New Mexico’s kicker Wes Zunker knew it was good when he made
contact with the ball.
“I knew it was good when I hit it,” Zunker said of his 33-yard
game-winning field goal Friday night in Albuquerque, N.M., in front
of 37,133 breathless fans.
With 1:02 showing on the clock and the game tied 34-34,
quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt fumbled the snap from center and New
Mexico’s Kyle Coulter beat him to the ball and recovered it on the
Rams’ 16-yard line. The Lobos proceeded to run the ball and the
clock until they needed the services of Zunker.
Zunker’s game winner with no time showing on the clock was his
third field goal of the game and his 13th straight successful field
goal this season.
“It never should have gotten that far,” Zunker said. “But the
whole time I was thinking, ‘This is going to be a close one,’ and I
knew it could come down to me.”
New Mexico’s 37-34 victory over the Rams is their first win
against CSU since a 22-14 game on Oct. 21, 1995 in Fort Collins.
New Mexico (6-4, 3-2 Mountain West) still needs to win one of their
next two games to become bowl eligible.
“This win was a great win for us,” New Mexico head coach Rocky
Long said. “But it was no more important than beating San Diego
State or Utah, and it’s not going to be any more important than
when we play Air Force next week.”
All game long, the Rams were victimized by New Mexico’s
sensational sophomore tailback DonTrell Moore. Moore rushed for a
career-high 242 yards and scored three times to set the school
single-season record for touchdowns at 18. His 242-yard performance
was the best by a Mountain West back all season and third highest
“He ran the ball real well,” CSU head coach Sonny Lubick said.
“No. 22 had a nice ball game. Our biggest mistake was that we were
in the hole and we weren’t tackling the guy. He’d bounce off us and
a three-yard gain turns into a 12-yard gain.”
In the second quarter, the Rams only totaled nine yards of
offense but put 11 points on the board.
Their lone touchdown of the half was set up by an 88-yard
kickoff return by Dexter Wynn. Wynn was a man possessed because
four plays earlier he fumbled a punt that led to a Lobos’
“I felt real bad for my team after my fumble,” Wynn said. “I
told them ‘if they give me an opportunity to catch the ball, I’ll
make up for it.'”
Quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt scored one play later on a six-yard
touchdown run on an option keeper.
But the Lobos answered quickly with a 45-yard touchdown run from
Moore and New Mexico took a 24-14 lead into the locker room.
“Our defense can’t play like we did in the first half and expect
to win,” CSU linebacker Jeff Flora said.
Fortunately for the Rams, adjustments were made, and the Rams
clawed their way back into the game in the second half.
Van Pelt continued to be the only successful runner for the Rams
had. But the key in the second half was that Van Pelt, who
accounted for 300 of the Rams’ 328 yards, finally found a weapon in
the air in David Anderson.
Anderson, held without a catch in the first half, hauled in
seven balls for 134 yards and one score in the second.
“In the second half, we just started seeing everything they were
doing,” Anderson said. “We just started getting more
Anderson’s 15-yard touchdown grab on fourth down and goal
brought the Rams within seven points and on the next drive the Rams
tied it with Van Pelt’s 1-yard run on forth down.
Kicker Jeff Babcock went a perfect 4-for-4 on the night in field
With the loss, the Rams find themselves on the outside looking
in to make their sixth consecutive bowl game. The loss drops the
Rams to 5-5 and 2-3 in the conference. They are currently tied for
forth in the MWC, and only three teams make a bowl game.