The UNM and Texas State football teams aren’t mirror images of each other, but the two are similar and familiar in multiple ways.
The Lobos welcome the Bobcats to University Stadium on Saturday in a match that features slight variations of the triple option offense and five coaches — including former UNM head coach Dennis Franchione — who have worked with both the Lobos and Bobcats.
Former Texas State head coach and current Lobo offensive coordinator Bob DeBesse said the parallels between the teams are distinct.
“This is a special one in many ways because of the relationships,” he said. “It’s kind of more about that (the relationships) than the institution.”
The Lobos (2-3, 0-1 MWC) are coming off a gut-wrenching 32-29 home loss to then No. 24 Boise State, while the Bobcats (2-2, 0-0 WAC) lost to new MWC foe Nevada 34-21.
UNM’s rushing attack has been the more effective of the two, ranking No. 9 in the nation with a 252.6 yards per game average, and has three 200-yard rushers in freshman quarterback Cole Gautsche (40 attempts, 260 yards), junior running back Kasey Carrier (55 carries, 278 yards) and freshman running back Jhurell Pressley (50 touches, 222 yards). Texas State ranks No. 94, averaging 150.8 yards per game, and only has two players over the century mark on the season in running back Marcus Curry and quarterback Shaun Rutherford.
First-year UNM head coach Bob Davie said the offensive line deserves the bulk of the credit because the team came into the season with only eight available linemen.
“They’re getting better as a unit, and that’s encouraging to see because they’ve come so far,” he said.
The Lobos have rushed for 1,269 yards and 13 rushing touchdowns so far this season. They rushed for 1,358 yards and 10 touchdowns the entire 2011 season.
DeBesse said the ground game might face a bump or two because the Bobcats defense is acclimated to the triple option.
“For the first time all year, we’re facing a team that has tremendous familiarity with what we do,” he said. “It’s hard sometimes for opponents to simulate our offense in a week’s time with a scout team. It’s going to come down to who executes who, because we’re not going to fool them; we’re going to earn everything we get.”
Defensively, the Lobos have given up 460.2 total yards per game and senior linebacker Dallas Bollema said the defense won’t have a problem defending the option.
“We know it’s going to be down in the trenches and down in the front,” Bollema said. “It definitely is beneficial that they run an offense similar to our offense, and our offense has given us a full tempo look; it’s a gap-sound defense when you’re playing the option.”
Davie said Texas State’s offensive execution is the biggest concern for the Lobos.
“You’re going to see a faster tempo of what we do,” he said. “They have a quarterback (Rutherford) who can run and pass. From an offensive point of view, they are further ahead of us.”
Football vs. Texas State