New Mexico vs. #5 Wisconsin: Game Preview, Kick Time, TV & Radio Schedule
The New Mexico Lobos face their toughest test against the Wisconsin Badgers. Here’s how to watch, and how the Lobos can pull an upset.
Can the Lobos shock a legitimate playoff contender?
WEEK 2: New Mexico Lobos (1-0) vs. #5 Wisconsin Badgers (1-0)
WHEN: Saturday, September 8 — 10:00 AM MT/9:00 AM PT
WHERE: Camp Randall Stadium; Madison, Wisconsin (80,321)
TV: Big Ten Network
STREAMING: FuboTV (free trial)
RADIO: The New Mexico broadcast can be found in and around Albuquerque on KKOB, 770 AM, and elsewhere throughout the state on the Lobos Radio Network, so check local listings.
SERIES RECORD: This will be the first meeting between New Mexico and Wisconsin.
No team in the Mountain West will face a challenge quite like what the New Mexico Lobos are up against on Saturday. Despite beginning 2018 with a resounding victory over Incarnate Word, squaring off with the Wisconsin Badgers is another story entirely.
Paul Chryst’s Badgers came into 2018 with real aspirations of reaching the College Football Playoff, and they began their own campaign with a strong win over Western Kentucky. If the Lobos want to have a chance to win, they’ll need to do everything right and catch a few breaks, but the revamped offense may just give them that opportunity.
Here’s what New Mexico can do to shock the college football world and beat Wisconsin.
Three Keys to a New Mexico Win
Make Alex Hornibrook make plays.
The Badgers, of course, have one of the nation’s best running backs in their backfield, and Jonathan Taylor made life miserable for the Hilltoppers last Saturday. This was especially so on early downs, where Taylor averaged over ten yards per carry on first down.
Assuming that the Lobos can do a better job of slowing Taylor down, it then falls to the secondary to stop one of the nation’s best quarterbacks on third downs. In 2017, Alex Hornibrook had a third-down passer rating of 147.36, and the numbers really only dropped off in the most obvious passing situations. He was also 7-of-10 with six first downs last week against WKU, too, so it’s a tall task but critical to an upset bid.
Tilt the field position game against the Badgers.
Wisconsin owned a fairly significant advantage over Western Kentucky last week by beginning four of their first six drives at their own 35-yard line or better. By contrast, the Hilltoppers began at their own 30 just three times the whole game. It’s hard to pull an upset when your back is continually against the wall.
Tyson Dyer, then, could be a useful weapon to force Wisconsin into more long drives. The Australian punter had just three kicks against Incarnate Word last Saturday, but he averaged 48.7 yards per punt. If the Lobos offense bogs down, Dyer’s big leg will give the defense a fighting chance.
Conversely, a big return or two from Elijah Lilly could provide a useful jumpstart. He only had two returns last week, but one of them was a 40-yard effort and he did have two return touchdowns in 2017.
Get more efficient on early downs.
For all of the fireworks that Tevaka Tuioti created in the passing game last Saturday, one thing the Lobos must do is run the ball better on first down. They averaged 5.33 yards per carry, which in itself is a half-yard lower than what they managed in 2017, but that number drops to 3.57 YPC if you remove Zahneer Shuler’s 67-yard touchdown run.
Quite simply, Tyrone Owens needs to have a better game than he did against UIW. The senior running back got the lion’s share of the rushing workload, but he earned just 2.6 YPC on first-down carries. Wisconsin will feast on the backfield if that happens again.