Lobo Football Faces UNLV Saturday in Las Vegas
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics  
Release:  09/22/2010
Courtesy: New Mexico Athletics

Sept. 22, 2010

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. --- The University of New Mexico football team travels to Las Vegas Saturday to battle UNLV at Sam Boyd Stadium. Kick is set for 7 p.m. PST. New Mexico is 3-8 in MWC road openers

The game will be broadcast live on the MountainWest Sports Network (The Mtn.) with Bill Doleman handling the play-by-play duties and Reggie Rivers will be the analyst. Molly Sullivan will handle the sidelines Saturday for this critical MWC matchup for the Lobos and Rebels. The Mtn., can be seen on channel 276 for Comcast subscribers and channel 616 for DirecTV.

The radio broadcast is also available on the Lobo Radio Network and 770 AM KKOB in Albuquerque. Scott Galetti and Greg Remington will provide the call.

New Mexico enters the game at 0-3 and 0-1 in MWC action. The Lobos dropped a 56-14 decision to No. 14 Utah last week to open conference play. It was the third straight loss for UNM. New Mexico will be looking for its first road victory Saturday for head coach Mike Locksley.

Both teams are 0-3 after difficult starts and looking for their first win.

Saturday will be Coach to Cure MD at Boyd Stadium. Coaches will wear patches to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. Fans can donate online at www.CoachtoCureMD.org or donate $5 by texting CURE to 90999.

New Mexico has faced one of the more difficult schedules to open the 2010 season. The Lobos are 0-3 after battling No. 5/6 Oregon, Texas Tech and No. 14 Utah. The Lobos are the only school in FBS whose 1st 3 opponents of 2010 were all ranked in the top 25 in the final 2009 poll: Oregon (11), Texas Tech (21) and Utah (18). UNM is only 1 of 5 schools that will play 2 of its first 3 games against top-25 teams (2 others from the MWC), but look at the other opponent for those teams:

New Mexico vs. (5/6) Oregon, (RV) Texas Tech and (13) Utah
San Jose vs. (1) Alabama, (10/11) Wisconsin and Southern Utah
Tennessee vs. Tenn-Martin, (5/6) Oregon and (8/9) Florida
UNLV vs. (10/11) Wisconsin, (13) Utah and at Idaho
Wyoming vs. Southern Utah, (4/7) Texas and (3) Boise State




New Mexico leads the all-time series with UNLV, 9-8. The Rebels have won the last two meetings including a 34-17 victory last year in Albuquerque. UNM will be looking for its first win in Las Vegas since 2006, 39-36. UNLV leads the series when playing in Las Vegas, 4-3.

New Mexico has played three quarterbacks this season. Sophomore B.R. Holbrook started the first two games before suffering a knee injury and missed the Utah game. Junior Brad Gruner was named the Lobos starter moments before the Utah game and played the entire first half. Freshman Tarean Austin showed a lot of promise during his first full action. Austin hit Bryant Williams for an 18-yard TD against the Utes. Austin was 15-of-27 passing for 128 yards. Saturday's quarterback has yet to be announced.

Sophomore WR Ty Kirk is one of the most dangerous players in the Mountain West Conference. Kirk had 17 catches in three games this year for 188 yards. Kirk is averaging 62.7 yards and just over five catches per contest. He led all MWC freshmen in receiving last year and is tied for the conference this year for receptions per game. Kirk enters Saturday's game tied for 33rd nationally in receiving. He is also sixth in receiving yards per game at 62.7.

The Rebels are 0-3 and 0-1 in conference play. UNLV is led by head coach Bobby Hauck, who is in his first year in Vegas. Hauck inherited a program that was 5-7 overall and went 3-5 during league play. Omar Clayton is an experienced dual threat quarterback. He had 340 yards through the air and 77 on the ground. Phillip Payne is the top receiving for UNLV, while Channing Trotter has been effective in the running game. The Rebels lost to Idaho, 30-7, last Saturday on the road. UNLV's only home game was against the nationally-ranked Wisconsin Badgers on Sept. 4.

Sophomore S A.J. Butler will miss the next 3-4 weeks after suffering a thumb injury that has been surgically repaired. Butler is the team's second-leading tackler with 19 stops in three games. Against Utah, Butler had two fumble recoveries including a 27-yard return for a TD. Butler switched to defense in the spring, after playing his freshman season at running back.

Sophomore DB Emmanuel McPhearson has developed into a key returner for the Lobos. McPhearson is second in the MWC in kick returns with a 24.4 average. He has 10 returns for 244 yards including a long of 33. Redshirt freshman Myles Daughtry ranks sixth in the conference with nine returns for 166 yards.

Shaky Smith went untouched on a 73-yard punt return touchdown, capping a surge of three touchdowns in a span of 4:16 for No. 14 Utah in a 56-14 victory against hapless New Mexico on Saturday night.

After A.J. Butler returned a fumble 27 yards for touchdown to pull the Lobos (0-3, 0-1 Mountain West Conference) within 21-7 to open the third quarter, the Utes (3-0, 2-0 in conference play) responded quickly.

Terrance Cain, who went 20 for 23 for 248 yards and three touchdowns, found Jereme Brooks for a 75-yard score and on New Mexico's next possession, linebacker Matt Martinez went 36 yards with an interception return for a score.

Smith followed with his touchdown and finished with 223 total return yards.

New Mexico played without starting quarterback B.R. Holbrook because of a knee injury. Replacement Brad Gruner went 3 for 8 for 33 yards and ran for 32 yards before leaving with an injury.

Freshman QB Tarean (TAR-ean) Austin showed a glimpse of his ability Saturday against No. 14 Utah. Austin, who had his first real action against the Utes, was 15-of-27 passing for 128 yards. He had his first TD pass in the third quarter when he found Bryant Williams from 18-yards out. Austin also led UNM in rushing vs. Utah with 38 yards including a long run of 14 yards.

New Mexico had three players make their first career starts against Utah. Junior offensive lineman Mike Muniz started at right guard for Mike Cannon and played the entire first half. Junior Brett Kennedy and sophomore Reggie Ellis both started on the defensive line.

UNM hosts UTEP on Oct. 2 at 4 p.m. MDT for homecoming. The game will be shown live on The Mtn. The Lobos lead the all-time series with the Miners, 42-30-3. New Mexico will play its first game against UTEP since 2007 next Saturday.