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Danny Gonzales, UNM starters determined to stop decade-long losing streak to CSU

Justin Michael Avatar
July 24, 2021

LAS VEGAS — 10 straight losses. 

Danny Gonzales is well aware that it’s been over a decade since New Mexico last defeated Colorado State. The second-year Lobos coach didn’t shy away from the fact when asked about his program’s difficult stretch against its long-time conference foe at Media Days this week. Neither did his players. 

“Every day, we opened up the team meeting with how many times has Colorado State won in a row? ‘10’. They know,” Gonzales said in a candid interview with DNVR at the Cosmopolitan Hotel. “They know.”

“It’s something coach G brought up,” UNM’s starting center Kyle Stapley Sr. added. “I mean he brought it up in every team meeting. Every chance he got to throw that out at us he did.”

Although the 2020 matchup was canceled by New Mexico state officials in response to COVID-19 numbers in Bernalillo County last fall, the representatives of UNM made it clear that if the Lobos want to buck the current trend, a good place to start is halting a losing streak that dates back to November 21, 2009. 

“It was a motivator, obviously, to tell us hey it’s time to change this,” Stapley Sr. said of his coaches’ antics. “If we want to change this program, well, this is the streak we need to start with. We need to win one and break that 10 game winning streak.”

Since the 2010 season the Rams have outscored the Lobos by 138 points (359-221). They’ve won five of the 10 meetings by double digits. And CSU has scored 35+ in exactly half of those wins. 

Not all of the wins have been blowouts for the Green & Gold, as CSU has also managed to come out on top in the last five matchups decided by a single possession. No matter how many points either team has managed to throw on the board in the last decade, though, it’s been the Rams that have walked away as victors. 

Gonzales, who is a native of Albuquerque, N.M. played for the Lobos in the 1990’s, before becoming a G.A, then a video coordinator, and eventually the safeties coach from 2006-11, is well-regarded for his defensive acumen. A Rocky Long disciple that spent a decade learning from his mentor at UNM before reuniting with him again at San Diego State from 2011-17, Gonzales is extremely familiar with CSU. 

Leaning back in his chair, Gonzales talked about the days when the Rams and Lobos were both consistently contenders for the conference championship. “Those games always came down to the wire,” Gonzales said. 

The long-time Mountain West assistant, now in his first stint as a head coach, talked about the 2002 season. With a spot in the MW Championship Game on the line CSU defeated UNM, 22-14, in a classic late-November showdown at Hughes Stadium. The Rams actually led 19-0 at one point but the Lobos made things interesting with a couple of scores late in the second half. 

Gonzales also brought up 2005, when the Lobos were picked to win the Mountain West before producing a 6-5 season. Making things worse for the Lobo fans, UNM dropped two of the final three, including a 35-25 loss to the Rams. As a result of their disappointing final month, 2005 was the only campaign between 2002-07 in which the Lobos failed to receive a bowl bid. 

“Those battles have been great,” Gonzales said. “They’ve always been close games….I love playing those guys because they do things very similarly. When coach (Sonny) Lubick was there you got two identical football teams, two teams that were trying to kill each other, trying to be the most dominant.

“I’ve gotta think that coach (Steve) Addazio has that personality too,” Gonzales continued. “So there will be some fun battles.”

CSU and UNM will face off in Week 7 in 2021. A win over the Lobos would be CSU’s sixth in a row in Dreamstyle Stadium and 11th in a row overall. More important than the bragging rights, however, will be the chance to secure a conference win. 

As UNM’s starting safety Jerrick Reed II explained, if you want to be in the conversation come November, you have to win the league matchups. A slow start in non-conference play is less than ideal, but until you start dropping Mountain West matchups, the chance at a conference title is always still in play.

For both CSU and UNM, two teams that have been starved for a chance at the spotlight, the inter-conference showdown is particularly important as it will be an early opportunity to steal a MW win in October, before the weather turns cold and the pressure of the season intensifies. 

“I feel like going into that game, it’s a big one, because you know, they beat us 10 (straight) times,” Reed said. “It’s time to change that. “But also, it’s just one of our eight conference games that we have to win.” 

Gameday Info: 

Oct. 16, 2021 | 5:00 p.m. MT | Fox Sports 1 or Fox Sports 2 


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