Texas Tech - New Mexico Matchups

How will the Red Raiders and Lobos stack up against each other?

The Red Raiders will enjoy virtually across-the-board advantages when they line up against the New Mexico Lobos in Albuquerque, but this game figures to be closer than the matchups indicate. UNM quarterback Tarean Austin is an accurate passer when given time, and the Lobo defense looked good for one and a half quarters against a potent Arkansas offense last week. The Lobos have some talent, just not a lot of depth. And until the Red Raider defense actually goes out and dominates somebody there will be serious questions about this side of the ball.

Just for Fun: Texas Tech 31 New Mexico 19

Texas Tech Passing Attack versus New Mexico Secondary: The Red Raiders threw the ball a modest 37 times against Texas State, only four more times than they ran it. Consequently, the numbers were not typical Tech gaudy, but quarterback Seth Doege was very efficient and there was only one dropped pass. Wideout Darrin Moore had a monster game as a first-time starter and Alex Torres was a very good complement. The Red Raiders need more production on the other side of the field, however, and expect frosh Bradley Marquez to provide it.

New Mexico's opponents have completed 48 of 65 passes for 276 yards per contest. That is a very high completion percentage. Cornerback Destry Berry has been very active with 11 tackles, three passes defended and three pass breakups. Linebacker Carmen Messina has the team's only interception. Tackling has been a problem so far for the Lobo secondary.

Edge: Texas Tech

Texas Tech Secondary versus New Mexico Passing Attack: Texas State tested the Tech secondary very little, and to the extent that they did, they were not terribly successful, completing only 10 of 21 passes. The Red Raiders played most of that game without safety Cody Davis, often considered the secondary's best player. Brett Dewhurst played well in his stead, as did fellow safety D. J. Johnson. Cornerback Derrick Mays was beaten on occasion.

Quarterback Tarean Austin has completed 59% of his passes and averages 170 passing yards per contest. So far he hasn't been bitten by the interception bug once, but Austin does zero in on one receiver, doesn't look off defenders, and shows questionable judgment. Austin is an accurate passer, however, and will hit open receivers. Deon Long leads the Lobos with 12 receptions, while Lamaar Thomas averages 13.4 yards per catch on seven grabs.

Edge: Texas Tech

Texas Tech Rushing Attack versus New Mexico's Linebackers: The Red Raider ground game was a bit of a surprise against Texas State, with Eric Stephens rushing for well over 100 yards and freshman backup DeAndre Washington averaging over six yards per tote. The rushing attack should get some added oomph with Ronnie Daniels' return from a one-game suspension. Stephens fumbled twice against the Bobcats, and that is a habit he will have to break before conference play starts or his snaps will diminish.

The linebackers are arguably New Mexico's defensive strength with Carmen Messina one of the Mountain West's better linebackers and Dallas Bolema currently leading the squad with 21 stops to go along with two pass breakups and two others defended. Opponents are, however, rushing for five yards per carry and 175 yards per contest, so Messina, Bolema and company are hardly dominating.

Edge: Even

Texas Tech Linebackers versus New Mexico Rushing Attack: The Red Raiders are extremely young at this position, but are also quite talented. True freshman Blake Dees graded out superbly in his first game as a starter, while Sam Eguavoen played well enough off the bench to earn the starting berth against New Mexico. The Bobcats did, however, rush for 256 yards, so this is an area of grave concern.

There's no way around it: the Lobo ground game is punchless. James Wright, a big, power back, averages only four yards per carry and has only 89 yards on the season. Quarterback Austin is New Mexico's number two rushing threat. If the Lobos gash Tech on the ground warning sirens will sound in Lubbock.

Edge: Texas Tech

Texas Tech Offensive Line versus New Mexico Defensive Line: For the most part, it was a good outing from the Red Raider offensive line against Texas State, although they, like the team in general, started sluggishly. Left-siders LaAdrian Waddle and Lonnie Edwards starred, as did Terry McDaniel in his first game as a center. The right side or the line was less successful. Quarterback Doege was sacked twice and that's two times too many against a team like Texas State.

The Lobos have two sacks in two games, one by defensive end Joseph Harris, the other by tackle Ugo Uzodinma. UNM rushers have managed only one quarterback hurry in addition to the two sacks, so the Lobo pass rush has not been exactly fierce. Run stoppage has been somewhat better but is still average at best.

Edge: Texas Tech

Texas Tech Defensive Line versus New Mexico Offensive Line: Aside from alignment problems created by confronting an unexpected option attack, the Tech d-line showed promise against Texas State. Defensive end Dartwan Bush was a big-play disruptor, while newcomers Kindred Evans, Delvon Simmons, Jackson Richards and Dennell Wesley showed they will be big contributors. Starting tackles Donald Langley and Kerry Hyder were serviceable.

The Lobo offensive line, which returns only one starter from a year ago, has been abysmal. In addition to being unable to jumpstart the ground game, the New Mexico line has contributed to nine sacks in two games. If this group doesn't gel quickly the UNM offense won't stand a chance against anybody all season.

Edge: Texas Tech

Texas Tech Special Teams versus New Mexico Special Teams: The Red Raiders were solid on special teams against Texas State and that's a couple of steps up from a year ago when Tech was just plain bad in this phase of the game. Ryan Erxleben punted very well and Tech's coverage units were pretty good, as were kicker Donnie Carona's kickoffs.

New Mexico's opponents average 38 yards on kickoff returns and eight yards on punt returns, both of which are poor numbers for the Lobos. Kicker James Aho has connected on two of three field goal attempts with a long of 47. Ben Skaer averages 37 yards per punt.

Edge: Texas Tech


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