Sep 10, 2022; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA;  LSU Tigers head coach Brian Kelly reacts during the second half against the Southern Jaguars at Tiger Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Scott Clause-USA TODAY Sports

LSU looks for more consistency in battle with New Mexico

Brian Kelly got a victory in his first Southeastern Conference game as LSU head coach.

The Tigers (2-1) will try to build on their 31-16 victory against Mississippi State last weekend when they step out of the SEC to face New Mexico on Saturday in Baton Rouge, La.

“Can we handle success? That’s the question this week,” Kelly said. “Any win in the SEC is a good win. We’re at a team that has a chance to be a good team, but we have to have consistency.”

LSU struggled offensively as it fell behind the Bulldogs 13-0 late in the second quarter. A touchdown just before halftime jumpstarted the offense and the Tigers pulled away by outscoring MSU 21-0 in the fourth quarter.

“I really like how physically and mentally our guys stayed with it until the end of the game,” Kelly said. “We have to look toward perseverance and consistency.

“We’ll look to improve on our overall performance and consistency for four quarters. We’re looking for a complete performance.”

Kelly noted that New Mexico (2-1) forced seven turnovers in its 27-10 victory against UTEP last Saturday.

“We do some turnovers stuff during fall camp but that’s not where you get turnovers,” Lobos head coach Danny Gonzales said. “Turnovers you get from effort and being really physical. The (turnovers) you cause come from the way we play and what we preach on defense is all 11 to the ball in bad humor and when you get there you try to cause something.”

The turnovers came in the form of three fumble recoveries and four interceptions, including one that was returned for a touchdown by linebacker Reco Hannah to give the Lobos a 10-0 lead.

“I don’t think there is a special magical formula (for causing turnovers),” Gonzales said. “It’s the expectation (to cause turnovers). It ain’t the expectation to get seven (turnovers). That’s unbelievable. Give them credit.”

New Mexico, which beat Maine 41-0 and lost to Boise State 31-14 in its first two games, will be playing its first road game.

–Field Level Media

Kansas redshirt senior quarterback Miles Kendrick (3) runs for yards during the second half of Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021 game against Texas Tech at David Booth Kansas Memorial Stadium. The Jayhawks lost 41-14.

Kansas transfer Miles Kendrick named New Mexico starting QB

New Mexico on Monday named Miles Kendrick its starting quarterback for the season opener Sept. 3 against Maine.

Kendrick transferred to New Mexico after playing parts of the past four seasons at Kansas.

In 17 career games (two starts), Kendrick has completed 61.1 percent of his passes and thrown for nine touchdowns and six interceptions. He added 105 rushing yards and one touchdown.

Kendrick missed 2019 due to injury. His 2021 season was also cut short in November when he suffered a lower-leg injury.

“I’m looking to take advantage of every single day. I’m not going to let any day go to waste leading up to Week 1, and that’s my mindset,” Kendrick told reporters. “I’m happy to be named the starter but the work and the expectations are out in front of me. I’m ready to take advantage for sure.”

–Field Level Media

Oct 9, 2021; Carson, California, USA; San Diego State Aztecs running back Greg Bell (22) celebrates with wide receiver Jesse Matthews (45) his touchdown scored against the New Mexico Lobos during the first half at Dignity Health Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

No. 25 San Diego St. puts clamps on Lobos, 31-7

Greg Bell ran for 111 yards and a touchdown Saturday night, and No. 25 San Diego State limited New Mexico to 193 total yards in a 31-7 win in Carson, Calif.

Quarterback Jordan Brookshire added two rushing scores for the Aztecs (5-0, 1-0 Mountain West Conference) while throwing for 130 yards on 11 of 24 accuracy. San Diego State gained just 336 total yards but was in control almost from the beginning.

The Aztecs’ defense made life difficult for quarterback Terry Wilson Jr., a Kentucky transfer who absorbed four sacks and completed 13-of-25 passes for 127 yards with an interception. The Lobos (2-4, 0-2) rushed for only 66 yards on 34 attempts.

San Diego State wasted no time putting its stamp on the game. After its defense forced a 3-and-out to start the game, Bell rushed 40 yards on the Aztecs’ first snap, then scored five plays later from the 1 for a 7-0 lead only 3:39 into the night.

Matt Araiza started the second quarter by hitting a 40-yard field goal for a 10-0 advantage. Brookshire finished off a drive of nearly 5 1/2 minutes with a 1-yard touchdown run that put San Diego State ahead by 17 at halftime.

New Mexico got back into contention briefly in the third quarter when Ray Leutele recovered a Bell fumble and rumbled 15 yards for a touchdown, cutting the Aztecs’ cushion to 17-7 at the 4:41 mark.

But San Diego State needed just over two minutes to formulate a response. Two Lobo penalties gifted it first downs and Brookshire cashed in a 45-yard field with an 11-yard run with 2:35 remaining to restore a 17-point lead.

Chance Bell capped the scoring with an 8-yard run with 13:05 left in the game, finishing off a 66-yard drive.

Aaron Dumas managed 77 yards on 11 carries for New Mexico, which hurt itself repeatedly with penalties and an inability to extend drives. The Lobos were flagged nine times for 86 yards and went just 3 of 16 on third down.

–Field Level Media

Sep 4, 2021;  College Station, Texas, USA;  Texas A&M Aggies wide receiver Ainias Smith (0) reacts after his touchdown in the fourth quarter against the Kent State Golden Flashes at Kyle Field. Mandatory Credit: Maria Lysaker-USA TODAY Sports

New Mexico no ‘sacrificial lamb’ for No. 7 Texas A&M

Dropping two placed in the rankings despite a victory last week, Texas A&M figures to be plenty motivated in a nonconference meeting with New Mexico on Saturday.

A close 10-7 victory at unranked Colorado of the Pac-12 dropped Texas A&M from No. 5 to No. 7.

The Aggies (2-0) play their third straight nonconference football opponent Saturday morning at Kyle Field in College Station against New Mexico of the Mountain West. They will do so without quarterback Haynes King, who left the Colorado game in the first quarter with a lower leg fracture that required surgery.

King is out indefinitely, and Zach Calzada, who took over in Denver, is in. Calzada completed 18 of 39 passes for 183 yards, one touchdown and one interception. He also ran for 28 yards on seven carries.

Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher likes what he saw from Calzada as far as his communication and sideline demeanor after mistakes and execution errors. Calzada fumbled at the goal line on a play that was close, reviewed by officials and upheld. But later, he led his team down the field and hit Isaiah Spiller for an 18-yard touchdown pass that proved the winning points with 2:41 left in the game.

At 10 games, A&M has its longest winning streak since 1998, and is a heavy favorite to extend the streak this weekend.

“That’s the first real actual true game time that Zach has had,” Fisher said. “He got put in the fire pretty good right there quick out of the blue, and they (Colorado) were ready for us.

“The more he played, the more it slowed down, the more he saw it, the more plays he was able to make.”

The Aggies defense was stubborn in the second half, holding the Buffaloes to just 54 total yards and forcing them to go 0-of-6 on third-down conversions. With Jayden Peevy’s interception, Texas A&M has intercepted a pass in six of its last seven games.

New Mexico is 2-0 for the first time since the 2005 season, after the Lobos’ 34-25 win over New Mexico State last Saturday. Quarterback Terry Wilson threw for a career high 381 yards and three touchdowns. Wilson is this week’s Mountain West Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

“The big thing, we’re trying to change the habit of losing,” Lobos head coach Danny Gonzales said. “We’re trying to establish something around here. It’s an attitude.”

Gonzales said his team is not a “sacrificial lamb” for Texas A&M.

“They may think we are. But we’re going to go down there and put our best foot forward and we’re going to fight and compete,” he said.

Wilson and wide receiver Mannie Logan-Green have built a connection from when they worked out together in Arizona in 2018. Logan-Green is No. 2 in the nation in kickoff return yards with 279 and fifth in the nation in all-purpose yards with 395 through two games this season.

Texas A&M has won all four previous meetings, including the three in Texas by an average of 46 points per game.

— Field Level Media

Jan 2, 2021; Jacksonville, FL, USA; Kentucky Wildcats quarterback Terry Wilson (3) warms up before a game against the North Carolina State Wolfpack at TIAA Bank Field. Mandatory Credit: Mike Watters-USA TODAY Sports

Ex-Kentucky QB Terry Wilson transfers to New Mexico

Dec 27, 2020; Houston, Texas, USA; Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson (4) jogs off the field after a play against the Cincinnati Bengals during the first quarter at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Former Kentucky dual-threat quarterback Terry Wilson has transferred to New Mexico, the Lobos announced Tuesday.

Wilson, who went 17-8 as a starter for the Wildcats from 2018-20, has one season remaining and is eligible to play for the Lobos in 2021.

“Terry Wilson will bring immediate experience to our quarterback room,” New Mexico coach Danny Gonzales said in a news release. “He is a three-year starter in the SEC and won 68 percent of his games there. He is a true dual-threat quarterback who should fit very well into what we are trying to do offensively. He was a two-time captain at Kentucky and he earned his degree as well, so he will bring a level of maturity and leadership to our team.”

Wilson announced he was entering the NCAA transfer portal in January.

Wilson passed for 3,436 yards and 20 touchdowns and rushed for 1,015 yards and 10 scores with the Wildcats.

He appeared in 10 games in 2020, completing 62.5 percent of his passes for 1,187 yards with seven TDs and four interceptions. He rushed 104 times for 424 yards and five scores.

–Field Level Media

Nov 22, 2019; Laramie, WY, USA; A general view of the Colorado State Rams helmet against the Wyoming Cowboys at Jonah Field War Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Troy Babbitt-USA TODAY Sports

Colorado State-New Mexico game canceled over virus concerns

The Mountain West Conference canceled the scheduled game between New Mexico and Colorado State on Tuesday.

The game was set to be played Saturday night in Fort Collins, Colo., to open the eight-game season for both teams.

The game will not be rescheduled, the conference said.

The cancellation came because of restrictions related to COVID-19 in Bernalillo County, N.M., where the Albuquerque campus is located. A spike in cases in New Mexico led to the state limiting gatherings to no more than five people, including team practices. The Lobos have been practicing in small groups.

Eight players and one coach for the Lobos tested positive last week, the Albuquerque Journal reported.

New Mexico recently reported an average of 544 COVID-19 cases per day, up 133 percent from the average number two weeks earlier.

Colorado State next is scheduled to play on Oct. 29 at Fresno State. New Mexico is slated to host San Jose State on Oct. 31.

The conference indefinitely postponed its football season and all fall sports on Aug. 10 due to safety concerns involving the coronavirus pandemic. At that point, the Mountain West became the second league, following the Mid-American Conference, to announce the postponement of their seasons.

The conference agreed last month to reinstate the football season, and the announcement came with the stipulation that the schedule was “subject to approval from state, county and local officials.”

–Field Level Media

Aug 4, 2018; Canton, OH, USA; Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2018 enshrinee Brian Urlacher during the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Ceremony at Tom Bensen Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

Bears, New Mexico, Forte condemn Urlacher comment

The Chicago Bears and the University of New Mexico issued statements on Friday distancing themselves from Brian Urlacher after the Hall of Fame linebacker wrote a controversial comment following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wis.

Urlacher posted the following to his Instagram story on Thursday after NBA players elected to sit out playoff games as a means to protest.

“Brett Favre played the (Monday Night Football) game the day his dad died, threw 4 TDs in the first half, and was a legend for playing in the face of adversity,” Urlacher wrote.

“NBA players boycott the playoffs because a dude reaching for a knife, wanted on a felony sexual assault warrant, was shot by police.”

Urlacher also allegedly liked an Instagram post calling for the release of Kyle Rittenhouse, a 17-year-old white teenager who has been charged with first-degree homicide in the killing of two protesters this week in Kenosha.

The Bears were quick to make it clear that they don’t share Urlacher’s views.

“The social media posts in no way reflect the values or opinions of the Chicago Bears organization,” the team said in a statement.

Urlacher’s alma mater, New Mexico, issued a lengthy statement on Friday.

“We, the players, of The University of New Mexico football team vehemently condemn the words of one of our most renowned and respected alumni, Brian Urlacher,” the school said in a statement. “… When you have a platform, you also have the responsibility and an obligation to use it wisely and respectfully; especially when you are the face of multiple sports organizations. As one of our own we look forward to the opportunity to sit down and discuss the comment Brian posted and why it was hurtful to us.

“… Regardless of who you are or your relation to this football team, we will no longer tolerate hatred and blatant ignorance directed towards the very existence of so many on this team. We will always stand unified and we will march far across the river towards justice together. We are The University of New Mexico football team and we will always fight ignorance and hatred with empowerment and unity.”

Running back Matt Forte, who played with Urlacher in Chicago for five seasons from 2008-12, took to social media to share his frustration with his former teammate’s comment.

“The comment (Urlacher) posted is void of empathy, compassion, wisdom and coherence. But full of pride and ignorance!” Forte wrote on Twitter. “I pray for those who have been blinded by their wealth, privilege and earthly fame that breeds arrogance in their hearts. And those who refuse to acknowledge racism and injustice but instead choose to place their energy into justifying it by quickly judging the victims life as if they themselves are more valuable because their sins are different or weren’t caught by man… but God sees all.”

Urlacher was an eight-time Pro Bowl selection and was the 2005 Defensive Player of the Year in a 13-year career spent entirely with the Bears. He was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2018.

–Field Level Media

New Mexico Lottery to Offer Game Tied to Sports

The New Mexico Lottery Board on Tuesday voted to approve a game linked with the outcome of sporting events, the Santa Fe New Mexican reported. The game will mark the second venture for an entity in New Mexico to offer sports betting after the Supreme Court struck down the Professional and Amateur Sports Protection Act in May. Just last month, the tribal-owned Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel, with USBookmaking as its operator, launched a sportsbook. 

Though details of the new lottery game were not made public, it’s likely it will involve parlay wagering, similar to Delaware’s sports lottery. In such a game, players must select the winners of at least three sports events and select each one correctly in order to win.

The driving force behind developing a sports-related lottery game is to generate more money for education, which the lottery funds. Lottery CEO David Barden told the Santa Fe New Mexican that the new game could produce $30 million a year, with $9 million to be directed to the lottery’s college tuition assistance program.

 
 

Read more New Mexico Lottery to Offer Game Tied to Sports on SportsHandle.

Sports Betting Launches In New Mexico: ‘We Expect A Big Weekend’

The post Sports Betting Launches In New Mexico: ‘We Expect A Big Weekend’ appeared first on SportsHandle.

The Santa Ana Star Casino & Hotel, a tribal gaming operation near Albuquerque, New Mexico, is now the first Western U.S. state to join Nevada in offering full-fledged sports betting in a legal environment.

The first bet, made Tuesday at noon Mountain Time, was a $30 money line win ticket on the Astros to beat the Red Sox (-128) in game four of their ALCS contest Tuesday. The Red Sox lost 8-2.  

Las Vegas-based USBookmaking is risk manager for the Santa Ana Star, in operation since 1993 by Tamaya Nation at the Pueblo of Santa Ana. US Bookmaking Director of Operations John Salerno told Sports Handle, it’s a B2B operation utilizing the Stadium betting platform with all employees working directly for the property. It has four windows for taking bets and will be open daily from 12 p.m. until 8 p.m., with expanded hours on weekends.

 
 

Read more Sports Betting Launches In New Mexico: ‘We Expect A Big Weekend’ on SportsHandle.

Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting & Sports: SVP, G2E & New Mexico’s a ‘Go’

It’s information overload everywhere, and there’s not time enough to sleep and eat and stay fully apprised of what’s happening on this crazy blue dot of ours (two out of three ain’t bad).

Here’s the weekend Sports Handle item, “Get a Grip,” recapping the week’s top stories, and rounding up key stories in sports betting, gaming, and the world of sports at large. You may have missed them, and they are worth reading.


SVP: Legal Sports Betting Just ‘Common Sense’


ESPN personality Scott Van Pelt didn’t pussyfoot around his thoughts on sports betting at the Global Gaming Expo (G2E) in Las Vegas earlier this week. Nope, the sometimes irreverent, always hip late-night sports jock just said it like it is on why sports betting should be legal.

“Because I have common sense,” he said in answer to a question from the American Gaming Association’s Sara Slane, per CDC Gaming Reports. “I live in a state (Connecticut) where I can buy lottery tickets at a gas station, go to a casino and play blackjack, but I can’t bet on the Red Sox or the Yankees? People bet. They are adults. I’m in favor of adults doing adult things.”

Van Pelt shared his thoughts on how fast states across the nation would legalize sports betting — “Maybe six months, a year, we’ll get to a point where everyone, even grandma, is out on the dance floor.” And if that would compromise the integrity of games — “You have to be vigilant. You have to be concerned, but you just can’t listen to the conspiracy theorists and the idiots on Twitter”.

 

Read more Get a Grip: The Week in Sports Betting & Sports: SVP, G2E & New Mexico’s a ‘Go’  on SportsHandle.