Three stars of the game: Pokes vs. Lobos
ALBUQUERQUE -- When the opposing team's offensive coordinator gets canned less than 24 hours after a game, you likely did something right.
Despite a slow start that saw Wyoming's defense give up 142 yards and consecutive touchdowns on New Mexico's first two drives of the evening, Jay Sawvel's undermanned unit settled in and put the clamps on the Lobos' unconventional scheme in a 27-14 win Saturday inside University Stadium.
UNM head coach Danny Gonzales announced Sunday that OC Derek Warehime has been fired.
Aside from a pair of field-goal attempts -- a 45-yarder on the final play of the first half that clanked off the right upright and a 22-yard try that was blocked -- the home team's drive chart looked like this: punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, punt, interception, interception.
Cornerback Cam Stone jumped in front of a Miles Kendrick out route and returned it 38 yards for a touchdown late in the fourth. Jakorey Hawkins, an Ole Miss transfer, snagged the second pick to seal the victory.
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The world famous hot-air balloons never entered the spacious skies above Albuquerque on Saturday. The Lobos had zero issues with the takeoff. It was the rest of the flight that went haywire.
And the weather had absolutely nothing to do with that.
There are plenty of game balls to go around, but in the feature, we pick just three. Here is our best attempt:
1st star: Gavin Meyer - Nose tackle
Maybe you skimmed over that "undermanned" work above. You shouldn't have.
The Cowboys played this one without the services of starters Cole Godbout on the defensive front, Keonte Glinton at the nickel spot and, for all but one play, safety Wyett Ekeler.
Gavin Meyer slid in for Godbout at the nose tackle spot and shined in his first start in a Wyoming uniform. The Franklin, Wisconsin product tallied six tackles and blocked that field goal listed above. He also registered three sacks. Twice he brought down Kendrick in the fourth quarter. He also got to back-up Justin Holaday with 32 ticks remaining in regulation.
The official stats incorrectly credited Meyer with just two QB takedowns. Wyoming capped the night with seven total sacks in the win.
Meyer, a 6-foot-4, 279-pound sophomore now has 17 tackles and 3.5 sacks through seven games this fall. Last season, he appeared in just one game. That was the Famous Idaho Potato Bowl where he finished with one stop.
"None," Meyer said when asked if the nerves kicked in before his first-career start. "Every game you have to come out with the same mindset of it's a new game. Coming into this one I felt really collected."
Godbout, according to head coach Craig Bohl, could miss an extended amount of time with an undisclosed injury. Meyer appears ready to answer the bell.
2nd star: Wrook Brown - Nickelback
Speaking of injuries, Wrook Brown was thrust into the starting lineup for the first time in his young career when it was determined Glinton couldn't play this week.
Did he have nerves? Nothing, the redshirt freshman said, will compare to the feeling in his guts when he was forced into action in the season opener at Illinois.
"I wasn't even really supposed to play," Brown said of that game in Champaign. "I can never be as nervous as that in anything that I do. So, nerves were out of the way for this one."
It showed, too.
The Texas product racked up 10 tackles, including seven of the solo variety. He also added half of a tackle for loss and broke up an intended pass to Bobby Wooden on a 3rd-and-5 late in the first half.
Brown, who stands just 5-foot-11 and weighs in at 185, now has 16 tackles in just three outings. Glinton, like Godbout, will be out of the lineup for an unknown period. It looks like Brown will have plenty of time to add to those season totals.
3rd star: Clayton Stewart - Punter
Clayton Stewart punted eight times Saturday night in Albuquerque.
That's the bad news.
The good, he dropped four of those inside the 20-yard line, including lofting one 36 yards late in the fourth that pinned the Lobos back inside their own one. Ryan Marquez saved that one from crossing the white line after catching it in the air and flipping it behind his back. Six snaps later, Stone was standing in the end zone, giving the visitors a commanding 13-point lead with just 1:09 left on the game clock.
Stewart, a former Texas State transfer, appeared to have five boots inside the UNM 20. Late in the second quarter, the junior hammered one 49 yards into the corner. Officials called it a touchback. Bohl's half smile and shoulder shrug at Monday's press conference suggests it was the wrong call.
The Flower Mound, Texas native is currently the top punter in the Mountain West Conference, averaging 45.8 yards per kick. Eleven of his 41 attempts have landed inside the opposition's 20-yard line. Fifteen have traveled 50 yards or more. His season long went for 67.
In the dying minutes of the third Saturday night, New Mexico return man Jer'Marius Lewis hauled in a 41-yard punt and began to glide through UW defenders. There was just one left standing between Lewis and the goal line.
"The bone crusher."
Stewart hammered Lewis and violently dropped him at the 12-yard line. Five plays later, Meyer got a hand on George Steinkamp's 22-yard attempt.
He earned that nickname above after taking down a returner during fall camp. It obviously fits. It also doesn't hurt that Stewart is 6-foot-1, 220 pounds, either.
Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium
- Just The Facts: Size Doesn't Matter For Wyoming's War Memorial Stadium