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September 17, 2011

Nothing Seems to Have Changed for Losing Lobos

The more things change, the more things stay the same for the University of New Mexico football team.

Working with a new defense and new defensive philosophy, the Lobos fell behind by two touchdowns five minutes into their home game against the Texas Tech Red Raiders, and lost 59-13 on Saturday.

The Lobos drop to 0-3 on the season and hope to get their first win Saturday, when Sam Houston State comes to University Stadium for a 4 p.m. contest.

"Obviously, I'm very disappointed in how we performed today, consistently," said UNM head coach Mike Locksley. "When we go to watch the game tape, I'm sure we will find some things to build on, but the one thing that jumped out without seeing the film is on the defensive side of the ball. We're not tackling well and we are going to find 11 guys who are going to have the ability to make the plays in the field. We had players in position to make plays, but at some point, they are going to have to make them."

It was a record day for Red Raiders quarterback Seth Doege. The Texas Tech junior needed three quarters to slice and dice the Lobos' secondary for 401 yards and five touchdowns on 40-of-44 passing, setting the NCAA national record for passing efficiency at 90.9 percent with at least 40 atempts. He also tied former Texas Tech quarterback Taylor Potts' school record of 15-straight completions.

As a team, Texas Tech ran 85 offensive plays for 624 total yards.

"It's pretty unusual for an offense to be on like that, but - what a day?" said Texas Tech head coach . "The protection we had was great. I'm proud of Seth. He'll be the first to tell you he had some guys make some good catches, too. It was all around a very good offensive day."

Doege threw to four different receivers. One of his targets was junior Darrin Moore, who caught nine passes for 118 yards. Two of his three touchdowns came in the first 5 minutes, 3 seconds of the game.

The main reason Tech's offense was so solid was Texas Tech's scheme to not let Doege hold onto the ball. The majority of his passes were underneath the UNM defense, between the defensive line and the secondary. Doege rarely held the ball for longer than three seconds.

"He got the ball out of his hands quick," Locksley said of Doege. "He wasn't throwing vertical passes. Most of the plays were underneath throws where we have to get 11 guys taking aim at the one with the football and tackling him. That's football 101."

UNM had opportunities to keep the game close in the first half. But on three occasions, quarterback Tarean Austin overthrew UNM receivers who had beaten their defenders on long routes for possible scores. Austin connected on one, a 69-yarder in the second quarter to wide receiver Deon Long, setting up UNM's lone score, a two-yard run by Crusoe Gongbay.

Long finished with 137 yards receiving on three catches. Austin finished the day passing 8-for-24 for 187 yards and an interception. Gongbay led the team in rushing with 62 on 14 carries.
UNM managed just 337 yards of total offense on 66 plays.

"We consistently weren't able to run or throw, to give our defense a chance," Locksley said. "We missed some open throws early in the game and we have talked before with our team that somehow, someway we have to make plays and right now, we are not getting that done. We are going to have to continue to evaluate our personnel, continue to evaluate what we are doing and find ways to get the ball into the hands of people who can make plays."

One of those players was Long, who witnessed one of the three overthrown passes from Austin.

"I thought Deon played well with the opportunities he had," Locksley said. "He competed well."

Competing well is something staring linebacker Carmen Messina did, tying Bubba Forrest with a team-high 11 tackles. But he wasn't thinking about his own performance after the game, he was disappointed in his squad's lack of mental toughness.

"Momentum swings no matter what game we play and you just can't let that adversity affect everyone on the team, and as a senior I take responsibility for that," Messina said. "(The defensive effort) was disappointing. (Texas Tech) was getting the ball out in under three seconds and it is hard to get to a quarterback when they are doing things like that."

One highlight for the Lobos was senior kicker James Aho. His extra point and two fourth-quarter field goals moved him into second place in career field goals made at UNM with 43, and into seventh place in career scoring at UNM with 196 points.


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