Flashback: Call it a stealth slaughter. After a highly promising start, the New Mexico Lobos gradually fade into the Texas Memorial Stadium FieldTurf as the 17th-ranked Texas Longhorns roll to a 45-0 victory. The Lobos (1-1) lose by the same margin by which they defeated Southern the week before.
What Went Right: The UNM offense actually dominated in the first quarter, though the scoreboard didn’t reflect it. For the game, New Mexico rushed for 206 yards and held the ball for almost 34 minutes. On defense, linebacker Rashad Rainey and strong safety Matt Rayner had a quarterback sack apiece and combined for 12 unassisted tackles.
What Went Wrong: Most alarming, depending on the prognosis, senior quarterback B.R. Holbrook left the game with a rib injury in the second quarter. The Lobos completed just one pass the rest of the way. Meanwhile, the turnovers, penalties and mental mistakes UNM avoided against Southern came home to roost in Austin. Defensively, New Mexico had trouble getting off blocks and making tackles in space – just as it has the past three seasons. Can that be fixed, or is it just a matter of personnel?
Injury Report: In addition to Holbrook’s injury, senior slot receiver Lamaar Thomas left the game after taking a blow to the head on the second-half kickoff. Thomas and Holbrook, arguably, are the Lobos’ most valuable offensive players. True freshman Carlos Wiggins had some nice moments in relief of Thomas, but Holbrook’s passing skills appear irreplaceable.
Quoting Coach Bob Davie: “It’s frustrating that we just can’t take advantage of the kind of effort that we’re getting from these kids, that they can’t get something positive from it. So that’s frustrating, yet it’s encouraging because there are a lot of little wins (on the game film).”
Looking Ahead: Next up for the Lobos is another trip to the Lone Star State. The Texas Tech Red Raiders, fresh off an impressive, 58-10 demolition of future UNM opponent Texas State, host the Lobos in Lubbock.
— This article appeared on page B6 of the Albuquerque Journal