New Mexico (1-1) at Texas Tech (2-0)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, September 15, 7:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jones AT&T Stadium (60,454) -- Lubbock, Texas. Television: FCS. Home Record: UNM 1-0, Texas Tech 1-0. Away Record: UNM 0-1, Texas Tech 1-0. Neutral Record: UNM 0-0, Texas Tech 0-0. Conference Record: UNM 0-0, Texas Tech 0-0. Series Record: Texas Tech leads, 36-6-2.
GAME NOTES: One of the top scoring teams in the nation tries for a third straight win to kick off the 2012 campaign, as the Texas Tech Red Raiders host the New Mexico Lobos in non-conference action at Jones AT&T Stadium in Lubbock on Saturday night.
Under the direction of head coach Tommy Tuberville, the Red Raiders have been fast and furious on the field thus far through two games, stomping out opponents such as Northwestern State (44-6) and Texas State (58-10) with ease. Granted, the competition hasn't exactly been top-shelf for Tech in the early going, but maybe the team needed some patsies in order to get beyond the fact that they closed out the 2011 schedule with five straight defeats and seven in the final eight outings.
As for the Lobos, a team which won just a single game all of last season and was one of the worst programs on both sides of the ball in the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2011, they've been at both ends of the scoring spectrum already this season. The team opened with a 66-21 romp versus Southern at home, but then last weekend was treated to a 45-0 beating at the hands of nationally- ranked Texas in Austin.
New Mexico is in the midst of a three-game road trip which has the squad closing out against in-state rival New Mexico State on September 22 in Las Cruces before heading home to confront mighty Boise State in the Mountain West Conference opener.
The Red Raiders have dominated the all-time series against UNM (36-6-2) and crushed the Lobos in Albuquerque last season by a score of 59-13.
For the fourth time in the last eight games the Lobos were held scoreless as they came up empty against the 15th-ranked team in the nation which means the squad's road losing streak has now reached 23 games in a row which is the longest drought in the nation. The last win outside of Albuquerque for UNM came in a 35-24 decision against NMSU on Sept. 27, 2008.
If there is such a thing as a positive side during a 45-point blowout loss, the Lobos were able to run for 206 yards which means they've eclipsed the 200- yard mark on the ground in back-to-back games for the first time since 2008 when they turned the trick against San Diego State and Air Force in conference play.
Unfortunately, the so-called passing attack was nowhere to be found for the Lobos as B.R. Holbrook converted just 5-of-8 for 32 yards. Backups Cole Gautsche and Quinton McCown were also stymied by the Texas defense as they hit on a combined 1-of-8 for another three yards. Not surprisingly, the Lobos are currently 119th in the country in passing with a mere 52.5 ypg.
Clearly the team is holding out hope that the running game will carry them this season, currently averaging 276.5 ypg to rank second in the conference behind only Air Force and 13th nationally overall. However, to make that jump will be a rather significant one since the team averaged just 113.2 ypg rushing over the entire 2011 campaign. Then again, much of that was based on the fact that the team often fell into deep holes against opponents and could not afford to waste time and energy on gaining back only small bits at a time on the ground.
Texas State, one of the newest members of the FBS, opened with a stunning win over Houston in the first week, but the Bobcats were not nearly as lucky against Tech in a lopsided 48-point win. Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege threw for 319 yards and tied a career-high with five passing scores as he played less than three quarters before taking a seat on the bench. Overall, the passing attack accounted for 405 yards and the ground game added another 186 yards and a score which shows that Tech can get the job done in a variety of ways.
Not only did the defense for Texas Tech hold the Bobcats to just 270 yards of total offense, Cody Davis made an immediate impact for the visitors to San Marcos as he picked off a pass less than four minutes into the contest and returned it 88 yards for a score.
While it is still early in the season and the competition has yet to reach a Big 12 Conference level, the Red Raiders have to be pleased with the fact that they rank among the best teams in the country in pass defense, giving up just 106.0 ypg, and total defense (177.0 ypg), especially after the unit was 114th in the country in 2011 with a massive 485.6 ypg allowed. It might be too early to tell if the team has made major strides on that side of the ball, but at least early returns are positive.
At some point the Lobos are going to have to break through on the road and pick up that elusive victory in enemy territory, but if Doege has anything to say about it, all UNM will find in Lubbock is probably another lopsided setback.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas Tech 49, New Mexico 7
09/12 11:13:45 ET