New Mexico junior quarterback Donovan Porterie seems to be missing his mojo – for the time being.
Porterie, who played an almost perfect game in a 29-27 victory at Arizona last year, is being intercepted, fumbling the ball and having a difficult time adjusting to a bunch of new receivers in 2008.
The Wildcats are hoping Porterie doesn’t find his groove Saturday when they travel to Albuquerque, N.M., to play their final nonleague game of the season at 5 p.m.
“I know their quarterback can throw the football,” UA coach Mike Stoops said. “I saw it with my own two eyes last year.”
The Wildcats wish they could cover their eyes and forget Porterie ever came to town a year ago.
Porterie hit receivers left and right, short and deep, for screens and for touchdowns. Porterie connected on 29 of 41 passes for 327 yards and three touchdowns, including several deep balls against Jim Thorpe Award winning cornerback Antoine Cason and company.
“He probably played the best game of his career against us,” Stoops said. “I don’t know if I have ever seen a guy throw the ball more accurately than that.”
Porterie isn’t the same this season.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pound quarterback had a pair of receivers in Marcus Smith and Travis Brown, who combined for 285 receiving yards against the Wildcats a year ago,who could catch anything, anywhere.
They are gone, and so is Porterie’s touch.
The results have not been pretty as New Mexico is 0-2 with an offense barely averaging 12 points per game.
“The quarterback is always going to be the center of attention,” Porterie said in a phone interview. “I am man enough to take it. I’m not going to point fingers.”
New Mexico coach Rocky Long has made it pretty clear that Porterie has to step it up, saying the Lobos offense has been terrible, and his quarterback has been “average.”
The third-year starter has only 191 passing yards in two games, and is still looking for his first touchdown. He had 11 games a year ago where he passed for more than 190 yards in a game.
Porterie completed 4 of 10 passes for 37 yards before suffering a neck injury in the first half of a 26-3 loss to Texas Christian in the opener.
He was 22 of 35 last week for 154 yards in a 28-22 loss to Texas A&M a week ago.
“I think our quarterback in the second game was trying a little too hard,” Long said. “In the first game he didn’t look like he was ready to play. He looked a little nervous and shocked of the speed of the game. He was trying to make plays that were probably not there. Hopefully he plays better this week.”
New Mexico has struggled so much throwing the ball this year that the coaching staff has talked about simplifying the offense against UA.
The goal is to get Porterie feeling good during the first couple of series. “He was in as good a rhythm as you can get in during our game (in 2007),” Stoops said.
Porterie might be asked to throw shorter, quicker pass routes to start with before using his cannon of an arm as the game develops. “I don’t think coach Long will stray away from the pass,” Porterie said.
UA (2-0) at New Mexico (0-2)
When: 5 p.m. Saturday
Radio: 1290 AM, 107.5 FM
Line: Arizona by 10.5
John Moredich’s e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
PORTERIE ON POINT
New Mexico’s quarterback Donovan Porterie has put up big numbers in the past, but is struggling so far after two games.
Year Games Com
Att Yds TD Int started
2006 5 71/133 967 6 2
2007 13 244/418 3,006 15 9
2008 2 26/45 191 0 3