NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – The Lobo defense made sure the point the offense put on the board would be enough in Thursday night’s season-opening 27-17 win over Houston Baptist. A crowd of 15,980 fans showed up for Thursday night’s game as the Lobo defense made plays the entire game.
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Ray Leutele started it off with an interception for the linebackers. Upfront, the Lobos defensive pressure as the Huskies only had 187 yards rushing. It was also the defense that took advantage of a Huskies miscue late in the game to help kill would have been a game-tying drive.
Lobos finished the Huskies off with a Tavion Comb interception. Combs also had 12 tackles, a pass break up and a tackle for loss in the win. “We got more pressure upfront than we did last year with a four-man rush which is positive. Then when we blitzed them we got after them. I thought the quarterback, he was hard to tackle. He ran over us a couple of times and did a really good job. Obviously, they couldn’t run the ball which is positive because we’re not going to allow people to run the ball on us. We did last year more than we’re accustomed to,” said UNM Head Coach Danny Gonzales.
“Linebackers helped out a lot honestly because the first half I was talking to the secondary actually and I was we’re not really making any plays and the linebackers are making all of them,” said Combs.
The Lobos host rival New Mexico State University on September 11. A pair of freshmen had a good showing for the Lobo offense and one is local. Former Cleveland Storm standout Luke Wyson had 48 years on six catches, one went for 21 yards after the catch. Wysong impresses the coaching staff during fall camp. He came in as the reigning Gatorade New Mexico Football and Track and Field Athlete of the Year.
“I thought Luke Wysong did an outstanding job. We need to perimeter block a little bit better for him because a couple of those, he was catching the ball and getting hit before he had an opportunity to get his foot in the ground and he can obviously make people miss. And, then Keyonta Lanier was obviously able to take them over the top and that was a great ball by Terry. So, we had some young guys step up and make plays, which is a positive,” said Gonzales.
Lobos freshman receiver Keyonta Kanier, out of Long Beach, California had 72 yards on three catches and one for a 47-yard touchdown.
The Lobos’ next opponent, New Mexico State University at San Diego State University on Saturday. Aggies Head Coach Doug Martin believes his team can do better than last week’s three-point performance in a loss against rival UTEP. “You’d like to think you’re going to improve from game one to game two. You know, we did in the spring from playing Tarleton to Dixie, we had major improvement. So, that’s what we need to do. If we’re going to have any chance at all, we got to improve a lot from that game to this game,” said Martin.
The Aggies and Aztecs game starts at 8:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
Meanwhile, what are the chances of the Duke City Gladiators becoming a champion for the third time? In their first year in the Indoor Football League, the Gladiators are in the final four and after coming from behind in round one on the road last week, you could say they are peaking at the right time.
“Oh yeah, of course, I mean. You don’t see our defense out there stopping some guys now? You see they held them, boys, to 33 points and that being said you know through a hard fought game to do that. So, yeah, we’re peaking at the right time. You know, the offense we got to get better like I said. We just had a down week ourselves. You know, we did just enough to get over the top, but you know if we come off firing, this week, is our plan and to keep moving forward,” said Dello Davis, Gladiators’ receiver.
Davis and quarterback Nate Davis named all IFL first time. Their game starts at 3 p.m. on Sunday.
New Mexico United return to the home pitch on Saturday night to host Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC. Th team still hopes to make the postseason but they have a lot of work to do to get that to happen. In the last six outings, New Mexico United endured five straight draws and one loss.
“We’re done with the almost and we’re doing really good but we need to put a full performance together. We need to be able to finish the end of the season without saying we were almost there; We almost won this game; We almost did this; We almost did that; We’re sick of that. We don’t want to be known as the team that was almost good enough. So, that’s where we go from there,” said Josh Suggs, NM United’s defender.
The game on Saturday starts at 7:30 p.m. at Isotopes Park.
Former NMSU slugger Nick Gonzales is the MILB High-A player of the month. Gonzales who plays for Greensboro in the Pittsburg Pirates organization batted .364 with 39 hits in 24 games in August. He also had ten home runs during the month with five during his final seven at-bats. Gonzales was the seventh overall pick of the Pirates in the MLB draft in 2020.