ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – The Lobos have lost a key piece of their defense. Head coach Danny Gonzales announced on Thursday that junior defensive back Tavian Combs is out for the remainder of the season with a torn ACL.

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Combs sustained the injury during UNM’s 27-10 victory over UTEP last Saturday. The Amarillo, Texas native was the starting “Lobo” position in UNM’s unique defense that features five defensive backs. True freshman AJ Haulcy is expected to take over the role.

Haulcy stepped up against the Miners once Combs went down, as the freshman was responsible for a touchdown-saving forced fumble, as well as an interception. Saturday’s game against LSU will be his first college start.

“The starter go down, I step up,” Haulcy said. “You know, my coach has been coaching me hard all week and since I got here he has been coaching me hard. So, Jerrick, Tavian, Ron Wilson, you know they all coach me up and get me prepared for this game. I am just ready to take over and do what I have to do.”

UNM is off to a 2-1 start to the season. Up next for the Lobos is a road trip to Baton Rouge, Louisiana to take on the LSU Tigers. The game has a 5:30 kickoff and will stream on ESPN+.