NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The UNM Lobos football team knows all about ups and downs. They’ve had them this year. The latest form of that came in a home loss against UNLV this past Saturday, which gave the Rebels their only win of the season. What was a promising start and lead turned into a deficit after a pair of Lobo turnovers.
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As they travel to play Fresno State Saturday, the Lobos are just hoping they can get out of their own way on the field and not help a talented Bulldogs team. “We are a team of what if right now,” said UNM head coach Danny Gonzales. “We have so many opportunities squandered that if we block one guy, guys are wide open or if we run through a tackle, it will be an 80-yard touchdown. If we pull a ball out, it’s fourth down.”
The Lobos are three and six on the season with three games left to play. That means they can still become bowl eligible if they win out. The right attitude will be needed for that. Lobos senior safety Jerrick Reed II tries to encourage his teammates to stay positive.
“What I tell my teammates is, you have personal goals for yourself for starters. If you have those personal goals that you want to be first-team all-conference, that you want to be a Jim Thorpe guy, you know, you have to keep that same energy no matter how bad the season’s going. If you get that in your mind, that I’m going to be great, then you keep the energy. You’re going to keep playing the whole year no matter 3 and 5, 0 and 12, whatever it is.”
Lobos quarterback Isaiah Chavez is expected to make his third start in Saturday’s game. Chavez injured his right ankle against UNLV but has been practicing this week. Original starter Terry Wilson remains on the sidelines after dislocating his elbow on his nonthrowing arm about five weeks ago. There is a chance he might not return.
“There is a great possibility that we might not see him again,” said coach Gonzales. “So, we evaluate him every day. He did not practice today and we’ll keep moving forward. It’s obviously transformed to be a lot worse than what we had hoped. So, we’re practicing with the guys that are available.”
The Lobos defeated Fresno State last season. This year’s game starts at 5 p.m. and will broadcast on Stadium.
In other sports news, Lobo men’s basketball will tip off the regular season Wednesday. The Lobos have looked over the video from their route of New Mexico Highlands in an exhibition game last Friday. The team is fine-tuning as they prepare for FAU Wednesday night. “There’s a lot of things we do have to work on as a team, but what you do see is a team that’s willing to play for each other, that obviously love to win,” said UNM guard K.J. Jenkins. Wednesday’s game starts at 7 p.m.
The Lobo women’s basketball team is starting the regular season by hosting the Lamar Cardinals at 7 p.m. on Tuesday. New Mexico State men’s basketball team is also opening the regular season, hosting UC Irvine at 7 p.m.
Lastly, Jackson and Wink-trained fighter Aaron Pico is returning to the octagon Friday as part of Bellator 271 in Hollywood, Florida. Pico is facing the undefeated Julian Gonzalez. Pico heads into the fight riding the momentum of four straight dominant finishes.