The University of New Mexico Lobos begin the 2019 season on Saturday afternoon against San Houston St. at DreamStyle Stadium. The Lobos embark on the eighth season under head coach Bob Davie and the 120th overall for the program.
Despite a mixed record, including consecutive 3-9 seasons, Davie owns a 5-2 record in opening games, including wins over Mississippi Valley State, South Dakota, Abilene Christian, and Incarnate Word.
Davie kicks off his eighth year with new coordinators on both sides of the ball, with first-year offensive coordinator Joe Dailey joining the team from Liberty University, and former safeties coach Jordan Peterson replacing the departed Kevin Cosgrove.
The Lobos played quarterback roulette last season, as injuries and ineffective play forced Davie to rotate playing Tevaka Tuioti, Sherrion Jones, and Coletin Gerhart. The rotation became so prevalent last season that the Lobos were one of five teams in FBS to start three or more quarterbacks in multiple games.
With Tuioti back after missing time for personal reasons, it appears as though a committee approach under center will once again be in the books for Davie and the Lobos. Joining Tuioti will be Jones, redshirt freshman Trae Hall, and junior college transfer Brandt Hughes.
Tuioti will likely get the first crack against the Bearkats, but it is likely Jones and Hughes will also see some action.
“We’ve seen enough of all the quarterbacks that I think it’s going to be based on who does the best and how they play us defensively and what packages give us the best chance,” Davie told reporters after Monday’s practice.
“We’re not in a position where any one of the four would come out of this camp just head and shoulders above anybody else. Quite honestly if there was one guy it would be Tevaka, based on spring and based on the number of reps we’ve seen him in games around here. But because of some unique situations and the circumstances, he’s not quite in the position to have created any kind of gap. So I don’t think there’s much of a gap at all between the next three. And we’ll make a decision on who the starter is, and as the game goes on, we’ll make a decision how long he’s in there and who goes in next.”
On the other side of the ball, the Lobos welcomed back redshirt senior linebacker Alex Hart. The defensive captain played in the first few games for the Lobos in 2018 before missing most of the season due to injury. Hart applied and was granted a red shirt senior season by the NCAA.
Sam Houston State is an FCS school that plays in the Southland Conference. Led by head coach K.C. Keeler in his fifth season with the program, the Bearkats enter 2019 favored to win their conference in preseason polls.
The Lobos will need to shut down wide receiver Nathan Stewart, a 6’0” 180-pound senior from Dallas Texas who enters the season on the heels of three consecutive seasons of at least 1000 receiving yards. Stewart posted 72 catches for 1648 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2017 and led the team last year with 58 receptions for 1063 yards.
The Bearkats’ passing offense is going to be a tough matchup for Peterson’s defense, as the combination of Ty Brock and Mike Dare combined to throw for 3252 passing yards and 22 touchdowns in 11 games last year.
The Lobos enter the game as 10-point favorites at home, with an over-under of 62.5 points. Kickoff is set for 4 pm MT, with Robert Portnoy and DonTrell Moore on the call for the Mountain West Network.