The Red Raiders ended the non-conference portion of their schedule undefeated on Saturday night, defeating New Mexico 49-14. Head football coach Tommy Tuberville was pleased with his team's victory and felt the offensive and defensive lines took control.
"Very good night. There's not a lot of good you can't say about tonight other than we were a little sloppy in the kicking game, but we pretty much dominated on both sides of the ball on the offensive and defensive line," he said. "It's a tremendous improvement in the first three games from what we saw last year."
Reynolds injures his knee
Redshirt freshman cornerback Jeremy Reynolds suffered a knee injury on kick-off coverage against the Lobos. Tuberville said the extent of the injury is not yet known, but it looks like Reynolds may be sidelined for a while.
"Looks like Jeremy Reynolds hurt his knee. We won't speculate. Doesn't look good. We'll have to wait to see tomorrow after the MRI. Got a few other guys beat up, nothing serious."
Doege has first 6 TD game of his career
Senior quarterback Seth Doege had an absolutely monster game against New Mexico on Saturday, going 27-35 for 340 yards and six touchdowns, the most passing touchdowns in a single game in Doege's career. Tuberville has been extremely pleased with his senior signal caller, and he feels the proof is in the pudding against the Lobos.
"The thing that is exciting about him is everybody thinks you can throw it easy at some of these teams, but you put your backup quarterback in and it doesn't work. It takes going through your reads, it takes having experience, understanding the routes, understanding and being able to feel the pressure, being able to get the right play."
Tuberville also thinks he's turned into the veteran that you hope every quarterback eventually becomes.
"He's matured. He's thrown some good balls. He's a guy that's taken charge of the offense. He's a tremendous leader. Players respect him, and that's the main thing. They understand he can score. They react to Seth." Doege was happy with his performance as well, but he accredited his night to the play of the guys around him.
"It was a lot of fun. I think it's just a tribute to the entire offense, cause like I said, the entire offensive line did a great job protecting, the receivers ran really good routes and made plays on the ball. Overall we executed very well. "
Ward catches three TDs
Junior receiver Eric Ward had his best night of the young season on Saturday, amassing 90 yards and three touchdowns on five receptions.
Tuberville loves the physicality that Ward brings to the table and felt he had a great game.
"I don't know how many balls he caught, but he played well. He's a physical guy. He plays well with the run and pass," he said. "He likes to play with the run and blocking down the field as much as he does catching the ball."
Tubs scolded the receiver a little bit as well. Ward, who drew a personal foul penalty after scoring his first touchdown, sat for the remainder of the first quarter as punishment.
"Got a 15 yard penalty. I took him out after that for a quarter, as I do for all of them now," he said. "I think hopefully these guys learn a lesson. We can't afford to be kicking off from the 20 yard line against most of these teams we're getting ready to play."
Doege also liked the way that his favorite target from 2011 played. He felt the New Mexico defense gave the duo a few good looks, and they definitely took advantage.
"It's just one of those things that the defense gave us. They showed us a look that we could go in that direction. He made a lot of plays. He did a really good job of getting open and catching the ball. Like I said, he made a lot of plays. I was excited for him."
Ward put it very simply: He was just doing what he's been coached to do.
"I'm just running my routes like Coach Brown tells us to. Run the routes as hard as you can. Expect the ball, and that's what I was just doing."
Kaufman pleased with defense
The Red Raider defense played extremely well for the third week in a row, only allowing 107 yards rushing and 127 yards total. Defensive coordinator Art Kaufman liked the way his defense continued to improve and felt that, despite the long touchdown series, his unit performed well again.
"Goin back and looking at this game, I thought we came out focused and were able to get ourselves off the field. We talked about getting off the field on third down."
The Lobos scored their only offensive touchdown of the game on a long, drawn out 17 play drive, and Kaufman said it was due to a few new wrinkles in the Lobos offense. The D came over to the sidelines after the series and seemingly worked things out.
"They changed up some schemes and formation things that they hadn't done. We tried to make some adjustments after that drive," he said. "We came down after that drive over to the sideline and made some adjustments of what we had to do and how we had to fit up the run game. I thought our guys did a good job of making third down adjustments."
Kaufman was also pleased with the play of veteran defensive tackle Kerry Hyder. While not flashy in the stats department, the DC said that Hyder was flat out getting it done.
"I thought he really did. Kerry had a great camp, and in every game he's really played well. His stats may not be that good, but what it is, he's the one that's causing other people to make plays cause he's so disruptive in there."
Starting middle linebacker Will Smith was happy with the way the D took another step. He felt the defense came out and accomplished what they wanted to and played great technique.
"Every week we're just setting new standards for ourselves. When the sudden change happens, you've got to be ready to step up to the plate. Other than that, you've just got to take care of assignment football, especially against option teams, and that's what we did tonight," he said. "As a team we did what we wanted to do."
Brown happy with offensive execution
Offensive coordinator Neal Brown was very happy with the way his first team offense played throughout the night. The offense went bonkers, dishing out 702 yards of defense against the Lobos.
"I'm obviously very pleased with how our first group played. They practiced and prepared very, very well all week, and they've done that for three weeks. I'm very proud of that. We're where we need to be through three games. We took care of business."
The most impressive statistic from the night? 325 rushing yards. Both Kenny Williams and Eric Stephens ran for over 100, and Brown thought the running backs played great as a whole.
"They did well. We've got to quit putting it on the ground. Kenny put it on the ground. I think we had 325 rushing, so we'll definitely take that. They did very well," he said. "My expectation is very high for that group. So is Coach Scott. The thing I liked tonight was that they made people miss. If they didn't make them miss, then they punched them on contact."