New Mexico Lobos look to rebound after disappointing season
After opening 2018 with a 62-30 win over FCS Incarnate Word, the New Mexico Lobos football team comes into Camp Randall facing a vastly greater challenge.
Looking back at the 2017 season, New Mexico began on a decent note with three wins and two losses during the month of September, but soon after they fell into a downward spiral, ending the season with seven straight losses.
Despite a 3-9 record last season, New Mexico has a lot of momentum moving into this season thanks to a big recruiting class and three new coaches. One of these new coaches looking to make a change in New Mexico’s program is Calvin Magee from Arizona. Magee, who was hired as offensive coordinator and running backs coach, is best known for being one of the innovators of the spread option offense.
On the field, redshirt sophomore quarterback Tevaka Tuioti started the season particularly strong. In just his second career start, Tuioti accounted for five touchdowns. The Long Beach, California native threw for 327 yards, beating the past record for a New Mexico quarterback of 300 yards that was set in September of 2010.
One of the advantages New Mexico will have throughout this season is their abundance of offensive weapons. In their home opener, New Mexico had 10 different receivers catch passes. One key returner, senior running back Tyrone Owens, became the 17th New Mexico player to run for 2,000 yards while also scoring two touchdowns in the opening victory. For the second straight season, Owens has also been named to the pre-season watch list for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award and is sure to give opposing defenses headaches throughout the season. The shifty back will be another challenge for Wisconsin's defense.
New Mexico also comes with unusual anticipation for the performance of redshirt freshman kicker Andrew Shelley, who is most well-known within the state for his walk-off 38-yard field goal in his 2015 high school season, which sent Eldorado into the state title game.
Moving forward, New Mexico has a lot to offer this season with a handful of talented seniors returning, a new line of coaches looking to implement new plays and lineups and a deep recruiting class. However, even with many advantages, New Mexico will have to channel all of their strengths and remain calm when facing top Division I teams this season if they hope to redeem themselves after a discouraging 2017 season.
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