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New look for offense wins their first game of the season

The University of New Mexico’s football team defeated the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles 56-10. It was the home debut of the new offense led by Bryant Vincent at offensive coordinator and Dylan Hopkins at quarterback – both transfers from the University of Alabama, Birmingham.

The Golden Eagles play in the Ohio Valley Conference in Football Conference Subdivision. They haven’t had a winning season since 2011. There were 17,279 fans in attendance, which is the most in a home opener since 2018.

The Lobos offense was able to run and throw the ball efficiently, earning 296 rushing yards and 291 passing yards.

Of those rushing yards, 162 came from Jacory Croskey-Merritt who averaged 13.5 yards on 12 carries. He also scored three touchdowns on a 48, 1 and 55 yard run.

After the game, Croskey-Merritt was asked how he felt about his performance and he credited the offensive line but is already looking ahead to the next game.

‘‘It feels amazing. I want to thank the guy up front and I’m just looking forward to winning a lot more,’’ Croskey-Merritt said.

UNM had four touchdown passes to four different receivers in the game; they already passed their 2022 season where they scored three passing touchdowns total last year – a good sign for the offense.

Those four passing touchdowns from Hopkins are tied for the second most in school history. In the game he went 13-17 with one interception.

After the game, Hopkins also credited the offensive line and was pleased with the entire offense’s performance.

‘‘I feel really good about tonight’s game. That time I threw Luke that touchdown, I could have sat back there all day,’’ Hopkins said. ”Leaving the game, (I felt) really proud of what we did out front.”

Luke Drzewiecki went a perfect 8 for 8 on extra points in the game, beating his perfect 6 for 6 for the entirety of last season.

The Lobos 21 third quarter points passed their 2022 campaign last season where they scored 19 points in all third quarters combined.

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The defense also had a good outing; they forced two fumbles in the game. After giving up a touchdown early, they locked in the second half, only giving up 76 yards.

Syaire Riley led the team in tackles with 8. Afterwards, he said that this game gives the team something to build off of.

‘‘We haven’t been our best version of ourselves, so coming out tonight with all the transfers that we have — all the new coaches — we wanted to show that this year is going to be different … It was nice for us to put all the points on the board to show all the fans in the state that we’re the flagship university in this state, and it’s going to stay that way,’’ Riley said.

Head coach Danny Gonzalez started his post game press conference by explaining the turquoise on the coach’s hats and on the players’ socks.

‘‘In our community, the Native American culture and Indigenous people are a big deal, and representing any kind of honor we can to them is a big emphasis,’’ Gonzalez said.

Gonzales then went on to talk about the team’s culture this season.

‘‘These guys work 43 out of the 52 weeks in the year for 12 guaranteed opportunities. The lack of success that we’ve had around here – obviously our attitude and our guys’ attitude listening to Bill, and Sy, and Dylan and all those guys talk – their belief is different, which gives us the opportunity to be a competitive and good team.”

The team is ready to take on a greater challenge with everyone in their press conference, alluding to next week where they are taking on New Mexico State on Sept. 16 in Albuquerque. NMSU will be coming off of a 33-17 loss to Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @thomasbulger10

Thomas Bulger

 Thomas Bulger is the sports editor for the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at or on Twitter @thomasbulger10 

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