Lo­bos are huge un­der­dogs to an­other 3-6 squad

UNM-Air Force con­test matches two MWC teams in sim­i­lar sit­u­a­tions

Albuquerque Journal - - SPORTS - BY STEVE VIR­GEN AS­SIS­TANT SPORTS ED­I­TOR

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. — New Mex­ico and Air Force are sim­i­lar this sea­son, UNM coach Bob Davie said.

Both teams are 3-6, 1-4 in the Moun­tain West Con­fer­ence.

Both teams have played three quar­ter­backs.

And both coaches have de­clined to give a de­fin­i­tive an­swer for who will start at that po­si­tion when they face off to­day.

Air Force none­the­less was listed as a 13½-point fa­vorite as late as Fri­day.

The Lo­bos want to start se­nior Coltin Ger­hart, and they most likely will, but he is not 100 per­cent. He started last week in UNM’s 31-23 loss to vis­it­ing San Diego State. It was first game back since the sea­son opener, when he suf­fered a sprained foot.

Ger­hart ex­pe­ri­enced a set­back in the game against the Aztecs, but he has prac­ticed this week.

Sher­iron Jones, who has started six games this sea­son, will most likely see some play­ing time against the Fal­cons.

Air Force lists the depth chart at quar­ter­back as Isa­iah San­ders or Don­ald Ham­mond III, the Colorado Springs Gazette re­ported on Tues­day.

Air Force coach Troy Cal­houn wouldn’t say when he would de­cide

on the starter.

Ham­mond nearly led the Fal­cons’ rally in a 17-14 loss to Army, which led 14-0 at half­time.

There are some dif­fer­ences be­tween the teams.

“They have been in their of­fen­sive scheme longer than we have,” Davie said, point­ing out that the Fal­cons re­main in the triple op­tion and the Lo­bos are in their first year in the spread. “Prob­a­bly the dif­fer­ence be­tween us is, quite hon­estly, ev­ery game they’ve lost has been a close game. We’ve had a cou­ple of blowouts. We got blown out by Wis­con­sin and Utah State.”

UNM has won three straight and four of the last five in what none­the­less has been a com­pet­i­tive se­ries.

“I have the ul­ti­mate re­spect for them,” Davie said. “It’s an honor to play them in Colorado Springs.”

It’s been a chal­leng­ing sea­son for the Lo­bos, who have lost four straight. Their of­fense has strug­gled to find a com­fort zone and their de­fense has played be­low ex­pec­ta­tions. In­juries have played a part on both sides of the ball. And, Eva­h­elotu Tohi’s re­cent sus­pen­sion only made mat­ters worse.

Tohi, the team’s lead­ing tack­ler, re­mains on sus­pen­sion and will miss his sec­ond game af­ter he was in­volved in an al­ter­ca­tion with team­mate David Brown on the night of Oct. 27. Brown was left in the hos­pi­tal af­ter tak­ing at least two punches thrown by Tohi, ac­cord­ing to a po­lice re­port.

The Lo­bos’ de­fense stepped up last week, caus­ing three turnovers that were con­verted into 16 points. That was also with­out red­shirt fresh­man safety Mar­cus Hayes, who missed the game be­cause of con­cus­sion symp­toms.

Hayes, who also re­turns punts, is back to­day.

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