Sports Desk: Lobo Football looks for bounce-back win in conference opener

FOX New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – University of New Mexico football will open up conference play at home this year, as they host Air Force on Saturday at 4:30 p.m. UNM is coming off of a tough loss to UTEP, which dropped their record to 2-2 heading into conference play.

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“That’s the most dejected I have seen our team after a football game, which means they are getting the idea that if you put everything into it you have a better chance to be successful. There were some really really hurt guys in that locker room, I mean all of them, which is finally the way it should be when you lose a football game and for all the work you put in to have an opportunity to play,” said Coach Danny Gonzales.

“I know the guys are ready to bounce back off of that. I mean, it hurts and you know you want to get that bad taste out of your mouth. So, we are definitely ready to move forward,” said UNM quarterback Terry Wilson.

UNM lost to UTEP 20-13 last weekend but UNM was down six receivers after a positive COVID-19 test. One positive test and contact tracing forced out those players for the UTEP game and Saturday’s game with Air Force.

“We really won’t have an update until Saturday. We got to keep testing negative through those deals. We will have a better idea this weekend on Saturday about what’s going to happen. They got guys that they are dealing with too, so I am not trying to hide it from Coach Calhoun and those guys. I mean, we are trying to figure it out ourselves, ” said Coach Gonzales.

Per the NCAA contact tracing and COVID rules, the players will need to quarantine for 10 days.

So, as of now, it is unsure if those five receivers and one tight end will play against Air Force but it is now about the next man up and Wilson believes his current receiving core that is able to play will be better prepared this week. “It takes time for those guys to settle in. I mean they got a lot of stuff thrown at them this past week. So, I feel like they are finally settling in. I am still staying in their ear and helping them out with everything that they need to know about the gameplay, but you know really just encouraging them,” said Wilson.

Air Force comes into the game with a 3-1 record and they also lead the country in rushing.

Meanwhile, New Mexico United will be back in action on Wednesday hosting Rio Grande Valley. The team is looking to win their third straight match. “Going into the last eight or nine matches of the year here that every match is critical, particularly where we are in the table and where RGV is right now, we are sitting on the same amount of points. I think it’s a really tough match up and it’s one that we have to try and take three points,” said NM United Head Coach Troy Lesesne.

The kick-off for that match is at 7:30 p.m. at Isotopes Park.

Sticking with soccer, the Lobo Women enter their second week of conference play and they will host two games, Utah State on Friday and Boise State on Sunday. UNM is currently 2-0 in MW play and 7-2 overall on the season, and the team is riding a six-game winning streak. The Lobos have caught some fire as of late but it’s been a group effort as the Lobos have had nine different players score a goal this season.

“I think at the beginning of the year that was what we were talking about a lot is, who is going to kind of step up and find some of these ways for us to score goals and get assists, and you are seeing it from all over. Which to me is a really good sign of a healthy team. I mean, when the stats are all over the board that’s a great thing because then no team can focus in on any one player and I think that is one of our strengths,” said UNM Women’s Soccer Coach Heather Dyche.

Lastly, the Albuquerque Isotopes wrapped up their home schedule on Monday night and it was one to remember. “I will tell you this, I think this was the most important season that we have ever had here. You know, I just finished my 34th year in baseball and even for me personally, I don’t think I have ever had a more important season under my bet and certainly, we have not had one that’s more important than this,” said Isotopes General Manager John Traub.

It meant a lot to the organization to bring baseball back to Albuquerque but it was also important to do it safely. This year was a success because the Isotopes had the highest attended game in the minor leagues on July 4, finished at the top of overall attendance in Minor League Baseball. They didn’t have one COVID-19 outbreak at Rio Grande Credit Union Field at Isotopes Park all season.

“People did not have to come this year but they did and we are very appreciative of that. I mean, it’s not just this year right, they have been supporting us ever since 2003, and early in the first homestand next year we are expecting to hit our 10 millionth fan. We would have hit this year under normal circumstances, but nothing was normal about this year. So, we can look forward to that next year,” said Traub.

The Isotopes still have five games remaining in their 2021 season and they start their road series with Sacramento on Wednesday at 8:05 p.m.

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