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Jordan back at QB for the Lobos

That’s football.

Essentially, that’s all Lamar Jordan had to say about the brutal hit he absorbed at Boise State on Sept. 14 that kept him out of his New Mexico Lobos’ 16-13 victory over Tulsa last week.

Jordan, UNM’s senior quarterback, was far more eager to talk about being back. After undergoing concussion protocol, he has been cleared to play against Air Force on Saturday.

Lobos coach Bob Davie said Jordan will start against the Falcons.

“I’m definitely excited, just me being the competitor I am,” Jordan said after Monday’s practice. “… To be back on the field, between those white lines, it felt great, even in practice. And I know I’ll feel great on Saturday.”

At Boise State, Jordan was hit by Broncos defensive end Chase Hatada after throwing a pass. Hatada was flagged for a personal foul and ejected for targeting — leading with the crown of his helmet.

Hatada’s blow caught Jordan at approximately the right ear hole. Later, on the ESPN telecast of the game, Jordan was shown staggering as he was helped to the UNM locker room.

Jordan, though, said he didn’t feel Hatada’s blow was anything unusual.

“It was a good football hit,” he said. “I didn’t think it was dirty, or nothing like that.

“Like my pops told me growing up, that’s football. You’re gonna take big hits, especially if you’re on the offense.”

Because No. 2 quarterback Tevaka Tuioti already was in concussion protocol after taking a helmet-to-helmet hit during the Lobos’ Sept. 9 game against New Mexico State, junior Coltin Gerhart, the No. 3 QB, played the rest of the game at Boise State.

At Tulsa, with Jordan and Tuioti both unavailable, Gerhart led the Lobos (2-2. 0-1 in Mountain West Conference play) to victory, rushing for 156 yards on 24 carries and completing 9-of-14 passes for 108 yards. “I think (Gerhart) played great,” Jordan said. “… You’ve got to give it to him, he was our only hope.”

Tuioti, like Jordan, has cleared concussion protocol and is available to play on Saturday.

Jordan, who made the trip to Tulsa, said he was released from concussion protocol on Friday. But he said Bob Waller, UNM’s head athletic trainer, wanted to put him through a physical workout before clearing him to play.

“I just follow what Bob does,” he said. “Bob’s the best in the business.”

Jordan said he has not heard from Hatada since the Boise State game, but said Broncos linebacker Leighton Vander Esch reached out.

“I thank him for looking out for me,” Jordan said. “That shows true sportsmanship right there.”

Jordan returns in time to play against Air Force (1-2, 0-1), a team he and the UNM offense have had great success against the past two years.

Though Jordan didn’t have huge individual statistics in those games — both Lobo victories — he threw two touchdown passes during UNM’s 45-40 win over the Falcons at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas. It was Air Force’s decision to play the game there, though it officially was a Falcons home game.

Davie, citing the senior’s “body of work,” said there was no doubt Jordan would  start against Air Force once he was cleared to play.

“Lamar’s the starter,” Davie said. “He knows clearly what all this is. He’s been through just about everything you can go through.”

SPECIAL DELIVERY: UNM kicker Jason Sanders has been named the Mountain West Special Teams Player of the Week after going 3-for-3 on field goals against Tulsa, including  a 53-yard game-winner at the final gun.

Sanders, a senior from Orange. Calif., has made 18 of 20 field goal attempts in the Lobos’ past 17 games and has hit 15 of his last 16.

This is Sanders’ third Mountain West honor.

INJURY UPDATE: Gerhart has a slight separation of his left, non-throwing shoulder, Davie said. The injury occurred at the end of a 40-yard run in the second quarter. He briefly came out of the game two plays later but returned to play the entire second half.

Gerhart did not practice on Monday but likely would be available against Air Force if needed.

Sophomore tight end Dyson Chmura should be available, but sophomore offensive guard Charlie Grammel remains doubtful, Davie said. Both have been in concussion protocol.

THE ODDS: As of Monday, most oddsmakers rate Saturday’s New Mexico-Air Force game as “pick ‘em” (even). Some have the Lobos as a one-point favorite.

Saturday

Air Force at UNM

5 p.m., 770 AM, 94.5 FM,

CBS Sports Network

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