It was announced today that running back Teriyon Gipson and linebacker Dakota Cox will miss Saturday’s game at Rutgers due to concussion protocols. Both players are significant losses for New Mexico, as Gipson leads the team in rushing yards and Cox leads the defense in tackles. They are also both seniors and leaders of the team.
Gipson is a senior who has amassed 2,122 rushing yards and averages 6.0 yards per carry for his career. He had back to back 800+ yard seasons the past two years and is averaging 122 yards per game so far in 2016. Gipson has also rushed for four touchdowns already this season, including an 84 yard run for the score. Losing Gipson is a major loss for a program currently 7th in the country in rushing yards.
Gipson will be replaced by junior Richard McQuarley and sophomore Tyrone Owens. Owens has rushed for 124 yards on 4.8 yards per carry in two games this season. He already surpassed his carries and rushing yards from his freshman season. McQuarley has the third most carries on the team and has three touchdowns, but is only averaging 3.7 yards per carry.
The void with Gipson out could also mean more carries for starting quarterback Austin Apodaca, who has rushed for 99 yards on 11 carries this season, while running the triple option offense for the Lobos. The senior signal caller has completed 61.7% of his passes but has only thrown for 287 yards, 2 touchdowns and 1 interception through two games this season. New Mexico has scored 79 points in two games and will need all of those players mentioned to step up this week against Rutgers.
On the other side of the ball, Cox leads the Lobos with 20 tackles and has the only interception for the defense in two games this season. He registered 87 tackles and 3.5 sacks during his junior season that saw New Mexico make a bowl game and finish with a 7-6 record in 2015.
Rutgers started the week as 4 point favorites with Vegas oddsmakers, but the spread has already sprung up to 5.5 points. It’s likely to continue to rise as the week goes on, after the news of these two key players for New Mexico. Regardless, this is an opponent Rutgers must be ready to play against and get the win before the start of Big Ten play the following week.