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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Special Guest Column

    New Mexico cannot afford to start the season 0-3. Coming off a week in which the Lobos were thoroughly manhandled by Texas A&M – although it wasn’t reflected by the 28-22 final score – the Lobos are suffering from high expectations-low results syndrome, coming off a 9-4 season with a win in the New Mexico Bowl. But that may change this week when Arizona comes to town. Need I remind the Wildcat faithful, the Lobos pulled off the improbable, coming from behind to dispatch the Wildcats 29-27 last year.

    Who to watch on offense:

    QB Donovan Porterie, No. 15, JR – In two games this season, Porterie is a combined 26-for-45 for 191 yards, has zero touchdowns and three interceptions. If ever there was a week for Porterie to bounce back, this is the one. Last season against the Wildcats, Porterie went buckwild, completing 29-of-41 passes for 327 yards, three touchdowns and one pick.

    RB Rodney Ferguson, No. 21, SR – There’s a reason his middle name is Laurence. Ferguson is without question New England Patriots’ RB Laurence Maroney’s twin. Much like Maroney, Ferguson doesn’t shy away from contact. Last week, Ferguson gashed the Aggies for 135 yards and two scores. Ferguson is currently fifth on UNM’s all-time rushing list with 2,653 yards.

    WR Chris Hernandez, No. 18, JR – Hernandez has asserted himself as the go-to receiver. The junior, who spent the first two years of his career log-jammed on the depth chart, has snatched nine balls for 150 yards this season. Hernandez isn’t the fastest guy on the team, but he is a big, possession receiver who isn’t afraid to go across the middle.

    Who to watch on defense:

    CB DeAndre Wright, No. 2, SR – Wright, who was named to the Jim Thorpe Award watch list this season, has nine career interceptions. Wright is the Lobo’s best cornerback.

    Lobo, Ian Clark, No. 30, JR – Clark, who plays the coveted “”Lobo”” position, is a hybrid linebacker/defensive back who is good in coverage. In addition to racking up 18 total tackles, Clark has two punt returns for 64 yards.

    LB Zach Arnett, No. 49, SR – At 5-foot-10, Arnett is undersized for a linebacker. However, he is a team captain and the heart and soul of the Lobos’ defense. Arnett has 13 total tackles – two for a loss – this season.

    Keys to the game:

    Start strong: The Lobos have been outscored 30-7 in the first quarter and 37-7 in the first half. If the Lobos have any chance of winning this one, they will need to put up points early and in bunches.

    Bombs away: With Porterie throwing too many picks this season, the Lobos have been reluctant to heave the ball downfield. Instead, they’ve opted to pound the ground with Ferguson or throw lots of short passes. UNM offensive coordinator Dave Baldwin must call plays that stretch the field in order to keep Arizona from bringing seven or eight players into the box.

    Limit Turnovers: UNM has caused two turnovers while turning it over seven times. These turnovers have proved costly, setting up opponents with good field position. After each Lobo turnover, opponents scored touchdown on drives totaling 93 yards.

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