New Mexico vs. Hawaii: Warriors Look to Stop Slide at Home Against the Lobos
"Kids are young, people are very resilient. We're going to get it back going. Now is it going to be next week? Is it going to be next month? Is it going to be six months? I don't know, but we're going to get this thing going.”—head coach Norm Chow, in his Oct. 8 press conference (UH Athletics YouTube channel).
In his Oct. 8 press conference following the loss to San Diego State, head coach Norm Chow enumerated the problems with his team. The loss was particularly difficult following on the heels of a 47-0 loss at the hands of BYU. At 1-4, the Warriors need to find solutions to the problems plaguing their team, but a return to Oahu affords them the opportunity to gain their footing again and make something of the season.
This week sees the New Mexico Lobos (3-3) fly into Hawaii for the first time in 14 years. It is the 22nd meeting between the two teams, where Hawaii holds the edge in the series, 14-7. The game takes on more significance due to the fact that it is a Mountain West game, affording the Warriors an opportunity to improve not only their record, but their conference standing as well.
New Mexico head coach Bob Davie has an impressive résumé, and has brought a new discipline and stability to the Lobos' program. UNM had previously been on a three-year probation, and due to that, the team saw the slow exodus of scholarship players. Currently, the 2012 roster has returned to a high of 75 scholarship players.
Davie's new discipline extends to the field, as well. Nationally, the Lobos are currently averaging the fewest penalty yards at just 37.2 per game.
The big improvement for the Lobos this season is the running game, which is currently averaging 271.7 yards per game. After six games, New Mexico has rushed for 1,680 yards, where they had a total of 1,358 yards for all of 2011. Similarly, their 18 rushing touchdowns has already eclipsed last year's season total of 10. The Lobos rank No. 8 in the country in rushing offense, yet just No. 124 in passing.
Unquestionably, the Warriors will look to play a tough run defense and force the Lobos to beat them through the air. Senior quarterback B.R. Holbrook is 36-for-60 for 277 yards on the season, with just one touchdown.
For the Warriors, freshman Will Gregory provides the power on the ground with 351 yards rushing and two touchdowns. The Warriors have played from behind for most of the season, where opposing defenses can simply release an all-out rush while ignoring the run. For that reason, junior quarterback Sean Schroeder's numbers have been subpar, with just 812 passing yards and seven touchdowns.
The Warriors are coming off a 52-14 loss to San Diego State where they could scratch out just 12 first downs and 61 yards rushing while committing three turnovers. "We need to be better," said Chow in his press conference (UH Athletics YouTube channel). "We can't make dumb mistakes like we're making."
Hawaii is 1-1 this season at home, and a bid to a bowl game is still a possibility if they can start winning. However, Norm Chow knows that the current slide needs to stop now, and the team needs to put together a solid effort to beat the Lobos.
"The effort's there, and we're going to keep on trying," declared Chow (UH Athletics YouTube channel) about his Warriors. "It's going to take every ounce of energy from the coaching staff and we intend to do that."
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