Note: For 11 straight days, I’ll post a brief team preview for each school in the Mountain West (except Boise State). I’m going in reverse order of predicted finish. I started with the West Division. Now it’s the Mountain Division’s turn.
NEW MEXICO LOBOS
Coach: Bob Davie
Record: 7-18 (two seasons), 42-43 overall (seven seasons)
Last year: 3-9 overall, 1-7 MW
Last bowl: 2007 New Mexico (W, 23-0 over Nevada)
Returning starters: 7/6/0 (offense/defense/specialists)
Story line: The Lobos have shown offensive punch with their unique style — they finished fourth in the nation in rushing last year — but the abysmal defense is holding them back. They allowed 516.6 yards per game and 42.8 points per game last season.
Star player: Junior quarterback Cole Gautsche (6-foot-4, 234 pounds) is the engine for the Lobos’ triple-option offense — when he’s healthy. He only played nine games last season. He finished with 777 rushing yards, 639 passing yards and 15 total touchdowns. “I like to tell him he’s a tight end playing quarterback who just doesn’t realize it,” linebacker Dakota Cox said. “But he brings a great aspect to the offense. It’s hard to see if he’s going to try to truck you or juke you or turn around and pitch it.”
Quotable: “They’re going to take some hits and take some shots. That’s why we’re going to keep bringing them in.” — Davie, who has six quarterbacks on the roster for his option rushing attack
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