When the New Mexico Lobos run out to the field on the Sun Bowl to take on the UTEP Miners Saturday night they will be without starting quarterback Cole Gautsche. Gautsche suffered a helmet-to-helmet hit in the teams opening season loss to Texas-San Antonio.
Starting in Gautsche's place will be junior college transfer Clayton Mitchem. Mitchem replaced Gautsche against UTSA but he had limited success running the offense. Mitchem struggled to run and throw the ball, he completed just 2 of 5 passes for 19 yards and rushed three times for just eight yards. This was Mitchem's first game at the FBS level as he transferred in from Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College in Miami, Okla., and he is regarded as a better passer than Gautsche.
Hopefully Mitchem is a better passer than Gautsche because the New Mexico offense needs a quarterback who can throw the ball to keep the defenses honest so that they do not just stack the box and shut down the running attack. At his prior stop in Oklahoma, Mitchem passed for 2,435 yards and ran for 728 on the ground, so he truly is a dual-thread quarterback.
The Lobos just need him to be able to be a threat to run the ball, run at times, possess good fakes in this run-based pistol attack and as mentioned quite a bit already be able to throw the ball.
Head coach Bob Davie just wants to get the win and he wants to have best players on the field, and if it happens to be Mitchem at the quarterback spot then he might supplant the injured Gautsche to be the new starting quarterback.
One other piece of news about Gautsche is that Davie is sending the tape of the hit that sidelined him to the Mountain West who then sent it to Conference USA, the league UTSA is from. Davie felt that some things were questionable, and he did not mention specifically the helmet-to-helmet hit but that is likely the reason to send the tape. The officiating crew also was made almost entirely of Conference USA officials.