Stevens: Lobos Look to Dodge The Doege Bullet in Lubbock
Sept. 14, 2012
New Mexico Lobos at Texas Tech -- Lubbock, Texas
When/Where: 5 p.m. (MT), Saturday -- AT&T Stadium
Radio: 770 KKOB-AM, Lobo Radio Network; pregame at 2 p.m.
TV: Fox College Sports
GoLobos.com: GameTracker, Game Story, Stats
By Richard Stevens - Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
In 2011, Texas Tech's Seth Doege provided the Lobos with an avalanche of bulletin board material by basically saying the Tech passing game would have its way with the Lobo secondary.
He was right.
Doege talked the talk and then walked the walk in University Stadium by completing passes at a higher percentage than any college hurler before him (throwing at least 40 passes): 40-of-44, 90.9 percent, 401 yards, five TDs.
The bad news about that 2011 game come Saturday in Lubbock is that Doege was only a junior.
Here's a quick look at Doege proved by UNM's defensive coordinator, Jeff Mills.
Weaknesses? See the above paragraph.
Doege destroyed the Lobos a year ago by hitting quick-strike passes in front of Lobo defenders, who often missed tackles. That quick strike also neutralized the Lobos' pass rush. The Lobos simply didn't have time to get to Doege.
So, what to do? Get tight on the tall and fast Red Raiders receivers and try not to get burned long? Or play loose, make tackles and hope that Tech can't sustain drives?
One key for UNM is to hang with the Red Raiders on the scoreboard. Tech will score. The Lobos need to score, too. The prospect of New Mexico points is encouraging now that it appears quarterback B.R. Holbrook will play. The senior went out early in the second quarter in UNM's 45-0 loss at Texas.
Really, both quarterbacks become huge factors in Jones AT&T Stadium. Holbrook gives UNM a nice run-pass balance and is critical to UNM's offensive attack. Doege is an arm that not too many defenses have been able to stop.
Doege is coming off a 319-yard effort in Tech's 58-10 win over Texas State, which comes to University Stadium on Oct. 6. Doege threw five TDs against the Dennis Franchione Bobcats.
He has 4,949 career yards. Not bad for a QB who ran the Tech scout team in 2008 and threw four passes during the 2010 season.
An obvious key to stopping Doege - and the Tech spread - is to limit receptions. But how? Doege is completing 72.7 percent of his passes in Tech's two wins this season. He has one interception in 66 attempts.
Tech also can run the ball. The Red Raiders spread defenses out with a four-receiver look and create wide gaps by spreading out their big O-linemen. Tech leans more to a one-back formation, but they do have a power game with a two-back look.
The top three Tech backs - Kenny Williams, Eric Stephens and SaDale Foster - average 6.8, 5.5 and 4.6 yards per carry. Doege averages 7.3 yards per carry on his three scrambles.
"They are a fast-break, four wide receiver team that spins it all over the field," said Mills. "They are really good and really talented. They throw it all over the field, but they do a good job mixing it up. They get you spread out throwing the ball and they have large gaps between their linemen that open up the field."
The Lobos up front will have gap responsibility that first looks for a ball carrier. If there is no runner, those Lobo linemen hope their gaps lead to Doege. The Tech runners try to exploit the wide gaps and break tackles. Tech averaged 8.1 yards per carry vs. Texas State.
"They get the ball to good athletes in open space and say, `Hey, try to make a play," said Mills.
The Red Raiders are trying to add a little run-pass balance to their offense and have reinvested in defense - the Raiders' Achilles' Heel in 2011.
Tech hasn't exactly tacked any BCS big boys yet - Northwestern State and Texas State - but the Raiders have some nice defensive numbers.
The Red Raiders probably are looking at the shutout that Texas threw at New Mexico and want to duplicate it.
One thing the Lobos can do to help themselves offensively is to keep number 7 (Doege) and the Tech offense off the field. That's tough to do. Doege can hurt you early and hurt you often.
Looking back at Tech's 59-13 win last year in Albuquerque, Lobo Coach Bob Davie said, "The game was over before you even blinked."