The birthday boy doesn’t want a cake and he’s not looking for a clown with a knack for making animal balloons.
What the now 65-year-old Bob Davie wants — his latest lap around the sun was celebrated Monday — is something only his University of New Mexico football team can deliver Friday night at the south end of the San Francisco Bay.
His Lobos visit to San Jose State is the Mountain West Conference opener for UNM.
“You kind of look at these birthdays through a different lens since you were laying flat on your back in the locker room,” Davie said, referencing his collapse from what is still not defined as anything other than a “serious medical incident.”
“If you really want to get me a present,” he said, “get me that present on Friday.”
That’s easier said than done.
UNM (2-2 overall, 0-0 in league play) is coming off a disappointing loss last weekend at Liberty. Missed blocks, dropped passes and penalties on the first few drives were killers in the 17-10 setback.
Davie said he obviously had higher expectations for his offense, but the team’s inability to execute until the final minute when it scored its only touchdown wasn’t nearly good enough. Davie pointed to his offensive line’s inability to get a vertical push and create space downfield.
The Lobos went to the option in the fourth quarter to kick-start things, but by then the defense had yielded just enough to the Liberty offense — three plays of 40-plus yards — to put the Flames safely in front.
“We are who we are now,” Davie said. “We’re not going to be a defense that just shuts you down now. That’s just a reality.”
A bit of a concern is the pure logistics of Friday’s game. While no one went down with a cramp in the high humidity of Lynchburg, Va., five players twisted an ankle on Liberty’s spongy turf. Other than that, the only real issue is what lies ahead Friday night.
Aside from the short turnaround, Davie said playing a Saturday game in one part of the country and Friday on the other coast is a challenge.
“It’s not ideal to play in the East Coast time zone and then play a Friday night game in the Pacific time zone,” he said. “On the surface it looks like they have an advantage.”
How about some 505 por vida action for the Lobos? Aaron Molina scored the game’s only touchdown against Liberty and kicker Andrew Shelley hit an extra point and a 51-yard field goal for the other four points. Both players are products of Albuquerque high schools, meaning it’s the first time in years that the team’s point total came from players recruited in New Mexico. … San Jose State may have turned more than a heads with its upset win at Arkansas, but the Spartans’ loss last week to Air Force dropped them to 0-7 in conference openers since joining the Mountain West. … SJSU and UNM have had two men coach at both schools; Dudley DeGroot and Bob Titchenal. DeGroot coached the Lobos from 1950-52 with Titchenal coaching UNM from 1953-55. They went a combined 25-32-1 at New Mexico. … The MWC has posted nine wins against Power Five conference teams this season, including San Jose State’s win at Arkansas. This game, however, is UNM’s first against an FBS team affiliated with any kind of conference; Notre Dame, New Mexico State and Liberty are all independents while Sam Houston State is in the FCS. “This league is off and running,” Davie said. “This conference is rolling right now, there’s no question about it.”