New Mexico Lobos Season, Game Recaps, Scores and Reviews

2008 New Mexico Lobos

Nov. 15
Colorado State 20 … New Mexico 6
Gartrell Johnson ran for a 12-yard score and Dion Morton took a pass six yards for a third quarter touchdown as Colorado State easily got by New Mexico. The Lobos moved the ball but stalled on drive after drive only getting two James Aho field goals. Johnson went over the 1,000-yard mark for the Rams with his 127-yard performance.
Player of the game: Colorado State RB Gartrell Johnson ran 30 times for 127 yards and a touchdown, and he caught three passes for 47 yards
Stat Leaders: New Mexico - Passing: Brad Gruner, 23-39, 204 yds
Rushing: Rodney Ferguson, 14-85. Receiving: Bryant Williams, 5-54
Colorado State - Passing: Billy Farris, 16-27, 237 yds, 1 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Gartrell Johnson, 30-127, 1 TD. Receiving: Rashaun Greer, 6-71
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... New Mexico's attack was able to move the ball with 204 yards from Brad Gruner and 155 on the ground, but there weren't any points against Colorado State. The Lobos couldn't establish the running attack early on and there weren't the big plays needed in key moments to be in range for touchdowns. Now the Lobos are done for the year on this clunker when a win would've kept bowl hopes alive. Finishing up with a four-game losing streak isn't going to sit well for a long off-season.  

- 2008 UNM Preview
- 2007 UNM Season

2008 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2008 Record: 5-7

Aug. 30 TCU L 26-3
Sept. 6 Texas A&M L 28-22
Sept. 13 Arizona W 36-28
Sept. 20 at Tulsa L 56-14
Sept. 27 at N Mexico St W 35-24
Oct. 4 Wyoming W 24-0
Oct. 11 at BYU L 21-3
Oct. 18 San Diego State W 24-7
Oct. 23 at Air Force L 23-10
Nov. 1 Utah L 13-10
Nov. 8 at UNLV L 27-20
Nov. 15 at Colorado State L 20-6
Nov. 22

2007 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2007 Record: 9-

Sept. 1 at UTEP L 10-6
Sept. 8 NMSU W 44-34
Sept. 15 at Arizona W 29-27
Sept. 22
Sacramento St W 58-9
Sept. 29 BYU L 31-24
Oct. 13 at Wyoming W 20-3
Oct. 20
at S Diego St W 20-13
Oct. 25 Air Force W 34-31
Nov. 3 at TCU L 37-0
Nov. 11
Colorado St W 26-23
Nov. 17 at Utah L 28-10
Nov. 24
UNLV W 24-6
New Mexico Bowl
Dec. 22 Nevada W 23-0

Nov. 8
UNLV 27 … New Mexico 20
Backup quarterback Mike Clausen, who filled in for an injured Omar Clayton, threw two touchdown passes hitting Rodelin Anthony for a 10-yard score and Frank Summers for a four-yard scoring play as UNLV stunned New Mexico. Anthony chipped in on special teams with a punt return for a touchdown to keep the Rebels ahead. New Mexico held the early lead with a 40-yard run from Bryant Williams in the first and a five-yard run from Rodney Ferguson, but the UNLV defense clamped down late. The Lobos only managed two James Aho field goals in the second half.
Player of the game: UNLV S Jason Beauchamp made 15 tackles, a tackle for loss, and broke up a pass.
Stat Leaders: New Mexico - Passing: Brad Gruner, 11-25, 128 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Rodney Ferguson, 25-123, 1 TD. Receiving: Michael Scarlett, 3-51
UNLV - Passing: Mike Clausen, 17-34, 203 yds, 2 TD
Rushing: Frank Summers, 16-35. Receiving: Ryan Wolfe, 7-100
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... New Mexico was able to get the ground game moving a bit against UNLV with Rodney Ferguson, but the line wasn't able to control the game and Brad Gruner wasn't able to get the passing game going. The defense shut down the UNLV running game, but it couldn't come up with a stop off of two key turnovers while the special teams suffered a huge breakdown in the fourth allowing a blocked punt. The Lobos need to beat Colorado State in Fort Collins to be bowl eligible.

Nov. 1
Utah 13 … New Mexico 10
Utah got Louie Sakoda field goals from 43 and 38 yards out and Brent Casteel caught a 10-yard touchdown pass in the third quarter on the way to a tough win. New Mexico managed a 10-yard Rodney Ferguson touchdown run at the end of the third quarter, but couldn't get close late to try to tie it up with a final drive stalling at midfield. New Mexico only converted 3-of-15 chances on third and fourth downs.
Player of the game: Utah PK/P Louie Sakoda only averaged 39.4 yards per punt, but he put four inside the 20 and hit field goals from 43 and 38 yards out
Stat Leaders: New Mexico - Passing: Brad Gruner, 16-25, 165 yds
Rushing: Brad Gruner, 16-62. Receiving: Bryant Williams, 5-54
Utah - Passing: Brian Johnson, 23-32, 195 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Matt Asiata, 12-80. Receiving: Freddie Brown, 7-69
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... New Mexico gave the unbeaten Utes a great shot with a fantastic, aggressive defensive effort that threw Brian Johnson off his game, but the Lobo offense couldn't do anything consistently. Brad Gruner misfired on way too many plays that could've kept the chains moving, and the offense didn't do nearly enough to go on long drives. At 5-5, winning out might be a must to get a bowl bid, but the final two games against UNLV and Colorado State are on the road.

Oct. 23
Air Force 23 ... New Mexico 10
New Mexico jumped out to a 10-0 first quarter lead and was driving for an apparent touchdown and a 17-0 lead, and then Aaron Kirchoff took a Brad Gruner fumble 96 yards for a touchdown and the rout was on. Air Force scored 23 unanswered points with three Ryan Harrison field goals and a one-yard Travis Dekker touchdown catch. The Falcons held on to the ball for 11:10 of the fourth quarter.
Player of the game: Air Force LB Chris Thomas made 10 tackles
Stat Leaders: New Mexico - Passing: Brad Gruner, 8-11, 83 yds
Rushing: Rodney Ferguson, 19-107, 1 TD. Receiving: Bryan Williams, 3-6
Air Force - Passing: Tim Jefferson, 1-2, 1 yd, 1 TD
Rushing: Asher Clark, 23-86. Receiving: Travis Dekker, 1-1, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
A week after hanging 70 points on San Diego State, New Mexico's offense sputtered after a great start against Air Force. The defense wasn't bad, it held the Falcon offense in check, for the most part, but Lobo drives didn't turn unto points with Brad Gruner unable to push the ball deep enough to control the game. The D couldn't get Air Force off the field late. Unfortunately, now there's little rook for error with three games to play. A win over Utah is a must to be in the post-season mix.

Oct. 18
New Mexico 70 … San Diego State 7
Glover Quin picked off a pass leading to a 20-yard Brad Gruner touchdown run, and the rout way on. New Mexico scored the first 56 points of the game helped by four Rodney Ferguson touchdown runs and a 28-yard fumble return for a score from Jaymare Latchison. In all, the Lobos finished with 419 rushing yards and eight touchdown runs. San Diego State's lone bright spot was a 15-yard Darren Mougey touchdown catch in the third quarter.
Player of the game: New Mexico RB Rodney Ferguson ran 25 times for 149 yards and four touchdowns
Stat Leaders: San Diego State - Passing: Ryan Lindley, 18-37, 156 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Rushing: Brandon Sullivan, 9-39. Receiving: Darren Mougey, 4-53, 1 TD
New Mexico - Passing: Brad Gruner, 8-11, 92 yds, 1 TD
Rushing: Rodney Ferguson, 25-149, 4 TD. Receiving: Roland Bruno, 3-58

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The win over San Diego State is exactly what New Mexico wants to do on offense. The running game dominated with 419 yards, and the chains kept moving by converting 11-of-16 third down chances. The line was tremendous, barreling open holes for Rodney Ferguson and James Wright with the team averaging 6.7 yards per carry. Now the big tests come against Air Force and Utah. The season will be made or broken over the next two weeks.

Oct. 11
BYU 21 … New Mexico 3
BYU let an opponent score first for the first time all season long as James Aho hit a 27-yard field goal, but that was it for the New Mexico scoring. The Lobos had an apparent touchdown called back, but that was the only real drama as the Cougars got three Max Hall touchdown passes including an eight-yarder to Austin Collie with just over three minutes to play to put the game away. New Mexico only managed 285 yards of total offense, but the defense kept BYU to its fewest points scored all year.
Player of the game: BYU WR Austin Collie caught nine passes for 155 yards and a touchdown
Stat Leaders: New Mexico - Passing: Brad Gruner, 8-12, 86 yds
Rushing: Rodney Ferguson, 24-86. Receiving: Jermaine McQueen, 4-59
BYU - Passing: Max Hall, 22-34, 258 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Harvey Unga, 22-95. Receiving: Austin Collie, 9-155, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... New Mexico is going to have problems keeping up with anyone who can score. Rodney Ferguson appeared to be fine against BYU after missing time last week with a shoulder injury, but his running alone won't get it done. Brad Gruner is still trying to find his way with the passing game, and while he completed 8-of-12 throws against the Cougars, he didn't come up with anything big, and he didn't come up with the fourth down plays needed to keep the game alive. A win against San Diego State next week is a must for any hope of going to a bowl.

Oct. 4
New Mexico 24 … Wyoming 0
New Mexico had no trouble with the anemic Wyoming offense as Frankie Solomon returned Karsten Sween's first pass for a touchdown, and the offense did its job with one-yard touchdown runs from James Wright and Brad Gruner for a 21-0 first half lead. The Lobos shut it down from there going exclusively on the ground, finishing with 317 rushing yards, while Wyoming struggled to keep things moving with just 201 yards of total offense and three turnovers.
Player of the game: New Mexico LB Zach Arnett made 16 tackles and a sack
Stat Leaders: Wyoming - Passing: Karsten Sween, 9-19, 71 yds, 1 INT
Devin Moore, 19-74. Receiving: Jesson Salyards, 4-47
New Mexico
- Passing: Brad Gruner, 8-19, 33 yds
James Wright, 15-120, 1 TD. Receiving: Roland Bruno, 4-12

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The win over Wyoming was nearly perfect. The defense scored right away, the offense came up with the plays it needed in the first half to capitalize on opportunities, and the running game took over in the second half. This is hardly an explosive Lobo team, but it has one three of its last four games and is doing just enough on special teams and with a great pass rush to get by. Now everything needs to start working with a trip to BYU up next.

Sept. 27
New Mexico 35 … New Mexico State 24
New Mexico ran for 297 yards as the ground game overcame an early 14-0 deficit and dominated in the fourth quarter. New Mexico State started off the scoring with an 84-yard A.J. Harris touchdown just 18 seconds into the game, and Marcus Anderson added a 79-yard touchdown grab just three minutes later. The Lobo defense tightened up, allowing a 44-yard field goal and a 22-yard Anderson scoring grab the rest of the way. New Mexico dominated the time of possession but only managed three James Aho field goals and a one-yard Rodney Ferguson run to be down 17-16 going into the fourth quarter and was down 24-16 with just over ten minutes to play. The Lobos cored the final 19 points on an 18-yard Jermaine McQueen catch, a three-yard Paul Baker run, and finally put the game away on a 44-yard James Wright dash with 1:31 to play.
Player of the game: New Mexico RB Paul Baker ran 37 times for 146 yards and a touchdown.  
Stat Leaders: New Mexico State - Passing: Chase Holbrook, 24-38, 382 yds, 3 TD, 1 INT
Brandon Perez, 4-25. Receiving: A.J. Harris, 8-116, 1 TD
New Mexico
- Passing: Brad Gruner, 7-16, 55 yds, 1 TD, 1 INT
Paul Baker, 37-146, 1 TD. Receiving: Bryant Williams, 2-22
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... With Donovan Porterie out, New Mexico needed the running game to pick up the slack. It did, and then some, as the Lobos kept running against New Mexico State, didn't waver after getting down, and got 297 rushing yards while holding on to the ball for close to 39 minutes. Yeah, the pass defense allowed 382 yards, but 163 of them came within the first few minutes. The Wyoming game shouldn't be a problem if the running game keeps working, but the secondary has to be tighter against BYU in to weeks.

Sept. 20
Tulsa 56 … New Mexico 14
David Johnson threw six touchdown passes including two in the first quarter to Damaris Johnson, and a third in the fourth, and two in the first half to Slick Shelley highlighted by a 64-yarder in the final minute of the half. New Mexico was down 42-0 before getting on the board late in the third quarter on a 37-yard Rodney Ferguson run. Brad Gruner had to come in for an injured Donovan Porterie, and he threw three picks along with a garbage-time 21-yarder to Bryant Williams.
Player of the game: Tulsa QB David Johnson completed 24-of-39 passes for 469 yards and six touchdowns with two interceptions
Stat Leaders: Tulsa
- Passing: David Johnson, 24-39, 469 yds, 6 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Tarrion Adams, 12-57. Receiving: Slick Shelley, 6-129, 2 TD
New Mexico
- Passing: Brad Gruner, 7-12, 98 yds, 1 TD, 3 INT
Rushing: Rodney Ferguson, 27-122, 1 TD. Receiving: Bryant Williams, 5-32, 1 TD
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ...
Talk about your nightmares, not only did New Mexico get destroyed by the Tulsa offense, but it lost QB Donovan Porterie for the year with a torn up knee. Rodney Ferguson did what he could to carry the offense, but it didn't matter. Four turnovers, eight penalties, and 606 yards allowed made everything about this game a disaster. New Mexico State is up next.

Sept. 13
New Mexico 36 … Arizona 28
New Mexico rode the bruising running of Rodney Ferguson and capitalized on five Arizona turnovers to pull off the stunning upset. James Aho nailed five field goals for the Lobos including three in the second half to help pull away, and Ferguson ran for touchdown runs from 25 and 10 yards out to go along with a 25-yard scoring pass to QB Donovan Porterie. Arizona struggled to answer. Juron Criner caught a 28-yard touchdown pass with just under five minutes away to pull the Wildcats to within eight, but the final drive stalled after four plays.
Player of the game:
New Mexico RB Rodney Ferguson ran 26 times for 158 yards and two touchdowns, and he threw a 25-yard touchdown pass.
Stat Leaders: Arizona
- Passing: Willie Tuitama, 27-50, 321 yds, 3 TD, 2 INT
Rushing: Nicolas Grigsby, 18-72, 1 TD. Receiving: Michael Thomas, 12-136, 1 TD
New Mexico - Passing: Donovan Porterie, 13-17, 89 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Rodney Ferguson, 26-158, 2 TD. Receiving: Chris Hernandez, 4-39
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... New Mexico found a way to beat Arizona despite making a ton of mistakes. From penalties to stalled drives, the Lobos kept the Wildcats in the game, but the running of Rodney Ferguson and the ball-hawking defense pulled off the win. This was the game the Lobos were looking to come up with over the first two weeks, and this was the performance QB Donovan Porterie needed to have. He only threw for 89 yards, but he completed 13-of-17 passes with an interception.

Sept. 6
Texas A&M 28 … New Mexico 22
Texas A&M overcame injuries to starting QB Stephen McGee and RB Mike Goodson with three touchdown passes from Jerrod Johnson, including two in the first half to Jeff Fuller, and the defense came through with a 48-yard Jordan Peterson interception return for a score. The Lobos rallied late with a five-yard Paul Baker run and a one-yard Rodney Ferguson score, his second touchdown of the game, but the Aggies were able to hang on. The two teams combined for 19 penalties.
Player of the game:
 Texas A&M QB Jerrod Johnson completed 10-of-19 passes for 124 yards and three touchdowns, and ran for ten yards on eight carries
Stat Leaders: Texas A&M - Passing: Jerrod Johnson, 10-19, 124 yds, 3 TD
Rushing: Cyrus Gray, 10-29  Receiving: Ryan Tannehill, 3-57
New Mexico - Passing: Donovan Porterie, 22-35, 154 yds, 2 INT
Rushing: Rodney Ferguson, 19-135, 2 TD. Receiving: Chris Hernandez, 6-51

Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The offense has to stop screwing up. The Lobos turned it over four times against Texas A&M to ruin a great game from the defense. With too many penalties and not enough consistency, the Lobo attack is having a hard time finding itself. Donovan Porterie is struggling in a big way, but he got a great game from Rodney Ferguson to take the pressure off.

Aug. 30
TCU 26 ... New Mexico 3
TCU's defense stuffed New Mexico holding the Lobo attack to 186 yards and just nine first downs, while the offense did what it needed to do with Andy Dalton running for scores from 11 and four yards out, while Ross Evans nailed field goals from 50 and 39 yards away. New Mexico managed a 28-yard James Aho field goal, but the offense was completely ineffective throwing the ball.
Player of the game: TCU QB Andy Dalton completed 16-of-25 passes for 120 yards and an interception, adding a team-high 56 yards and two scores on the ground.
Stat Leaders: TCU - Passing: Andy Dalton, 16-25, 120 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Andy Dalton, 17-56, 2 TDs. Receiving: Jimmy Young, 4-44
New Mexico - Passing: Brad Gruner, 3-13, 93 yds, 1 INT
Rushing: Rodney Ferguson, 18-64. Receiving: Chris Hernandez, 3-99
Whoopty doo. What does it all mean, Basil? ... The offensive line struggled way too much with the TCU defensive front. The pass protection wasn't there, allowing five sacks, and it showed as the Lobo quarterbacks combined to complete seven of 23 passes for 130 yards and two interceptions. Texas A&M lost to Arkansas State, so next week is winnable if the Lobo offensive front plays better. The defense was fine, but the ground game has to start being its old, dominant self again.

2008 Recruiting Class

Star of the Class

Bryant Williams WR 5-11 180 Soph-Tr Edina, Minn. (Coffeyville CC)
Transfer from Coffeyville (Kan.) Community College who enrolled at UNM in January...a redshirt in 2006 so Williams has three years of eligibility remaining at UNM...a team-high 14 catches for 192 yards and 1 TD for the run-oriented Red Ravens in 2007...also 2 rushes for 36 yards, and he returned punts and kickoffs...played for head coach Jeff Leiker

Potential Instant Impact Players

Joe Harris LB 6-2 215 Fr-HS Denver, Colo. (George Washington HS)
All-state linebacker last fall when he totaled 139 tackles, 14 sacks, 6 interceptions, 4 forced fumbles and 3 fumble recoveries...a three-year starter at linebacker and running back for head coach Steve Finesilver...returned 2 interceptions and a fumble for TDs...also 1,300 yards rushing

Ben Contreras OL 6-2 300 Jr-Tr Pleasanton, Calif. (City College of San Francisco)

Transfer who enrolled at UNM in January...All-America offensive lineman for the junior college national champions...the Rams finished 12-1, including a 31-28 victory over Mt. San Antonio in the California State championship game...it's CCSF's fifth national championship...played for head coach George Rush...has a redshirt year available

Rest of the Class

Edrick Boger 5-11 170 DB Dallas, Texas (North Mesquite HS)
A.J. Butler 6-1 195 RB St. Petersburg, Fla. (St. Petersburg Catholic HS)
Jake Carr 6-3 240 DL Murrieta, Calif. (Vista Murrieta HS)
Ben Contreras 6-2 300 OL Pleasanton, Calif. (City College of San Francisco)
Nathan Enriquez 5-10 180 DB Las Cruces, N.M. (Mayfield HS)
Karlin Givens 6-3 295 OL Ridgeland, Miss. (Holmes CC)
Tray Hardaway 6-0 215 LB Olive Branch, Miss. (Copiah-Lincoln CC)
Joe Harris 6-2 215 LB Denver, Colo. (George Washington HS)
B.R. Holbrook 6-3 175 QB Stevenson Ranch, Calif. (Hart HS)
Mark Hunter 6-2 235 DL Spring, Texas (Klein Oak HS)
Rufus Johnson 6-5 230 DL Dallas, Texas (Spruce HS)
Ty Kirk 6-2 180 WR Arlington Heights, Ill. (Rolling Meadows HS)
Jonathan Mader 6-4 200 QB Albuquerque, N.M. (Cibola HS)
Andre McQueen 5-11 175 WR Dallas, Texas (Pinkston HS)
Maurice Mears 6-4 295 OL Miami, Fla. (Rock Valley College)
Spencer Merritt 6-2 205 LB Aurora, Ill. (Waubonsie Valley HS)
Lucas Reed 6-6 215 TE Tucson, Ariz. (Sabino HS)
Carmeiris Stewart 6-3 190 WR Apopka, Fla. (Apopka HS)
Joe Stoner 5-11 215 DB Midwest City, Okla. (Carl Albert HS)
Joshua Taufalele 6-2 320 OL San Jose, Calif. (Foothill College)
Bryant Williams 5-11 180 WR Edina, Minn. (Coffeyville CC)
Freddy Young 5-11 180 DB Las Cruces, N.M. (Mayfield HS)

2008 Early Lookahead
Why to get excited: Could the New Mexico Bowl win over Nevada be the catalyst for bigger and better things? There was an ugly cloud over Rocky Long and his inability to come up with a post-season victory, but that's gone. The pass defense that finished 20th in the nation gets three starters back in the secondary, while the offense gets the backfield back with QB Donovan Porterie and RB Rodney Ferguson a dangerous veteran duo.
Why to be grouchy: The Lobos won't easily replace the First Team All-Mountain West receiving tandem of Travis Brown and Marcus Smith, while four starters are gone off the offensive line. If that wasn't enough, the defensive line loses ends Michael Tuohy and Tyler Donaldson, while all three linebackers are gone.
The number one thing to work on is: Scoring. Even with all the talent at the skill positions, and even with a huge, veteran line, the offense got worse as the season went on averaging a mere 17.2 points per game over the last five. Take the 58 points against Sacramento State out of the mix, and the Lobos put up only 22 points per outing.
Biggest offensive loss: WRs Marcus Smith & Travis Brown
Biggest defensive loss: DE Tyler Donaldson
Best returning offensive player: RB Rodney Ferguson, Sr.
Best returning defensive player: CB DeAndre Wright, Sr.

2007 Recap
Sparked by a senior-drenched lineup, New Mexico won nine games for the first time in a decade and a bowl game for the first time since 1961, suffocating Nevada in the New Mexico Bowl.  Typical of a Rocky Long-coached team, the catalyst for the Lobos' success was an experienced defense that yielded just 319 yards and 19 points a game.  Had the sporadic offense not disappeared in four losses, averaging just 10 points in those games, New Mexico might have challenged for a Mountain West championship.               

Offensive Player of the Year: RB Rodney Ferguson

Defensive Player of the Year: DE Tyler Donaldson

Biggest Surprise: The Lobos had lost nine in-a-row to Pac-10 opponents, six under Long, before upsetting Arizona on Sept. 15 in Tucson.  Despite giving up a ton of yards through the air, the New Mexico aerial connections of Donovan Porterie to Marcus Smith and Travis Brown were up to the challenge, hooking up 21 times in a two-point, springboard victory for the school.    

Biggest Disappointment: Seemingly peaking as October became November, the sizzling Lobos got annihilated by TCU, 37-0, in their worst game of the season.  Nothing went right for New Mexico, which allowed 421 balanced yards to a bad Frog offense, while managing just 119 yards and six first downs when it had the ball.

Looking Ahead: The majority of last year's top performers, including six all-league first teamers, are out of eligibility, so Long could be rebuilding in 2008.  He'll do so around Ferguson, Porterie, and a secondary that boasts capable corners DeAndre Wright and Glover Quin.


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