A new offensive dynamic presented itself during New Mexico’s 58-23 loss to No. 17 Arizona State.
Redshirt freshman Lamar Jordan not only fit well with UNM’s run-heavy offensive scheme, but the quarterback showed poise on several occasions when dropping back to pass.
“Lamar Jordan came in for the first time playing and at least showed you guys a little bit about what we’ve seen from him,” head coach Bob Davie said. “He’s got four years of football left. I think he can be a good player.”
Jordan received his opportunity to take snaps after Clayton Mitchem fumbled the ball in Lobo territory, assisting ASU’s jump to a 15-0 lead.
The first series Jordan commanded was a forgettable one as he also put the ball on the ground, springing ASU to a 22-0 lead.
“I was just doing too much,” Jordan said. “It was my fault. I messed up on the fumble. I take that all on me.”
Despite Jordan’s fumble, Davie showed confidence in his young quarterback by sending the freshman right back out to control the offense.
“He’s not going to go in the tank,” Davie said. “He’s going to bounce back and he’s going to continue to compete.”
Davie’s decision to leave the redshirt freshman on the field worked out. On the ensuing drive, the Lobos scored a touchdown behind the usual fashion of utilizing the option run.
Down 29-7 in the second quarter, UNM shook things up with a play-action pass to start the drive. Jordan threw a 44-yard bomb to Tyler Duncan for Jordan’s first career completion. Later, Jordan connected with Teriyon Gipson for a 32-yard touchdown pass, putting the Lobos behind 29-14.
Jordan said he doesn’t think abandoning the option read offense is going to happen, even though he adds a threat of attacking opponents through the air.
“I still think the game plan to run heavy is great,” Jordan said. “We need to execute better as an offense to get it done.”
While the quarterback showed signs of immaturity, being able to throw the ball in a third-and-long situation is a luxury that New Mexico has not had. Davie said that he was impressed by Jordan’s ability to excel in third-down situations.
“We had some big third-down conversions, throwing the football,” Davie said. “He can throw. He’s a dual threat guy without any doubt.”
Jordan proved his threat potential by going 7 for 11 through the air, tacking on 130 yards with a touchdown. Jordan picked up 32 yards on the ground on 12 carries.
“I grade myself probably a C,” Jordan said. “I am a horrible critique on myself. I just didn’t feel like I did as well.”
Jordan will be listed as the second quarterback on the depth chart, Davie said, and the Lobos will have to consider the double threat that the freshman has to offer.
Although UNM had three turnovers on the day, Jordan’s confidence has boosted from getting some collegiate experience, he said.
“It helped a lot, getting that (first game) under my belt,” he said. “I still wanted to win. I still feel like I lost and I did too much out there.”
Liam Cary-Eaves is a sports reporter for the Daily Lobo. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @Liam_CE.