Austin Apodaca, who started the first three games at quarterback for the University of New Mexico, will be out at least four to five weeks, after sustaining a collarbone injury against Rutgers on Saturday. The injury, which is being described as "not a complete fracture" by Bob Davie, came at a pivotal time in the third quarter when he was sacked and landed hard on his right shoulder.
This is difficult news for the Lobo offense. Apodaca gives the triple option offense another tool: passing. Thus far this season, he has completed 56% of his passes to go with three passing touchdowns and two interceptions. However, it should be noted that Apodaca's best game of the season came in week one against South Dakota, and his game had continued to fall off as the competition improved.
If there is a silver lining to this, it is that the fracture is not a complete fracture, which would have required surgery and sidelined Apodaca for the season. Now it is probable that Apodaca will be able to return for the last couple of games this season, particularly if UNM qualifies for a bowl game.
The Lobos are currently 1-2 on the season and have lost two winnable games. The team has shown an ability to get out to an early lead, but an inability to close. For example, UNM jumped out to a 14-3 lead against New Mexico State in week 2 and a 21-0 lead against Rutgers in week 3. But in both cases, the Lobos stalled and ended up losing, 31-32 and 28-37, respectively.
Now the responsibility falls to Lamar Jordan to right the ship. Jordan started a majority of UNM's games last season at quarterback and helped to guide the team to their first winning record since 2007. For Apodaca to have a chance to play any more meaningful minutes this season, Jordan will have to pick up where he left off last year.