Lobo football gets a golden opportunity at Notre Dame - Albuquerque Journal

Lobo football gets a golden opportunity at Notre Dame

University of New Mexico players walk through Notre Dame Stadium on Friday. (Rafa Amaya/UNM Athletics)

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – After nine receivers made catches in the season opener, the University of New Mexico’s football team is confident it can move the ball Saturday against No. 7 Notre Dame.

Just ask senior wide receiver Anu Somoye.

“This is just the start for us,” said Somoye, who caught a career-high three passes for a career-high 63 yards in the Lobos’ 39-31 win over FCS Sam Houston State. “We know what we can do. We left some plays out there, but we want to let everyone know that this is just the start.”

Kameron Miller, a University of New Mexico junior safety from Las Cruces High, smiles upon the team’s entrance at Notre Dame Stadium in South Bend, Ind., on Friday. (UNM Athletics photo)

Somoye also knows the receivers have much improvement to make at Notre Dame Stadium. The Lobos went 1 for 15 on third down against Sam Houston State.

However, Somoye believes the Lobos will rise to the occasion of playing on NBC against a ranked team – which also is one of the iconic brands in sports, not just college football.

It’s the first time New Mexico will face Notre Dame in football. UNM receives a $1.1 million payday for the game. It is 1-0 Notre Dame’s home opener and the game is a sellout at Notre Dame Stadium (capacity 77,622).

“We can do something special in South Bend,” Somoye said. “We’re just trying to stay focused and have the will to do it.”

An upset win over the Irish, 34½-point favorites as of late Friday, would certainly be special. UNM’s goal appears overwhelmingly daunting, not just because of the opponent, but the Lobos will be without their head coach (Bob Davie), their Game 1 starting quarterback (Brandt Hughes) and a key defensive player (Aaron Blackwell), who is a team captain.

Davie, a former Notre Dame coach, did not make the trip to South Bend as he continues to recover from a “serious medical condition” that occurred after the Lobos beat Sam Houston State in their season opener. He is listed as “week to week.”

Hughes suffered a right shoulder injury in the first half against the Bearkats and is out. Blackwell is a vocal leader for the Lobos and he’s been known as a menacing presence on the defensive line.

“It’s a big loss for us,” UNM acting head coach Saga Tuitele said of Blackwell. “He’s a team captain. He’s an emotional leader for us. He’s going to be missed. We’re so deep at the defensive line now. We’ll move some guys around. We’re pretty flexible.”

Tuitele is doing his best to have the Lobos ready for the Fighting Irish amid the adversity.

Davie advised Tuitele, normally the offensive line coach, to simply have fun.

“We can’t be over our heads on anything,” said Tuitele, who will turn 40 on Sunday. “We know how special this game is and how much it means to the university, to the Davie family. But we can’t be in too much awe. I know it’s cliche but we have to take one play at a time.”

Tuitele used Friday as a time for the Lobos to take it all in and appreciate the opportunity to play against the Fighting Irish.

Upon arriving Friday via charter flight in South Bend, the Lobos went to Notre Dame Stadium to walk on the field.

Notre Dame, like New Mexico, is coming off a bye week. The Irish had a lackluster 35-17 opening win at Louisville and 12 days to prepare for UNM – though the Irish have a date next week at No. 3 Georgia looming.

But the Irish got physical last Friday and Saturday.

“When you have a week off, you look at yourself and what you need to do to continue to build,” coach Brian Kelly said. “It was about living up to a standard. We tackled. We scrimmaged.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.


Home » Sports » College » Football » Lobo football gets a golden opportunity at Notre Dame

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email yourstory@abqjournal.com

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
UNM is talking contract extension, but is Pitino receptive?
The coaching carousel is spinning in ... The coaching carousel is spinning in college basketball as fast as the transfer portal is filling up ...
Lobo K.J. Jenkins, team's best outside shooter, goes into ...
The best outside shooter on a ... The best outside shooter on a team desperate to improve its outside shooting for the coming season has announced he's leaving the Lobos. K.J. ...
New Mexico State cools off UNM bats in 2-0 ...
(Photo gallery: New Mexico State vs. ... (Photo gallery: New Mexico State vs. New Mexico) Past performances meant nothing at Santa Ana Star Field on Tuesday night. New Mexico State came ...
Photos: UNM Lobos baseball team fall 2-0 against NMSU
ABQnews Seeker
Grammer: What Rick Pitino to St. John's means for ...
ABQnews Seeker
Odds & ends around UNM hoops, ... Odds & ends around UNM hoops, including the status of next season's Iona game and an update on the first Lobo in the transfer ...
How San Diego State's NCAA run benefits the UNM ...
ABQnews Seeker
San Diego State's Sweet 16 run ... San Diego State's Sweet 16 run means extra cash for UNM Athletics thanks to the NCAA's Tournament revenue distribution.
WNIT loss ends New Mexico women's basketball season
ABQnews Seeker
After rallying from an 11-point deficit ... After rallying from an 11-point deficit and building a 10-point lead, the Lobos ran out of steam in the final 10 minutes of a ...
Spring sports roundup: Fresno State scores 2 in 9th, ...
FRESNO, Calif. — The New Mexico ... FRESNO, Calif. — The New Mexico Lobos, one out and one strike away from a Mountain West Confer ...
WNIT: Lobos, Huskies to meet in Round 2
Sunday night's WNIT matchup between the ... Sunday night's WNIT matchup between the University of New Mexico and Washington will certainly ...