2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The New Mexico Offense
The offensive line has to keep defenses out of the backfield. It was partly a function of the offensive style that allowed defenses to pin their ears back and get behind the line, but after giving up just 53 tackles for loss in 2017, the 87 the given up last season was a killer.
The running game that had become such a staple of the program couldn’t get going. It averaged just 3.6 yards per carry and hit the 200-yard mark twice against FBS teams. The year before? 5.21 yard per carry and rolled for 200 yards or more five times.
The O line has to give the skill guys in the backfield a shot.
Biggest Key To The New Mexico Defense
Get off the field. The Lobos had a decent pass rush, but the defense couldn’t come up with enough stops on a regular basis to change up the momentum of games. There wasn’t any control – and the massive time of possession disparity proved that.
It was because New Mexico was dead last in the Mountain West in third down stops, giving up conversions 43% of the time overall. The three times it allowed offenses to convert fewer than 35% of their chances, it won.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Tevaka Tuioti, Soph.
Or Sherriron Jones, or Trae Hall, or Brandt Hughes. The Lobos need a whole lot of help in a whole lot of areas, and the O line has to do its part to keep the quarterbacks upright, but one of the passers has to be a consistent star to turn this whole thing around fast.
Tuioti was great when he was able to stay on the field for parts of three games. Jones was okay, but he made too many mistakes and didn’t move the offense. That’s where Hall and Hughes step in with every shot there at the gig in fall camp. But if Tuioti can end the debate right away and make the job his, that would be just fine, too.
Key Game To The New Mexico Season
Colorado State, Oct. 12
If the Lobos hope to have any sort of a decent season, they have to beat Sam Houston State, New Mexico State, Liberty and San Jose State over the first part of the season – or at least with three of the four. Colorado State will be the measuring stick moment.
It’s a home game for New Mexico, and it’s a chance to break an ugly streak. Colorado State won 20-18 last year in Albuquerque, making it nine straight wins going back to 2009. This is when the Lobos will know if they’re any good.
– New Mexico Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 New Mexico Fun Stats
– 1st Quarter Scoring: Opponents 128 – New Mexico 59
– Fumbles: Opponents 23 (lost 13) – New Mexico 19 (lost 9)
– Time of Possession: Opponents 32:24 – Opponents 27:36