Missing defenders no problem for LSU - Albuquerque Journal

Missing defenders no problem for LSU

LSU’s Greg Brooks Jr. puts a hit on New Mexico quarterback Miles Kendrick during an Saturday’s in Baton Rouge, La. The Tigers’ defense had its way with UNM in a 38-0 romp. (Scott Clause/The Daily Advertiser via AP)

BATON ROUGE, La. — LSU’s defense was without safety Major Burns, edge rusher BJ Ojulari and nickel safety Jay Ward against the University of New Mexico, but that hardly mattered.

The Tigers (3-1) posted their first shutout since 2018 with their 38-0 win. They held the Lobos (2-2) to 88 yards total offense and an all-time program low two first downs in front of an announced crowd of 100,501 at Tiger Stadium on Saturday night.

“You know you’re in a dominating performance, you just wish you had more points on the board at that time,” LSU coach Brian Kelly said of a 17-0 first-half lead. “It was pretty clear they were going to have a difficult time moving the football on us.”

The Lobos endured a rough start, and their finish wasn’t too satisfying either.

LSU easily drove down the field on its first drive to take a 7-0 lead with 9:52 left in the opening quarter. It was the first time this season that UNM allowed a first-quarter touchdown.

“We need to do something to be a lot better,” UNM coach Danny Gonzales said of the offense. “LSU is a good football team but they shouldn’t be good enough to hold us to 33 plays and 88 yards on offense.”

Late in the third quarter, Gonzales became disappointed with the defense’s effort. LSU running back Noah Cain broke three tackles on his way to a 49-yard touchdown run.

Then, early in the fourth quarter wide receiver Brian Thomas Jr. eluded defenders and used his speed after a catch for a 57-yard touchdown.

“I thought it was very disappointing,” Gonzales said. “I saw some old give-in creep in.”

UNM’s previous low for first downs was three against BYU on Nov. 3, 1962, a 27-0 loss.

At Tiger Stadium, the Lobos played in front of the second-largest crowd for their program. UNM played in front of 100,990 on Sept. 8, 2012, a 45-0 loss at Texas.

NO RAY: UNM was without junior middle linebacker Ray Leutele, who missed Saturday’s game with a foot injury. Sophomore Alec Marenco, from Burges High in El Paso, started in his place and recorded eight tackles.

There is no timetable for Leutele’s return, Gonzales said.

“It’ll be week to week until he’s ready to go,” Gonzales said. “Ray’s a tough guy. He hurt his foot in the middle of the second quarter against UTEP and played the rest of the game. … We need Ray to be healthy. He is a tough kid that we have to manage because he’s a tough kid and wants to play.”

ALUMNI: Several former UNM football players and alumni showed up to the Lobos’ tailgate party at LSU.

Dillon Farrell, who played for the Lobos (2009-2013) as an offensive lineman, didn’t have to travel far. Farrell, who played in the NFL for the San Francisco 49ers, Tennessee Titans and New York Giants, lives in Baton Rouge, where he grew up.

He and his wife have three children and they are expecting a fourth in January. He started his Social Coffee shop business in 2019 and opened a new building just this past March. The new location is within 10 minutes of Tiger Stadium.

Farrell had been looking forward to Saturday’s game. His father, Bill, played for LSU from 1977-1980.

Farrell’s mother, Renee, wore a T-shirt that read: A House Divided. The shirt had half of a Lobo and half of a Tiger.

Farell was excited for the game for his father, for himself and for the Lobos, he said.

“It’s just a great atmosphere for our team to get into and to see,” he said. “Why not play some of the best teams? When I played I wanted to play some of the best guys.”

Farrell’s friend, Garrett Adcock, a former UNM player, was also at the tailgate party.

Adcock played on the Lobos’ New Mexico Bowl-winning team in 2016.

He earned his law degree at UNM in 2018 and joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 2019. While he earned his law degree, he was also a student representative on the UNM Board of Regents.

Adcock said he wasn’t sure if he was going to be at the game on Saturday.

Last week, he was training at Camp Pendleton in Oceanside, California. But he was able to get some time off to attend the game after all.

Adcock is living in Hawaii, where he is an attorney for the Marines.

“LSU recruited me pretty heavily,” he said. “I wanted to play football here but it didn’t work out. It’s kind of a dream of mine to see a game here. It’s great that the Lobos are here so I can experience it at the same time.”

UP NEXT: The Lobos hit the road again — and return to conference play — on Friday for a late kickoff with UNLV. The game begins at 9 p.m. Mountain in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dillon Farrell, a former UNM and NFL offensive lineman, left, stands with his mother, Renee, and father Bill, who played at LSU. (Steve Virgen/Journal)
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