The Lobos are coming! The Lobos are coming.
The New Mexico Lobos are coming off of a horrific season in 2010 and a shellacking by Arkansas last week. What they do bring to the table is a mobile quarterback in Tarean Austin, who happens to be the 2nd highest rusher on the team and accounts for 36% of New Mexico's rushing yards in the first 2 games. By the way, that includes 9 sacks allowed for 47 yards. Austin can move. What they don't bring to the table is a defense. However, this is a road game for Texas Tech, New Mexico has something to prove, and the Lobos hate the Red Raiders. While this is another game that Tech should win on athleticism alone, there are enough things to worry about to keep it from being a gimme.
Key #1: Make Tarean Austin beat you through the air.
In case you didn't pick up on it before, Tarean Anderson is a pretty darn good running QB, and Texas Tech struggled 2 weeks ago against the option. We need to contain Auston and force UNM into passing situations. This means containment by the defensive ends and winning 1st down. Austin isn't a terrible passing QB, but he has only managed 60% completion and 5.8 YPA. New Mexico likes to run first, and if we can force them out of this game plan, we are in control.
Key #2: Protect Seth Doege
Texas Tech gave up 2 sacks against Texas State, While Doege was able to complete 70% of his passes and pick up 9.9 YPA, versus Texas State, he was hurried more than he should have been. Texas Tech hasn't seen good OL play since 2008. It is time for the big boys to pull it together. Give your guy some time. Maybe he'll buy you some nice Isotoner gloves for Christmas.
Key #3: Establish a ground game
I am excited to see Ronnie Daniels take the field. While Eric Stephens can certainly rack up some yards, I get knots in my stomach every tie he touches the ball, hoping that he will hang on. Tech struggled early against Texas State, averaging less than 2 YPC and allowed them to control the clock in the first half. While we turned the corner in the 2nd half, and I know I shouldn't pick too many knits with a 40 point win, this is not a trend that we can allow to continue. This ties closely with #2 above, in that it is heavily influenced by good offensive line play. Tech needs some cohesion and for good things to start happening up front.
Again, this should be a game that Texas Tech walks away with. I'd like nothing more than to see the 2nd and 3rd team get lots of reps in the 4th quarter. The coaching staff mentioned that they treated game 1 like a continuation of fall camp and that they are treating game 2 like the first game of the season. If that is the case, I expect Tech to break out the A game this week. I don't want to go into the rest of the season trying to figure things out like 2010.
Wreck 'em Tech!