The New Mexico Lobos have their new starting quarterback. Bob Davie announced on Monday that redshirt sophomore Tevaka Tuioti will be the starting quarterback on Saturday, Sep. 1 at 6 p.m. against Incarnate Word.
The decision was between redshirt senior Coltin Gerhart and Tuitoti after a hamstring injury to junior college transfer Sheriron Jones took him out of the running for week one.
“I think it was close, not to make it more dramatic,” Davie said about the decision. “He has a great knack for staying away from pressure and also being able to throw the football. He’s got a really good knack of knowing when to give ground a little bit and stay away from rushers and still keep his eyes downfield and hit receivers.”
Last season, Tuioti served as the backup to Lamar Jordan and played in eight games for the Lobos, including one start. He completed 57 passes for 705 yards and four touchdowns to go along with 124 yards and a touchdown on the ground.
His most notable moment came in the second half against New Mexico State, when he entered the game with the Lobos down by 25 and threw for 151 yards and two touchdowns in a comeback effort that fell two points short.
For new offensive coordinator Calvin Magee, the decision was primarily about the way that Tuioti is executing the offense.
“He continually got better throughout the summer and then the fall,” Magee said. “He took over as far as the leadership. He’s making all the right reads right now, he’s being a point guard for us and knowing where to put the ball and who to put the ball in the hands of so he’s just a step above in that area right now.”
Tuioti was caught off guard by being named the starter, he said that he hadn’t been thinking about winning the job as much as just going out every day and competing.
“I was very hyped and excited, it was shocking to me,” Tuioti said. “Now I just got to keep it rolling.”
The decision was well received by the rest of the team, with the other players yelling and cheering for him after learning the news before practice started on Monday morning.
Davie said that Gerhart will still see the field in certain situations, such as if the Lobos are winning or losing by a big margin or in case of an injury. However, he said on Saturday that the team will not rotate quarterbacks like it has in years past.
Cameron Goeldner is a sports beat reporter and photographer for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer, women’s basketball, softball and the Albuquerque Isotopes, but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.