After a largely strong – but far from perfect – performance in week one against a team projected to finish fifth in their division of the CUSA, the Wisconsin Badgers welcome in a team projected to finish sixth of sixth in their division of the Mountain West for Week 2. The game will be played at 11 a.m. on Big Ten Network.
The New Mexico Lobos – under seventh-year coach and former Notre Dame head-man Bob Davie – come to Madison after a 32-point, Week 1 win. In addition, the Lobos scored 62 points and produced 680 yards of total offense.
Sweet, right? Well, kinda.
The Lobos beat the Incarnate Word Cardinals of the Football Championship Subdivision, 62-30.
Beyond being an FCS school – where some schools have shown the capability to upset FBS teams – New Mexico is a bad FCS school. The Cardinals went 1-10 in 2017 and 3-8 the year before that.
With that context, the Lobos gave up 30 points and 566 total yards of offense. New Mexico’s rush defense gave up 244 yards and 7.2 yards per rush to a team that averaged 2.8 yards per rush last season.
Additionally, the Lobos’ defense gave up those rushing yards to an offensive line that’s largest occupant is 6-foot-6 299-pounds. Fun fact, of the 16 offensive linemen on the Badgers’ roster, two are under 300 pounds, they’re both freshmen and neither are in the two-deep lineup.
That may become a big issue for the Lobos – no pun intended.
While the defense was far from a strong point in Week 1 for New Mexico, its offense did plenty of fun things.
Lobos’ starting quarterback Tevaka Tuioti passed for 327 yards and four touchdowns. He also rushed for 54 yards and another score. In all, Tuioti combined for close to 400 total yards and five touchdowns. Tuioti did throw an interception and lost a fumble, but let’s just blow past that and keep the good vibes going.
The Lobos’ offense is dynamic and unselfish. Eight different players had four or more rushes, and 10 different Lobos caught a Tuioti pass in their first game.
The architect of all of this is actually quite the offensive artisan. His name is Calvin Magee, and for 12 of the last 13 years, he was Rich Rodriguez’ offensive coordinator. Rodriguez is considered one of the earlier coaches to master, then build a career off of, the spread offense.
Magee was with Rodriguez at Arizona, Michigan and West Virginia. Magee was the offensive coordinator of the 2007 Mountaineers’ team that featured a backfield of Pat White and Steve Slaton. That offense was one of the most exciting and explosive units of the millennium.
Long story short, an offense led by a dynamic, dual-threat quarterback, that shares the ball incredibly well and is coached by a coordinator with a strong pedigree, could cause some trouble for a Badgers’ defense that has its share of youth and a lack of overall depth.
Despite some of the quality in the Lobos offense in terms of personnel and coaching, they will most certainly be outclassed by the Badgers on Saturday. A defense that was tested by Incarnate Word will surely be feasted upon by an offense slightly better. For the Badgers, though, this is an opportunity for the Badgers to sharpen up after a less than perfect opening game performance.
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