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Lobos on the Prowl

The University of Hawaii football team plays its first home game of 2020 this Saturday, hosting the New Mexico Lobos. The Lobos were 2-10 last season, and 0-6 on the road. In fact, the last time New Mexico won a road game was Oct. 6, 2018, when they blasted UNLV, 50-14. ESPN Honolulu (92.7 FM/1420 AM) will provide full coverage of the game, starting with the “Countdown to Kickoff” pregame show live from Big City Diner (Windward Mall) at 4:00 p.m. Kickoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m., with Bobby Curran and John Veneri falling the action.

Here are some interesting facts about the UH-New Mexico rivalry and the Lobos team:

♦ Hawaii’s most recent meeting with New Mexico was on Oct. 26, 2019. In Albuquerque, UH prevailed, 45-31. Hawaii QB Cole McDonald passed for 237 yds. and 1 TD. He also rushed for 140 yds. and 2 more scores, including a 76-yd. TD on Hawaii’s opening drive.

♦ Overall, Hawaii leads the series, 15-10. This has been a rivalry of streaks. Before the 2019 game, the Lobos beat Hawaii seven consecutive times. Prior to that, the Rainbow Warriors beat the Lobos nine straight games. During a four-year stretch during that streak (1988-91), Hawaii outscored New Mexico, 183 to 46.

♦ Dick Tomey’s UH head coaching debut was a home game against New Mexico. On Sept. 10, 1977, the favored Lobos defeated Hawaii, 35-26.

♦ UH is currently 1-1 on the season, defeating Fresno State and falling to Wyoming. New Mexico is 0-1 after losing at San Jose State, 38-21. Their season-opening contest against Colorado State was canceled after an outbreak of COVID-19 positives in New Mexico.

♦ Due to New Mexico’s COVID-19 quarantine mandates, the Lobos traveled to Las Vegas to prepare for Saturday’s game against Hawaii. The team used Sam Boyd Stadium as their practice site.

♦ The Lobos are led by redshirt junior QB Tevaka Tuioti. Against SJSU, Tuioti passed for 294 yards, 2 TDs and 1 INT. He also ran the ball 14 times for 93 yds. and another TD. The 6-2, 190-lb. Tuioti is an all-around athlete who played QB, WR, P, KR and PR in high school.

♦ Danny Gonzales is in his first season as the head coach of the Lobos. He spent the two previous seasons as the defensive coordinator for Arizona State. Gonzales has a long history with the New Mexico program. He was a punter and safety for the Lobos from 1994 to 1998. He then served on New Mexico’s coaching staff from 1999 to 2008.

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