2010 Record | 1-11 (1-7 in MWC)
Returning Starters | 15 (6 on offense, 9 on defense)
Key Losses | With 15 starters returning, it's tough to find a guy that is a key loss. DT Peter Gardner was #10 on the team in tackles last year, but the Lobos return all but 2 starters on defense. Offensively, the Lobo line is going to need some re-tooling as Mike Cannon, Karlin Givens and Byron Bell all graduate and will need to be replaced, but from a skill position standpoint, New Mexico returns almost all of their important pieces, which is almost the exact opposite of Texas Tech (loses a lot of skill positions, but returns the entire line)
Key Additions | I had a tough time finding a new player, that would have a significant impact this year, but give me receiver Lamaar Thomas a transfer from Ohio St. and was a kick returner for the Buckeyes, sat out last year due to transfer rules, but did find time to run a 4.38 40-yard dash.
Impact Offensive Player | Normally, I start by looking at the quarterbacks, but New Mexico ran through three different QB's last year and they all had some success, although QB Stump Godfrey ended the year as a starter (think dual-threat) and B.R. Holbrook played against Texas Tech and passed for over 300 yards. The guy that's seeing the most press is Lucas Reed, a tight end, named to the John Mackey Award Watch List and last year he had 33 catches for 459 yards and 5 touchdowns. That's decent production from your tight end.
Impact Defensive Player | I feel like linebacker Carmen Messina has been playing for the Lobos for 10 years, but he's finally a senior this year and he's been an incredibly productive player for New Mexico for at least the past three years that I've been keeping track of New Mexico. Messina did it again last year where he registered 115 tackles last year, good for 27th in the nation. He doesn't do much else, or isn't asked to do much else, other than just make tackles as he only had 1 sack and 4 passes defended last year.
|Texas St. Bobcats
|@ New Mexico Lobos
|@ Kansas Jayhawks
|Texas A&M Aggies
|Kansas St. Wildcats
|@ Oklahoma Sooners
|Iowa St. Cyclones
|@ Texas Longhorns
|Oklahoma St. Cowboys
|@ Missouri Tigers
vs. Texas Tech | Last year's 52-17 win felt like it wasn't enough for Texas Tech fans. Two fumbles, one of those being a fumble on the 1 yard line by Baron Batch, and some strange plays, the game felt closer than the score indicated. Granted a big part of that was the fact that New Mexico scored 14 points in the 2nd quarter, one off of a fluke play by Chris Hernandez that resulted in a touchdown. Still, Texas Tech won by 35 and Texas Tech fans, I think, still wanted more.
A year later, New Mexico is still one of the worst teams in the country, winning only 1 game last year, against Wyoming, but they were young, very young. Head coach Mike Locksley played a bunch of young players last year, probably knowing that this year is going to determine his fate at New Mexico as the head coach. You're probably going to see a team that fights, a lot, or a team that's given up and I'm not sure what we'll see. It will be early in the season, so I'm guessing it's the former.
The overall numbers don't look good for what Texas Tech did last year. I mentioned above that Holbrook threw for over 300 yards, 323 to be exact, but only had 1 touchdown and 2 interceptions. The Lobos rushed for 146 yards, but 45 of those were from the Hernandez fumble recovery. Ty Kirk had 5 catches for 119 yards, but no touchdown. Lucas Reed did have 4 catches for 68 yards and 1 touchdown for the Lobos.
Offensively the Lobos are still trying to find their mark. Ranked 120th in total offense, 116th in scoring offense, and 106th in rushing offense and passing offense. So, despite having some talent, and Locksley being an offensive-minded coach, the offense still can't get on track. Granted, a big part of this is the lack of consistency at quarterback and New Mexico needs to figure out if they're going to be a dual-threat team or a drop-back-passer team.
Defensively, it wasn't much better. New Mexico was 120th in rushing defense, 57th in pass defense, 119th in total defense and 120th in scoring defense. So, despite guys like Messina playing well, it's not playing out on the field. New Mexico gets almost no pass rush and doesn't make plays behind the line of scrimmage.
Texas Tech should have a similar outcome to last year and I'd be happy with that. The offensive line should get another week of preparing for conference play and giving Doege time to find open receivers, the running backs should find plenty of holes to run through. The defense should be able to make some plays (New Mexico was 116th in the nation turnover margin).