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Howling With The Lobos: New Mexico State Game Takeaways

Lobos move to 2-1 on the season

NCAA Football: New Mexico at Wisconsin Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Who needs defense, amirite? The New Mexico Lobos outlasted the New Mexico State Aggies on Saturday, 55-52, to get their second consecutive win in the Rio Grande Rivalry. The win moves the Lobos to 2-1 on the season and will pay a visit to the Liberty Flames next weekend. But, before we focus on next week, let’s look at the takeaways from the win against the Aggies.

Tevaka Tuioti solidifies starting QB job

After much shakiness at the quarterback spot to begin the season it appears as though the Lobos have found their starter. Tuioti looked solid in the second half at Notre Dame, and that propelled him into getting the starting role this weekend. Tevaka made key plays at the right times that helped the Lobos build a 17-point lead, which they nearly gave up, only to have Tevaka make some more key plays down the stretch.

Heading into next week’s game there is no doubt as to who will start. Especially after posting a stat line of 16-for-28 for 355 yards 3 touchdowns 1 interception and 56 rushing yards to boot.

Defense still needs work

With all the positives coming out of this game on offense there is still one lingering question: can this defense stop anyone?

The defense continues to be shaky at best. The Aggies posted 489 total yards of offense, and of course 52 points, in the loss. Not to mention the fact that the Aggies nearly rallied from down 17 in the 4th quarter to tie, or win the game.

Bottom line is that no one can be taken lightly on the Lobos remaining schedule given the fact that the defense can’t seem to slow anyone down. Liberty is next week, a team that has thrown for 325 and 319 yards in their last two contests, and following that is the Mountain West opener with a suddenly confident San Jose State team that just beat Arkansas this past weekend.

Biggest Crowd In a While

Saturday’s announced attendance was 27,269. The last time that a crowd of more than 20,000 was inside Dreamstyle Stadium to witness a Lobo football game was way back on September 30th, 2017 when 21,864 filed in to watch the Lobos beat Air Force. Hopefully given the excitement of the offense, and the early season winning, this will become a norm once again.

Looking Ahead

As was said above, the Lobos will visit Liberty next weekend in a rematch from last season’s crazy game in Albuquerque that saw the Flames win 52-43. The Flames sit at 2-2 on the season, winning their last two contests over Buffalo, 35-17, and Hampton of the FCS, 62-27.

This game will be a homecoming of sorts for Lobos offensive coordinator Joe Dailey who was on the Liberty coaching staff from 2012. Dailey was the Flames’ offensive coordinator, under then head coach Turner Gil, from 2016 through last season.

The game will be broadcasted on ESPN+ and on the Lobo Radio Network with kickoff at 4:00 p.m. Mountain on Saturday evening.