University of New Mexico redshirt junior quarterback Tevaka Tuioti is in concussion protocol after taking a hit to the head late in Saturday’s game against Hawaii and will be out against Nevada this Saturday, coach Danny Gonzales confirmed on Monday.
Trae Hall, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound redshirt sophomore, will start for the Lobos (0-2) in their “home” game at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada.
During the game against Hawaii, Gonzales was initially told by trainers that the hit Tuioti sustained resulted in a concussion.
Tuioti (6-2, 195 pounds) also sustained a concussion in September of 2017 and another in September of 2018.
He threw for 181 yards and two touchdowns, completing 17 of his 31 passes with no interceptions in the Lobos’ 39-33 loss at Hawaii. He ran for 71 yards on five carries.
After the Rainbow Warriors went up 39-30 with 6:33 left in the game, Tuioti tried to lead a comeback, but he took a hit to the head at the end of his 23-yard run. Tuioti stretched forward as he was hit by Hawaii’s Cameron Lockridge, who was ejected for targeting.
Tuioti entered the spring as UNM’s starting quarterback, but Gonzales demoted him to No. 2 after Tuioti was two minutes late for a team treatment appointment.
Hall took over the No. 1 quarterback role up until last month when Tuioti beat him out.
“They had a great competition until we named Tevaka the starter (a week before the Lobos’ scheduled season opener against Colorado State),” Gonzales said after the loss to Hawaii. “Trae Hall came in and threw a few passes and got us into field goal range (against Hawaii). He probably missed a couple passes but with a week of practice, he’ll get all the reps with the 1’s, he should be OK and give us a chance. It’s going to come down to the same thing. If we can make plays in the secondary, we’ll have a chance to win. If we can’t, we’ll get embarrassed.”
Hall completed 2-of-6 passes for 39 yards with one interception late in the game against the Rainbow Warriors.
Hall started his first game for UNM in last year’s season finale when the Lobos lost to Utah State, 38-25, to close out a 2-10 season.
He led the team in rushing with 115 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. He also threw two touchdown passes. He completed 10 of his 21 passes for 107 yards to go with two interceptions.
Connor Genal and Isaiah Chavez have been splitting reps as the backup to Hall this week, Gonzales said. Chavez is a 6-foot, 191-pound freshman who starred for Rio Rancho High. Genal, a 6-5, 213-pound redshirt freshman who also hasn’t played in a college football game, is from St. Paul High in Santa Fe Springs, California.
SATURDAY: Nevada vs. New Mexico at Sam Boyd Stadium, Las Vegas, Nev.; 4:30 p.m., FS2, 770 AM/96.3 FM