Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal
After the 2018 season, and after a second straight 3-9 campaign, University of New Mexico coach Bob Davie called for a reboot.
Two games into the 2019 season, Davie is doing the same, at least when it comes to his quarterback.
Redshirt sophomore quarterback Tevaka Tuioti will start for the Lobos (1-1) against New Mexico State (0-3) on Saturday at Dreamstyle Stadium, Davie announced Tuesday at his press conference.
Davie, 64, also said assistant Saga Tuitele will be the acting head coach for the second straight game, as Davie continues to recover from a “serious medical incident” that occurred following the Lobos’ season-opening win over Sam Houston State on Aug. 31.
Davie is hopeful to get medical clearance to return in full capacity as head coach for the Sept. 28 game at Liberty in Virginia.
This week, he plans to watch the Rio Grande Rivalry on his television at home because, he said, he does not want to be a distraction from the coaches box above the field.
But what Davie did last week suggests being at home doesn’t stop him from coaching. During the Lobos’ 66-14 loss at No. 7 Notre Dame, he phoned son Clay Davie, the UNM tight ends coach. Bob Davie said the phone was passed to offensive coordinator Joe Dailey and they talked about making the switch at quarterback from Sheriron Jones, who had just thrown his second interception in the second quarter, to Tuioti.
They decided to let Jones finish the half, and Tuioti entered after halftime.
Tuioti was essentially the Lobos starter coming out of the spring, Davie said. But Tuioti missed the majority of preseason camp as he was in Long Beach, California, because of his ill maternal grandfather, who eventually died.
Also, Tuioti’s paternal grandfather passed away on Friday, Davie said. Tuioti is planning to leave Albuquerque to be with his family after UNM’s game against the Aggies on Saturday.
“So much hinges on the quarterback moving forward, and Tevaka will be out there Saturday,” Davie said. “It will be a good indicator for what happens the rest of the season.”
Tuioti didn’t start against Notre Dame because he didn’t have enough practice time to be ready, Davie said. But turning to Tuioti may have been inevitable, given what has happened with the two other prominent QBs in the picture.
Brandt Hughes, who started the season opener, will have surgery on his right shoulder (throwing arm), which ends his season, Davie said. Hughes suffered the injury during the first half of the opener.
Jones struggled in the first half against the Fighting Irish and finished with three interceptions, completing 4 of his 15 passes for 19 yards.
Tuioti went 6-for-13 for 132 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions, and the Lobos trailing 38-7 to begin the second half.
Davie said he is unsure about who can carry the load at running back this week, but they provided more “intrigue” against Notre Dame.
Ahmari Davis, who rushed for 114 yards and two touchdowns in the season opener, was listed as the starter against Notre Dame, but it was Javohn Jones who started and delivered some strong runs.
Javohn Jones, who ran for 15 yards on five carries in his first career start, is listed as the starter against the Aggies.
Bryson Carroll delivered one of the highlights for the Lobos against the Irish with a 47-yard touchdown run.
“I knew whenever I got my opportunity that I was going to show what I could do,” said Carroll, who led the Lobos with 69 yards on six carries. “It didn’t really shock me. I just know from now on whenever I get the opportunity that’s what I have to do. When I get my opportunity I have to make it last and count.”