The University of New Mexico looked every bit like a nine-win bowl team, as it ran past the Wildcats 38-14 in the two teams 2017 season openers.
ACU showed promise early, jumping out to 7-0 lead on a 15-play 99-yard drive after the defense held the Lobos on 4th and goal from the 1-yard line.
But the Lobos scored 38 unanswered points and improved to 1-0 on the season, as the Wildcats fall to 0-1.
Head coach Adam Dorrel said he was proud of his team’s effort.
“I thought we did some really good things,” Dorrel said. “Obviously we’re disappointed in the outcome, we had an opportunity in the end zone to catch that pass, it’s 14-14, instead they rule it incomplete, we don’t score and they go right down and score so that’s difficult, but I’m proud of our team and our effort tonight, there’s just some things we’ve got to clean up.”
In the win the Lobos triple option proved tough to stop as they out gained the Wildcats in total offense, 481 to 282.
The Lobos also won the turnover battle turning the ball over two times while the Wildcats turned the ball over three times. Two of these turnovers included an interception returned 91 yards for a touchdown by New Mexico senior safety Jake Rothschiller and a fumble that turned into a Lobo field goal.
The Wildcats did, however, turn a Lobo fumble into a touchdown towards the end of the game that made the final score 38-14.
Junior quarterback Dallas Sealey led the Wildcat offense going 33-for-53 with 240 yard passing and a touchdown with two interceptions.
Senior wide receiver Carl Whitley stood out with four receptions, 59 yards and a touchdown.
Defensively for the Wildcats, senior linebacker Bryson Gates had five total tackles with 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for a loss. Sophomore linebacker Jeremiah Chambers had four tackles with 1.5 sacks and 1.5 tackles for a loss and senior linebacker Sam Denmark had four tackles.
Dorrel said that he thought his linebackers played passionately.
“I thought they played well, I thought their energy was good, their passion was good, they were flying around,” Dorrel said. “The hardest part about the option is simulating it in practice, so you knew it was going to be bang bang for a bit and we kept talking about how the game was going to slow down and it did slow down for them and they did a great job of being where they were supposed to be.”
The Wildcats next game will be against Colorado State in Fort Collins, Colorado Saturday Sept. 9. The Rams are 1-1 on the season.