Lobos roll over Tennessee Tech in home opener, 56-10

Albuquerque, New Mexico – Jacory Croskey-Merritt shone for the Lobos as he delivered a career-defining performance, amassing a staggering 162 yards and achieving a career-high of three touchdowns. This remarkable feat, coupled with Dylan Hopkins’ impeccable efficiency, propelled the Lobos to a resounding 56-10 victory over Tennessee Tech. The game unfolded before UNM’s largest season-opening crowd in the past five years.

In front of UNM’s largest season-opening crowd in the past five years, Croskey-Merritt left spectators in awe with two explosive runs, including a breathtaking 48-yard dash in the first quarter and an even more astounding 55-yard burst in the second half. Sandwiched between these runs, he powered through for a 1-yard touchdown after Caleb Medford hauled in a spectacular 49-yard pass, almost at the goal line, despite facing tight defense. It was a historic day for Croskey-Merritt, who had never before scored three touchdowns in a single game, even during his time at Alabama State.

The Lobos’ offensive prowess didn’t stop there. Dylan Hopkins displayed his exceptional skills, completing 13 of 17 passes for an impressive 273 yards and contributing four touchdowns. After a first quarter that ended 7-7 with both teams scoring on their opening drives, UNM shifted into high gear. One of the defining moments was a Hopkins-to-Medford pass, igniting an 89-yard touchdown drive, the third of the season for UNM that covered 87 yards or more.

Following a defensive stop, Hopkins took the reins at the Lobo 22-yard line and wasted no time in extending the lead to 21-7. With precision, he connected with speedster Duece Jones, resulting in a career-best 78-yard touchdown. UNM seized the momentum as Ray Leutele forced a turnover, knocking the ball loose from backup quarterback Hayes Gibson. Dimitri Johnson’s 37-yard return set up another scoring opportunity, which Hopkins capitalized on by finding Luke Wysong in the end zone, pushing the lead to 28-7.

Tennessee Tech fought back, marching down the field and adding a 37-yard field goal to make it 28-10 at halftime. However, UNM’s tenacity on defense was evident in the second half, as they shut down Tennessee Tech’s offensive efforts with a commanding three-and-out. Taking control at their own 38-yard line, Croskey-Merritt struck again, recording his third touchdown of the game.

The Lobos continued their impressive performance, with local standout Dorian Lewis contributing significantly. Lewis rushed three times for an impressive 49 yards before Hopkins connected with DJ Washington for a 16-yard touchdown, marking Washington’s first Division I score. Hopkins capped off his spectacular night with a 46-yard touchdown pass to Kaydin Pope.

In total, the Lobos amassed an impressive 587 yards, nearly evenly split between 291 passing yards and 296 rushing yards. It was a night of glory and a clear demonstration of the Lobos’ offensive prowess, leaving fans with a memorable victory to savor.