Stevens: Lobos Look To Snap TCU's 19-game MW Win Streak
Oct. 17, 2011
New Mexico Lobos Football - On The Mountain West Road
Who: New Mexico Lobos at TCU Horned Frogs
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
It might not be good news playing at TCU anytime of the season, but at least the Horned Frogs are only the second-best team remaining on the Lobos' schedule. UNM saves the best for last - Boise State - on Dec. 3 at Boise.
Still, it obviously is a daunting task for the winless Lobos to stroll into TCU territory and try to snap the Frogs' record of 19 straight Mountain West wins.
It gets worse: TCU has won 22 of 23 games at home, but are on a 0-1 skid - and not happy about it!
It gets worse: TCU is coming off a bye week and the Frogs are rested, healthier and eager to jump on somebody.
If you are looking for any kind of promising material to post on a Lobo bulletin board this week, it might be that the TCU defense isn't the same terrorizing group that has been wreaking havoc on Mountain West offenses the past few years.
The Frogs, about to jump to the Big 12, gave up 50 points to Baylor and 40 points to SMU - both losses that you know are still stuck in the craw of TCU head man Gary Patterson, a coach who loves his defense.
The bad news for UNM is TCU hammered down the potent Air Force wishbone 35-19 and crunched the Ryan Lindley-led San Diego State offense, 27-14. TCU might not be as complete a team as its Rose Bowl team from last season, but these Frogs still come with nasty teeth on both sides of the football. Consider:
The TCU Frogs are a good program on a good roll. They rolled into San Diego and rolled out 446 yards (with four turnovers) against a decent SDSU defense. The Lobo defense has not come close to approaching the "decent" category since UNM's season-opening 14-10 loss to Colorado State.
In their past five games, UNM has given up almost 600 yards per game. Nevada kicked out 598 yards on UNM in the Wolf Pack's 49-7 beating.
Obviously, the Lobos need to turn a few miracles - and make a few stops - on defense. They also need to quit falling into such huge holes - holes almost insurmountable for a 0-6 UNM team that looks extremely fragile when standing in a hole. UNM fell behind New Mexico State 21-0 in the first quarter and did the same thing at Nevada.
NEW MEXICO LOBOS 2011 FOOTBALL TV/RADIO SCHEDULE
The Lobos definitely aren't expected to pull the upset at TCU and the Horned Frogs might be looking to make a huge statement on the scoreboard to convince folks (bowl folks?) that they are better than their 4-2 record might suggest.
Still, if TCU decides to lean on its running game vs. the Lobos, the visitors might be able to hang around - if they can get some spark into their offense.
"We just have to find a way to get a spark at the beginning," said Lobo interim head coach, George Barlow. "It's hard to play catch-up when you aren't playing with a whole lot of confidence."
There isn't any reason the Frogs to think they can't run on UNM. Nevada ran for 338 yards vs. UNM. TCU ran for 234 yards at SDSU. TCU's top three backs - Waymon James, Matthew Tucker and Ed Wesley - average 7.8, 4.7 and 6.7 yards per carry.
There also isn't any reason for the Frogs to think they can't pass on UNM. Quarterback Casey Pachall is on pace to set TCU single-season marks for completions, attempts, completion percentage and touchdown passes. And going into the season, the quarterback spot was a semi-question mark for the Frogs looking to replace Andy Dalton.
Pachall has completed 69 percent of his passes (118-of-171) with 15 TDs and four interceptions. Pachall also has a favorite target in Josh Boyce, who is on pace to set TCU single-season marks in receptions and yards. He has 37 grabs for 580 yards and five scores.
The Frogs led the nation in total defense that past three years and it's unlikely they will defend that title. Still, this is a mean defense and with 12 Frog defenders seeing their first collegiate start this season, it is a defense that appears to be getting better.
In fact, TCU might have had a breakthrough game at SDSU when the Frogs held Aztec Ronnie Hillman (138.8 average) to 55 yards and held SDSU to 90 yards rushing. TCU also had three interceptions in that game.