New Mexico quarterback B.R. Holbrook went from doubtful to probable within a matter of hours this week so the Lobos could put their best players on the field against Texas Tech.
Considering the Lobos’ success Saturday night, or lack thereof, the senior with bruised ribs probably didn’t need to rush back.
Neither the New Mexico offense nor its defense had much success against the Red Raiders at Jones AT&T Stadium. The Lobo offense was held to a season-low 127 total yards while Tech’s balanced offense shredded the Lobos defense for 702 yards in a 49-14 Red Raider victory.
“That’s what you call getting exposed right there,” first-year New Mexico coach Bob Davie said. “We knew coming in here that it was going to be difficult. I knew this would be a more difficult game than Texas, just because of their style of offense against our defense. But, to be honest, I didn’t think we’d be that bad on defense.
“If (Texas Tech coach) Tommy Tuberville hadn’t called them off, they would have scored a lot more points.”
Holbrook, who alternated throughout the game with true freshman Cole Gautsche, finished with 9 rushing yards on 10 carries and threw for 43 yards on 6-of-11 passing. Gautsche had 36 rushing yards and misfired on his only pass of the game.
All this came a week after the Lobos rushed for 206 yards against Texas in Austin in a 45-0 loss.
“They took a lot of the things we wanted to do away,” Holbrook said. “We were never able to get into a rhythm tonight, and it seems like we kind of beat ourselves. We came into the game focused on a few areas on offense where we really wanted to execute ... and we didn’t get it done for some reason.”
They would have had to have a lot more production for the Lobos (1-2) to stay with the Red Raiders (3-0). They simply couldn’t keep up with Tech’s fast-paced attack in the first half, surrendering 455 yards before halftime while managing just 88 yards of its own, 79 of which came on one drive. Rarely was Tech quarterback Seth Doege under any pressure, and when he was he usually rolled out of it to find a receiver open somewhere on the field.
New Mexico came into the game having allowed 756 total yards and 263.5 passing yards per game, but Doege and the Red Raider receivers reached that mark before halftime. Doege set a new career high with six touchdown passes, five of them by halftime, surpassing a mark he set against New Mexico last season and against Texas State last week.
Davie said the Lobos lost starting strong safety Matt Raymer and defensive back Cranston Jones to injury in the first series of the game, furthering the difficulty in stopping the Red Raiders.
Doege finished the game completing 27 of 35 passes for 340 yards and tossed his career-best sixth touchdown on the Red Raiders’ first drive of the third quarter, a 14-yarder to Jace Amaro.
The six touchdown passes by Doege also tied the mark of individual touchdown tosses by a quarterback against the Lobos, which had been done five previous times, including by former Tech quarterback Kliff Kingsbury in 2002.
But the Lobos struggled just as much to stop the run as Eric Stephens and Kenny Williams combined for 223 rushing yards and both finished with more than 100 in the game. The Red Raiders ended with 325 rushing yards.
Davie said the Lobos simply didn’t have the ability defensively to make the Red Raiders one-dimensional, much less shut them down completely.
“We’ve got a dilemma,” Davie said. “Basically every time we play man, it’s pitch and catch. Then when we play zone, they spread us out and were not only able to run it, but we played right into their hands. They spread it with the formation, and (Doege) is good. I have a lot of respect for him.
“We’ve got some problems, we really do. We’re going to get exposed against teams like Texas Tech.”
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