Fans of the New Mexico Lobos were convinced that playing at No. 15/17 Texas was going to be a tall order. But this weekend’s match up against the Texas Tech Red Raiders may prove to be an even tougher assignment.
While the Longhorns were sluggish in the first half of both their wins over UNM and Wyoming, TTU has jumped on both its early season opponents early and pummeled them with their high-powered offense.
Texas Tech (2-0) started the season with a dominating 44-6 home win over FCS Northwestern State and followed that up with a 58-10 drubbing of Texas State in San Marcos, Texas.
Couple that with the Lobos’ uncertainty at quarterback and you have a potential recipe for disaster.
UNM’s offense was rendered shaky after starting senior quarterback B.R. Holbrook was knocked out of the Texas game in the second quarter. True freshman Cole Gautsche came in but the Lobos' passing attack was grounded and the ‘Horns took advantage of the lack of air power, stifling New Mexico’s offense to pitch a shut out.
While UT’s offense took a while to warm up last week, the Red Raiders offense has proven to be high octane after two weeks. TTU is ranked sixth in the nation in passing offense with an average of 363.0 yards per game, 12th in total offense at 545.5 yards per game and ninth in scoring offense at 51.0 points per game.
Red Raiders’ quarterback Seth Doege, who completed 40 of 44 passes for 401 yards and five touchdowns against UNM last season, is averaging 270 yards of total offense. Doege has thrown six touchdowns in two games and going 48-of-66 with just one interception. Doege, who threw for 319 yards and a career-high five touchdowns against Texas State, needs just 51 passing yards to reach the 5,000 yard mark for his college career.
Against, Texas State, Texas Tech racked up 186 yards on the ground, averaging
8.1 yards a carry. Kenny Williams and Eric Stephens led the way for Tech with 62 rushing yards each. Williams carried the ball five times, Stephens six.
On defense, Tech limited Northwestern St. to just 84 yards of total offense (and just 17 yards rushing). Texas State has a little more success, racking up 270 yards of total offense – which paled next to the Red Raiders’ 591 yards of total offense. TTU managed to hold both opponents to 9-of-29 on third down, which was a big factor in both wins.
As with Texas, New Mexico will need to control the lines of scrimmage and control the time of possession – they also must get points out of possessions because the Red Raiders’ explosive offense can score points quickly and is likely to try to take advantage of UNM’s inexperienced secondary.
As at Texas, New Mexico (1-1) has an extreme mismatch against TTU’s offense, but UNM’s Pistol offense could give it a fighting chance against a Red Raiders defense that is not quite the same level as the Longhorns. A Lobos loss is likely, but expect to see improvement on the offensive end.