Stevens: Long Rolls Out 258 All-Purpose Yards, but Tech Rolls Lobos
Sept. 17, 2011
New Mexico Lobo Football - At University Stadium
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
Is it possible that in the wake of the 59-13 spanking handed out by Texas Tech Saturday that the New Mexico Lobos will find a Mountain West Player of The Week?
Yeah, it's possible. We present Lobo Deon Long. The freshman transfer from West Virginia was a ray of sunshine in a lightning-delayed contest that saw Texas Tech roll out 624 yards in offense and Long roll out 258 all-purpose yards.
Long, helping to fill in a wide gap formed from an injury to Lamaar Thomas, caught three passes for 139 yards, including a 69-yard bomb from quarterback Tarean Austin. Long also ran back six kickoffs for 126 yards. He lost seven yards on an end run.
Long threw out the type of big-play game that Lobo Coach Mike Locksley is expecting from several Lobos, but has yet to see that explosiveness on a consistent basis.
"We weren't able to run or throw consistently," said Locksley. "We missed some open throws early in the game. Somehow, someway, when the opportunities are there for us to make plays, we have to make them. Right now, we aren't getting them done.
"I thought Deon Long played and competed well, but we are still a work in progress."
The Lobos also got solid efforts on defense from their two leading tacklers from 2010 - Carmen Messina and Bubba Forrest, who both were credited with 11 putdowns. DeShon Marman and Dallas Bollema each had eight tackles.
The Red Raiders were a machine in motion for most of the Saturday afternoon at University Stadium. Tech quarterback Seth Doege set an NCAA mark for percentage completing an amazing 40-of-44 passes for 401 yards and five touchdowns.
Doege had his way with the UNM secondary mostly burning that unit with precise passes in front of coverage. His yardage was padded by Tech athletes breaking tackles and Lobo athletes not making tackles.
"They get the ball out quick, said Locksley. " It wasn't like he (Doege) was holding onto the ball and throwing vertical passes. Very few times did he hold on to it and launch the ball down the field.
"Most of their plays were underneath throws and we've got to get 11 guys taking good angles to the football and tackling the ball. That's football 101. We have to find 11 guys on defense who can execute the things we ask them to do."
Said Messina: "It was one of those teams that throw and catch. They were getting the ball off under three seconds and it's tough to get to a quarterback when they are doing that. We knew all their routes and they never went deep on us the whole time. It was all those underneath routes."
Tech ended the game running 85 offensive plays for 624 yards. The Raiders had 178 yards on the ground and 446 yards through the air. UNM had 337 yards with 228 coming off the pass and 109 on the ground.
"Our defense has to learn how to get off the field, too," said Locksley. "Their defense was able to get us off the field. We all have to do our jobs."
Tech got 92 yards rushing from Eric Stephens and Darrin Moore caught nine passes for 118 yards and three touchdowns. Eric Ward caught eight passes for 87 yards and two scores. Austin did not have a good game throwing or running against the Tech defense. He completed 8-of-24 passes for 187 yards. He scampered for 38 yards on 12 carries.
UNM got 62 yards rushing from freshman Crusoe Gongbay. Tech completed passes to 14 receivers. UNM completed passes to five receivers.
Tech took control of the scoreboard early scoring on its first two possessions. Tech led 38-7 at the half. UNM reached the scoreboard in the second quarter on an 80-yard drive that ended with Gongbay going over from two yards out. The big play in that drive was Long pulling down his 69-yard pass.
The game began at 1:38 p.m. and ended at 6:24 p.m. thanks to two weather delays for lightning. The first delay came in the first quarter with Tech up 14-0. Locksley said he did not feel the weather delay had any bearing on the outcome.
"We have to learn to compete even when things aren't going well," said Locksley, whose Lobos dropped to 0-3 on the season. "Some of these young guys have to grow up fast.
"We're going to keep coaching them hard and we're not going to let their youth or their inexperience be an excuse. We'll work through it. We have a great opportunity next week to get a win."
The Lobos play host to Sam Houston State Saturday at 4 p.m.