September 14, 2011
What should Texas Tech fans expect from the New Mexico offense? The Lobos are in their third season under head coach Mike Locksley, and the Red Raiders should be plenty familiar with the Lobos after facing them in each of the past two seasons.
Field General: Sophomore Tarean Austin will be guiding the Lobos' offense Saturday afternoon when the Red Raiders roll into Albuquerque. New Mexico is 0-2 after losing a heartbreaker to Colorado State in week one and getting stomped by Arkansas in Fayetteville last weekend. However, while Austin has not put up any boot-shaking numbers, he's had some success in both contests. He was good against Colorado state, going 20-of-31 with 179 yards, one passing touchdown and 57 rushing yards. Against the Razorbacks, Austin went 15-of-28 with 162 yards through the air and 31 on the ground. While he may not be a stat machine, Austin is efficient and has yet to make many mistakes; he has yet to give up an interception or fumble.
Toting The Rock: Senior James Wright is expected to receive the majority of carries for New Mexico on Saturday. Wright has only carried the ball 22 times thus far, but is far and away the team's leader in the backfield. He rushed 12 times for 65 yards against Colorado State, and carried it 10 times for 24 yards against a fairly stout Arkansas defensive line. He's averaging a respectable 4.05 yards per carry, and will look to improve on those stats this Saturday against the Red Raiders. As stated before, Tarean Austin has factored into the running game as well, rushing for 88 yards so far this season. The two running backs splitting time behind Wright are sophomore Demarcus Rogers and freshman Crusoe Gongbay, and neither has yet to establish themselves as legitimate rushing threats. Rogers may miss Saturday's game with an injury.
Catching The Ball: On the outside, The Lobos will start 6-foot, 190-pound freshman Deon Long at X and 6-foot-2, 180-pound junior Ty Kirk at Z. On the inside, 6-foot-6, 232-pound junior Lucas Reed gets the nod at tight end, while Donnie Duncan will likely get the start at slot. Duncan will be filling in for Ohio State transfer Lamaar Thomas, who broke a bone in his back against Arkansas will miss a couple of weeks. Long, has looked to be New Mexico's ace thus far this season, accumulating 12 receptions for 126 yards in two games. Kirk had three receptions for 32 yards against the Rams and six receptions for 50 yards against Arkansas. Finally the big boy, Reed, has four catches so far this season for 46 yards.
Offensive Line: The New Mexico offensive line reads like this from left to right: at left tackle is 6-foot-5, 290-pound sophomore Dillon Farrell, left guard hosts 6-foot-4, 305-pound sophomore Darryl Johnson, in the middle is 6-foot-2, 275-pound freshman LaMar Bratton, holding down right guard is 6-foot-4, 285-pound senior and former center Mike Muniz, and at right tackle is 6-foot-6, 322-pound junior Korian Chambers. The Lobos' offensive line was bursting at the seams during the Colorado State game, giving up a whopping nine sacks to the Rams. However, UNM turned on a dime against Arkansas and didn't give up a single sack the entire game, which is quite head scratching after such a poor performance in week one. The running game has been below average thus far, as the Lobos have gained a total of 245 yards on the ground. With such a young offensive line, don't be surprised if the Red Raiders get after Tarean Austin early.
Famous New Mexico Alumni: Hank Baskett, Michael Cooper, Brian Urlacher