The Basics: The UTEP Miners (3-1, 1-1 C-USA) at the New Mexico Lobos (0-4, 0-2 MWC)
Series Record: UNM leads 43-30-3. The Miners haven't won in Albuquerque since 1998.
Last Meeting: UTEP Won 10-6, in El Paso, in 2007
Head Coach: Mike Locksley (2nd season, 1-15 overall. Mike Price (166-161 overall, 37-39 at UTEP)
Key Stat: 225-41. That is the combined score of of New Mexico's first four games.
What can I say about Mike Locksley's tenure at UNM that hasn't been said yet? So far, he's had more "off the field incidents" than victories. Among the highlights:
- An age and sex discrimination lawsuit against him by an administrative assistant at UNM
- He was suspended without pay for 10 days last season (missing the UNLV game) because he got into a fight with an assistant coach
- Locksley made headlines just a few weeks ago when he was involved in an alleged verbal altercation at a bar with a journalist from the student newspaper
- The Lobos have defeated one team in Locksley's first 16; a 29-27 win against Colorado State, a team that didn't win a single MWC game last season.
There's no real nice way of putting it; New Mexico has been terrible this year. Take a look at how UNM ranks in the eight key statistics (Total Offense/Defense, Rush Offense/Defense, Pass Offense/Defense). The Lobos are ranked among the 10 worst in 7 of them. The Lobos are giving up over 56 points a game while scoring just over 10 ppg. I realize the Lobos have played some tough competition, notably Oregon, Texas Tech, and and Utah, but UNLV isn't a powerhouse and the Rebels blasted UNM 45-10.
For comparisons sake, I've listed UTEP's numbers too.
|Rush Offense||76.25||111||175 ypg||44|
|Pass Offense||189||84||246.5 ypg||39|
|Scoring Offense||10.25||119||28.25 ppg||59|
|Rush Defense||221.5||112||156 ypg||71|
Key Lobo Players to Watch
1. Tarean Austin (QB)
The Miners will be facing another freshman quarterback in Albuquerque. An injury to B.R. Holbrook paved the way for the freshman to make his first career start against UNLV last week. Austin has completed 48.6 of his passes this seasonfor 330 yards. He has two touchdowns and three interceptions. Austin has also rushed 30 times for 80 yards
2. Desmond Dennis (RB)
A sophomore, Dennis has carried 37 times for 143 yards. He's also caught 9 receptions for 57 yards. Dennis had a season high 88 yards last week against UNLV.
3. Bubba Forrest (DB)
Forrest is leading the Lobos with 35 tackles this season.His average of just under 9 tackles a game is tied for 49th best in the NCAA.
Well, those are the numbers and key players for the New Mexico Lobos. The Lobos, it seems, are in a state of disarray. Before we go on chalking up this one as an instant 'W', let's remember that there are no easy road wins in D-1 football. That is particularly true for the UTEP Miners who have struggled to put road games away over inferior teams in the past. I don't believe the Miners past woes are going to strangle this team. I've stated that before in the past, because I have confidence in UTEP's senior laden offense and have seen improvement on defense, but it will be very nice for Miner fans to see UTEP go out and get a win in on the road. If this season is going to be one where UTEP shakes off past demons, getting a win at Albuquerque would be another nice step along the road.