You could probably sum up the 2018-2019 UNM Lobos Football team in one word, inconsistent. Coming off a 38-7 blowout loss against Fresno State, the games don’t get any easier for UNM, has they go on the road to face the 6-1 Utah State Aggies. Then after Utah, the Lobos will host 6-1 San Diego State. Not the ideal opponents for a UNM squad looking to rebound from what has been a disappointing October so far.
But what has caused the Lobos to become such an erratic team? On the offensive side, it would be easy to point out the constant juggling of QB’s the team has had to deal with since their second game of the season. It looked promising on opening night, September 1st. Freshman QB Tevaka Tuioti lit up the defense of Incarnate Word and UNM put up 42 points. This might seem like a distant memory now though. Most of us chalked up the Wisconsin game as a loss, so it came as no surprise when UNM left Madison at 1-1. What did come as a surprise though was the loss of Tevaka Tuioti. Suddenly, the spark the Lobos offense once had was gone. And they’ve been struggling to fill the void he left behind ever since.
Since the departure of Tuioti, UNM has started Sheriron Jones in his place. Jones could be seen as a microcosm of UNM’s season so far. From week to week, you just don’t know what you are going to get. One week he could give you a performance like we saw against UNLV and throw for 4 touchdowns in a lopsided victory. Then the next, he could struggle to throw for over 200 yards in a losing effort, like he did last weekend against Fresno State. The Lobos go from scoring 50 points one week, to have 50 scored against them the next. There never seems to be a level of consistency on either side of the ball.
On the defensive side of the ball, if opposing QB’s aren’t picking the secondary apart, their running backs are pounding them into the ground. They’ve either given up over 250 yards passing, or 100 yards rushing in all but 2 of their games. UNM’s opponents are able to score points both through the air and on the ground. Not a recipe for success.
Where as most teams seem to grow in confidence has the season goes on, the Lobos are trending in the wrong direction. On paper, this looked to be a promising year for UNM. The talent level on this team is above what their record says they are. But a good team on paper doesn’t always translate to the field, and your record does tell you what you are.