October 06, 2018
Link to original story on KOB.com: https://www.kob.com/albuquerque-news/in-battle-of-backup-qbs-unm-dominates-unlv-50-14/5098860/?cat=502
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Talk about a rebound.
A week after losing 52-43 in its Homecoming game to Liberty, the Lobo football team used a massive 29-point second quarter to stun UNLV 50-14 on the road Saturday afternoon and win its conference opener.
With starting quarterback Tevaka Tuioti out for New Mexico, Sheriron Jones stepped up and consistently kept his composure in the pocket, throwing for four scores to as many different receivers. The ground game also contributed three touchdowns of its own for a balanced attack against the Rebels.
The matchup of 2-2 teams stayed scoreless until the second period, when the Lobos’ Zahneer Shuler ran for a one-yard touchdown on 3rd-and-goal. The team never looked back from there, rendering the Rebels’ offense silent until the fourth quarter.
By the time UNLV broke through with a 19-yard touchdown pass from Max Gilliam to Brandon Presley early in the final period, a victory was all but assured for the Lobos. Prior to that score, they led 36-0, and scored a pair of other touchdowns later for good measure.
The scoring barrage by the Lobos was a demonstration in selflessness. Despite New Mexico racking up over 500 yards of offense, no receiver or running back crossed the century mark in yardage. Delane Hart-Johnson caught six passes for 80 yards, while Jones was the team’s leading rusher, tallying 72 yards.
New Mexico’s defense held UNLV back largely by imposing their will on Rebels quarterback Max Gilliam, filling in for the injured Armani Rogers who suffered a torn plantar plate in his foot last week, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Gilliam was sacked by the Lobos five times and also picked off by Evahelotu Tohi. By comparison, New Mexico’s offensive line prevented UNLV’s pass rushers from taking down Jones, and the fill-in passer didn’t throw an interception.
The Lobos dominated the Rebels – who were favored in the matchup – in virtually every facet of the game for their first victory since beating rival New Mexico State in mid-September. Their 10-17 success rate on third downs eclipsed the Rebels’ 3-15 rate, and the Lobos more than doubled their opponents’ numbers in the yardage-per-play category, 6.20 to 2.68.
The Lobos (3-2) continue Mountain West play next Saturday when they take on Colorado State in Fort Collins. They’ll be seeking their first win over the Rams since 2009.