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New Mexico vs. Mississippi Valley State game recap: Lobos offense, defense step up in blowout

New Mexico makes it look easy in its season opening win against Mississippi Valley State.

Dan Arbino

Rarely does one have the opportunity to say that New Mexico football crushed their opponent, but wow, tonight was a great night to be a Lobos fan. There wasn't a lot of suspense to this game as UNM scored on nine of their first ten drives. On their second possession, starting quarterback Lamar Jordan (103 passing yards, 62 running) and the Lobos came out aggressive and pounced. Building momentum with a quickened pace, they ran two option plays followed by a short pass and finally, a beautiful touchdown run out of the option by Jordan. The Lobos jumped out to an early lead and never looked back.

Other highlights of the game included two short rushing touchdowns by Tyrone Owens, a 64-yard and 37-yard touchdown run by Daryl Chestnut and a 28 yard pick-6 by Travis Green in the fourth quarter to make the score 66-0.

As I mentioned, this game got out of hand pretty quickly. With 2:40 left in the first quarter UNM had already put up 156 total yards to MSVU's 0; MSVU finished the game with 74 total yards of offense. They were never able to get into a rhythm and when they did have some decent movement, such as around the 8:00 minute mark in the second quarter, they ended up fumbling on the 15 yard line and the Lobos recovered. Yikes.

For a coaching staff that expressed concerns about their offensive line heading into week one, UNM's worries dissipated quickly as the offensive line opened up holes (particularly in the middle) and the Lobos ran at will. Though running was the focal point, they had a nice balance of offense and again, I tip my hat to the offensive line for giving Jordan and Apodaca time to throw. Offensive lineman Reno Henderson even recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown.

New Mexico has a reputation for struggling on defense. Well tonight MSVU's offensive futility made UNM's defense look extraordinary. The defensive line, specifically Kimmie Carson and Donny White hung out in MSVU's backfield nearly all night, constantly hurrying the Delta Devils' quarterback, Dontrine Scott.

Perhaps of interest was backup quarterback Austin Apodaca's play tonight. He and Jordan battled for the starting quarterback position until Jordan was named fairly late in the summer. Tonight there was no doubt as to who the starting quarterback is. Don't mistake me; Apodaca led several scoring drives, but those possessions were run-heavy. In fact, Apodaca was 4 out of 11 for 48 yards to Jordan's 7 for 7 completion rate. It is not that Apodaca was bad, it is just that Jordan was great. With Jordan in, New Mexico's offense had so much momentum and was so fluid. He knew where everyone was at each moment. When Apodaca was at the helm, UNM often came back down to earth and momentum seemed to stall (as much as possible in a 66-0 thumping). He had bad passes (often overthrown) and an overall indecisiveness. Right now, the starting position belongs to Lamar Jordan, and at least for one night, he silenced any doubts that might exist about him.

The Lobos utterly dominated the Delta Devils. Nearly everyone participated positively in the shellacking. If there were ever a game for a mercy rule to be invoked at the end of the third quarter, it was this one. Let's see if the University of New Mexico can carry this momentum into next week when they take on a Tulsa team that beat Florida Atlantic University this weekend, 47-44.