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Good News for Lobo QB Holbrook

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Lobo QB Appears To Be OK for Saturday

To mononucleosis, knee surgery, a shoulder injury and a chest inflammation, add bruised ribs to B.R. Holbrook’s list of maladies.

But there’s good news, too. A CT scan undergone by Holbrook on Sunday was clear, coach Bob Davie said, making it more likely that the injury- and illness-prone senior quarterback will be in the New Mexico Lobos’ starting lineup this Saturday at Texas Tech.

Holbrook was given the CT scan after taking a hit that took him out of last Saturday’s game at Texas with some 12 minutes left in the second quarter. X-rays were negative, but it was feared the quarterback’s kidney as well as his ribs was affected.

Any future playing time missed by Holbrook likely would have much farther-reaching consequences than UNM’s 45-0 loss to the 17th-ranked Longhorns in Austin.

The impact of Holbrook’s absence was this dramatic: the Lobos had nine first downs in those first 18 minutes, seven the rest of the way.

Holbrook was 5-of-8 passing; UNM would complete just one more pass, that during mop-up time by sophomore Quinton McCown. True freshman Cole Gautsche was 0-for-4 with an interception.

“(Holbrook’s injury) changed everything, because against a team like Texas you have to be balanced,” Davie said on Sunday. “… B.R.’s a key to us, because obviously we’re balanced with B.R. and we can really show the true potential of this offense with B.R. in there.”

The Lobos’ pistol-formation, option-based offense flashed potential early, controlling the ball for 12 minutes, 25 seconds of the first quarter. New Mexico’s first three possessions produced 112 yards and eight first downs, but no points.

“It’s frustrating, because you don’t feel like we should have come out of there getting shut out,” Davie said.

The Lobos’ defensive performance provided yet more frustration. Missed tackles, blown coverages and misalignments contributed heavily to the Longhorns’ 45 points.

Yet, Davie said on Sunday he felt better about his defense after watching the game film.

Allowing for the quality of the opposition, Davie said, the Lobos probably played better defensively against Texas than against Southern in a 66-21 victory the week before.

“It was really a better effort, more physical than we were against Southern,” Davie said.

But Texas converted 10 of 14 third-down situations, including a 22-yard touchdown pass on a third-and-16 with 28 seconds left in the first half that gave the Longhorns a 17-0 lead.

“It’s amazing how often we got them in third down,” David said, “and just could not get off the field on third down for a variety of reasons that are really frustrating.”

Special teams also hurt the Lobos. A blocked punt set up a first-quarter Texas field goal, and a 35-yard punt return led to that late second-quarter touchdown.

Lack of experience often rears its head on special teams. Davie noted that 15 true freshmen played for New Mexico against Texas and that 32 Lobos were making their first road trip.

THOMAS UPDATE: Senior slot receiver Lamaar Thomas, a vital piece to UNM’s offensive puzzle, was to undergo an MRI Sunday night. Thomas experienced some numbness after taking a hit on the second-half kickoff and did not play thereafter. X-rays were negative, Davie said.

GAUTSCHE IN REVIEW: Davie said Gautsche, who excelled against Southern while alternating with Holbrook, struggled against Texas after Holbrook was injured – and not just in the passing game.

“Cole did some good things,” Davie said. “There were a lot of little wins on that tape. … (But) he didn’t do a great job at the line of scrimmage with the cadence, the checks. It got a little bit frazzled with him in there.”

RAINEY NIGHT: Junior outside linebacker Rashad Rainey drew praise from Davie for his performance against Texas.

Rainey, a transfer from Riverside (Calif.) Community College, had six solo tackles, assisted on another and had a quarterback sack.

THROW THE FLAG: Davie said he felt Texas’ Quandre Diggs should have been penalized for the hit that took Holbrook out of the game, though he added there was no intent to injure.

“(Holbrook) was trying to go down, sliding, and in a really vulnerable position,” Davie said.
— This article appeared on page B1 of the Albuquerque Journal

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