Stevens: Special Teams Help Doom Lobos in 52-17 Loss to Texas Tech
Red Raiders get 28 points going 24 yards; Lobos have 16 penalties for 145 yards
Sept. 11, 2010
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
A punt is never supposed to be a good thing for your team. For the Lobos, it was disastrous Saturday night in University Stadium in their 52-17 loss to Texas Tech.
The Red Raiders cracked through New Mexico blocking twice to block Lobo punts and twice set up short Tech touchdowns.
"We have to get special teams cleaned up. That was very disappointing," said Lobo coach Mike Locksley. "We had a punt blocked tonight with a one-man rush. That's a guy not executing his assignment."
The bad news? The scoreboard that favored Tech by 35 points and dropped the University of New Mexico to 0-2 with the Utah Utes coming to visit next Saturday.
The good new? The Lobos' effort was on a higher level than what they put out a week ago at Oregon in a 72-0 loss to the Ducks. The Lobos rolled out 433 net yards and put 17 points on the board.
Still, the young Lobo need to improve and improve in a hurry with Utes coming to town. The special teams need major reconstruction and the on-the-field discipline needs to improve. UNM had 16 penalties against Tech.
"The number one emotion for me right now is disappointment," said Locksley. "We just beat ourselves. Anytime you have 16 penalties in a game, there definitely has to be a great amount of disappointment."
One way to put this game into perspective is to note the Raiders put 28 points on the board going only 24 yards. The Lobos gave up three touchdowns on Tech drives under five yards.
The Lobos were too helpful in helping Raiders reach the end zone. There were those blocked punts. There was a 93-yard kickoff return by Tech. There also was a Lobo drive killed by a B.R. Holbrook interception near the end zone when Ty Kirk was bumped on a route. UNM also had a Lucas Reed TD called back when a flag was thrown for an illegal screen/pick that popped Reed loose over the middle.
"That was a big momentum killer for us," said Locksley. "Typically, you don't get that call. We haven't had many calls or many balls or many calls go our way just yet this season."
The Lobos did show better offense, but it was a game in which the Lobos got hurt by bad breaks and turnovers, got helped by good breaks, and created two huge turnovers on their own. It was a better effort, but not yet up to the standards expected by coach Locksley.
"It's two steps forward and one step back for us," said Locksley, who saw his Lobos drop to 0-2 on the season. "We have got to find a way to play smarter than the way we have been playing."
Tech rolled out 462 yards on offense -- 310 via the pass and 152 on the ground. The Lobos' net yardage was more than respectable at 433 -- 336 through the air and 97 rushing. The Lobos' biggest enemy this night was the play of their special teams and those16 penalties for 145 yards.
Holbrook had a much better outing in Game Two going 30-of-50 for 323 yards. Bryant Williams hauled in nine passes for 68 yards and Ty Kirk had six grabs for 119 yards including a 57-yard reception that set up a UNM score. Tight end Lucas Reed had four catches for 68 yards and one TD.
Tech's Taylor Potts hit 65 percent of his passes going 22-of-34 for 293 yards and three scores. Tech got decent rushing stats out of Eric Stephens (4.6 average) and Harris Jeffers (6.3 yards per carry). The Lobo rushing stats were mediocre, with Kasey Carrier getting the most carries with 10 and averaging 2.7 yards per carry.
Tech is 2-0 on the season and play host to Texas next week. "It gets tougher," said Tech coach Tommy Tuberville.
First Half - Texas Tech 31, Lobos 17
It was a half in which the Lobos could have been down by 28 points or down by seven.
As it was, the 14 points might have been a push for both teams. The best part of the half was the Lobos' effort. They fought and scratched and the Red Raiders knew they were in a fight.
The good: UNM creating a fumble with a strip on the Lobo 2-yard line; Chris Hernandez picking up a Holbrook fumbled and running 45 yards for a TD.
The bad: Not blocking a Tech rusher on a punt that Tech recovered on the UNM 2-yard line; giving up a 93-yard kickoff return that set up another Raider score.
Tech didn't waste much time getting on the scoreboard. Less than a minute into the game, Potts' fourth pass of the game went to Austin Zouzalik looping out of the backfield on the right side. He got around the corner, got around two Lobos, and went untouched 55 yards. Tech was up 7-0 at the 14:15 mark.
The Red Raiders' second TD brought back bad memories of UNM's loss at Oregon, a game whose momentum was dramatically turned by a Lobo miscue on a punt. Tech blocked a UNM punt and it should not have happened.
Tech's Aaron Crawford charged into the teeth of three Lobo blockers standing in front of UNM punter Ben Skaer. Somehow Crawford slid between that three-man wedge and got a hand on Skaer's punt. Crawford tried to make the scoop and get the score, but bobbled the ball. Tech took over at the 3-yard line and scored one play later.
The Lobos reached the scoreboard for the first time of the season. A nice 53-yard drive ended with a James Aho field goal from 28 yards.
Tech again struck quickly. Tech's Eric Stephens took the kickoff back 93 yards to the UNM 7-yard line. The Red Raiders scored on the ground two plays later. UNM was down 21-3.
The Lobos dodged a huge bullet early in the second quarter when Tech was knocking on the UNM end zone and about to push the score to 28-3. UNM's Joe Stoner stripped the ball from a Tech back near the 2-yard line and Johnathan Rainey recovered. This was a huge play.
The Lobos had to punt the ball back and a Tech drive ended with a field goal that pushed up the Raiders 24-3.
This time the Lobos came back quickly. Holbrook, showing the accuracy he showed in fall drills, threaded the needle to hit Ty Kirk for 57 yards up the middle. Kirk was tackled at the 5-yard line. Holbrook then threw a bullet to tight end Lucas Reed breaking to the right side of the end zone. The Lobos had their first TD of the season and were down 24-10.
Tech came back with a solid drive that started on their 24-yard line. They scored in 11 plays to go up 31-10.
Good fortune and an opportunistic wide receiver got the Lobos back into the end zone. Holbrook was stripped on a run up the middle out of a broken huddle. The ball squirted directly into Hernandez's arm. He stiff-armed a Tech defender and rambled 45 yards to score. UNM was down 31-17.
The Lobos created another great opportunity in the final seconds of the first half when Rainey hit Potts from the backside and Kennedy recovered. Lobo penalties kept UNM off the scoreboard.