Originally Published: Sep 9, 2009 7:22 PM CDT
Oklahoma Sports Staff Writer
TULSA, Oklahoma -- It was a tale of two teams during the opening week of the college football season. The Tulsa Golden Hurricane was dominating in their 37-13 win over the Tulane Green Wave. Meanwhile the New Mexico Lobos were dominated 41-6 by Texas A&M.
The Golden Hurricane demolished the Lobos 56-14 last year in Tulsa. However, this is a new-look New Mexico team, with a different head coach, as well as a different scheme. TU coach Todd Graham says the Lobos have changed significantly from 2008.
“Their defense is totally different, we basically will have one game to go on,” Graham said. “Before they were a 3-3-5 attacking, blitzing type defense. They are now basing out of a four-man front. They’re completely different on both sides of ball and the kicking game from where they were last year.”
One constant is New Mexico quarterback Donovan Porterie. He is a three-year starter who had his 2008 season ended with a knee injury. But Graham expects him to be back at full strength.
“Quarterback’s the key,” Graham said. “They’re a spread team and like to spread the field. Gets the ball out extremely quick, doesn’t take a lot of sacks. Key for us is to pressure the quarterback upfront and continue to disrupt things.”
Defensive tackle Kendall Briscoe is the only lineman with experience at that position. Even though the Lobos did not register a sack, Graham is expecting a tough battle in the trenches on game day.
“Very, very impressed with their front four,” Graham said. “Very athletic guys up-front, very big, physical. They’re very athletic, on film very impressed with them.”
Less than a half-capacity crowd showed up for the opener at the Superdome. Even with the sub-par showing in their first game, players are expecting a rowdy crowd in Albuquerque.
“They’re a very athletic group,” quarterback G.J. Kinne said. “They’re going to be ready to play and it’s going to be a hostile environment we just have to go out there and execute our plays.”
“New Mexico is going to be inspired,” defensive back Charles Davis said. “We’re ready for a dog fight.”
This game could turn on two special teams standouts. Tulsa’s Damaris Johnson was named Conference USA special teams player of the week after returning a punt 66 yards for a touchdown against Tulane. The Lobos Ian Clark was second in the nation in punt returns a season ago, averaging nearly 20 yards per attempt.
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