Colorado State vs. New Mexico: Keys For A Lobos Win
Lobos looking for a Mountain West win
Both the Lobos and Rams are two teams hungry for a win at this time of year.
WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday
WHERE: Dreamstyle Stadium; Albuquerque, New Mexico
TV: CBS Sports Network
STEAMING: FuboTV – Get a seven-day free trial
SPREAD: Colorado State (-4)
Colorado State comes into Albuquerque with an overall record of 1-5 and 0-2 conference record in the Mountain West and riding a 10-game losing streak against FBS competition. That last victory against an FBS team was against this very same New Mexico team.
With the Rams and its 1-5 record, looks can be deceiving as they have played a fairly tough schedule playing in-state rival Pac-12 Colorado, then a win at Western Illinois, then they faced Arkansas, Toledo, and the conference frontrunners in Utah State and San Diego State.
The Rams have been close in its losses of late by losing be fewer than two touchdowns in the last three weeks. Their achilles heels this year, like the Lobos, has been turnovers where Colorado State is -10 on the year.
The Lobos strength of schedule, not quite as strong except the road game against Notre Dame, where the Lobos lost 66-14. New Mexico’s other losses have come against Liberty and San Jose State, its wins are against in-state rival New Mexico State and their first game Sam Houston State.
This week the Lobos and Rams both find themselves in a very similar situation as far as how the year has gone.
Not a lot of wins between the two teams and challenges at the quarterback position have been glaring. The Lobos have been rotating quarterbacks and the Rams have had to go to backups due to injuries.
Colorado State head coach Mike Bob has not yet decided on who will start at quarterback against the Lobos, Patrick O’Brien, or Justice McCoy and will base his decision on practice this week.
Collin Hill was the starting quarterback and was ranked among the nation’s leading passers before suffering a torn ACL in his left knee during a 55-34 loss Sept. 14 at Arkansas.
O’Brien has started ever since Hill’s injury but apparently, he is not sold on him being the guy.
Bobo said both quarterbacks have similar skill sets, so the game plan will be the same, regardless of who wins the starting job.
“I’m looking at consistency, doing what we ask them to do in practice, and hopefully that will carry over to the game,” Bobo said Monday. “I’m not looking to draw it out this week, but we could go into the game playing more than one guy. I don’t know.
“We’re going to do whatever we feel will give us the best chance to win. Could be one, could be two guys. Could be running the ball three straight times and punt. I don’t know; we’ll see.”
New Mexicos head coach Bob Davie is in a pretty similar situation on who will start this week. Two weeks ago, Tevaka Tuioti looked like a rockstar putting up big numbers against New Mexico State. The last two games, not so much.
He was pulled last week against San Jose State in the first half and replaced by Sheriron Jones.
As much as Jones provided a badly needed spark and he showed it against San Jose State as he ran for 104 yards and one touchdown. He also threw two touchdown passes but also finished with three interceptions.
Coach Davie has also not decided who will start against the Rams, Tuioti or Jones and all signs point to a game-time decision.
Last week against San Jose State, Tuioti had to be pulled in the first half Tuioti as he just 4 of 10 for 34 yards and one interception before Coach Davie made the change Friday night in the second quarter.
Davie, in his press conference this week said, “As good as San Jose played, we had no chance with, no rhythm, no consistency, and we are trying to fix it on offense.
“On defense, we have some very young guys, and JC guys who were not here during spring & they got burnt on some big pass plays.”
New Mexico is hoping to improve on a defense that has allowed an average of 39.6 points per game.
The Lobo defense has improved despite giving up some big plays, Davie admitted that some of these big plays were JC guys were not in spring practice but showed up in the fall.
Where the Lobos being glaringly weak is the pass defense giving up 386 yards on average, the most allowed per game in the nation, ranking them dead last, 130th in FBS passing yards allowed.
The Rams are not much better with being the eighth worst team in the nation, allowing 23 touchdowns this season alone.
“CSU and our team are in similar situations. They lost at home and trying to rebound, and we lost on the road and trying to rebound,” Davie commented at his midweek chat with the media. “Both staffs are hungry for a win, the bottom line is we did not win as good as we hoped, and we got to get better.”
The Lobos have yet to win a single game against Colorado State in the last four matchups, going 0-4 since 2015.
So, the bottom line between these two teams is both having extremely challenging seasons, choosing right quarterback who gives them the best chance to win and defenses who are statistically as far as numbers giving up either passing yards (UNM) and touchdowns (CSU)
Having watched these teams for over 20 years as a Lobo Dad, (my son played for UNM) and Rocky’s Long team Chaplain, this is a great rivalry filled with lots of drama and excitement when they play, no matter what the records are.