Air Force at New Mexico: Keys to a Falcons Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction

Air Force at New Mexico: Keys to a Falcons Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction

Air Force

Air Force at New Mexico: Keys to a Falcons Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction

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Air Force at New Mexico: Keys to a Falcons Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction


The Falcons Try to Get on Track in the Division vs. the Lobos


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What should we expect from Air Force at New Mexico?

WEEK 5: United States Air Force Academy (3-1, 0-1 Mountain West) at New Mexico University (2-2, 0-0 Mountain West)

WHEN: Saturday, October 2nd — 4:30 PM MT/3:30 PM PT

WHERE: University Stadium; Albuquerque, NM

TV: FS2

STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes FS2, by following this link.

RADIO: The Air Force broadcast can be found in Colorado Springs on 740 AM (KVOR) or streamed via Air Force All-Access. The New Mexico broadcast will air on 96.3 KKOB (Lobo Radio Network).

SERIES RECORD: Air Force leads the all-time series 24-14, winning the last three meetings.

LAST WEEK: Air Force defeated FAU 31-7, while New Mexico lost at UTEP 20-13.

WEBSITES: GoLobos.com, the official New Mexico athletics website | GoAirForceFalcons.com, the official Air Force athletics website

GAME NOTES (PDF): New Mexico | Air Force

ODDS (as of 9/29, via Caesars Sportsbook): Air Force -10.5

SP+ PROJECTION: Air Force by 11.8

FEI PROJECTION: Air Force by 19

After dominating Florida Atlantic in spectacular fashion, Air Force gets on the road to face a Mountain Division foe in the New Mexico Lobos. While New Mexico is entering their first Conference game, the Falcons are already in the hole at 0-1 in the Division.

Even though the Lobos have all their Conference aspirations before them, a lot of things need to get cleaned up if they expect to finish anywhere but the divisions basement. New Mexico started the season 2-0 with non-convincing victories over Houston Baptist from the FCS, and then New Mexico State a week later.

After pulling out the win by a single point against in state rivals, New Mexico State, the Lobos were handled by Texas A&M before losing by eight to Texas El Paso last week. Admittedly, they were playing UTEP with a lot of contributors out, and quarterback Terry Wilson played while obviously banged up. It’s fair to say, momentum is not on the Lobos sideline.

The Falcons on the other-hand are coming off of the ultimate Jekyll and Hyde performances the prior two weeks, particularly on defense. Against Utah State, the offense was explosive, but made critical turnovers, while the defense looked overwhelmed and unprepared. Fast forward last week, and the offense looked just as primed, but the defense exercised a lot of demons in a very dominating fashion, stifling FAU’s offensive efforts completely.

It’s a new week and a new opponent, so if Air Force doesn’t want to go 0-2 in the Conference, they will need to make sure some of those afflictions from their game against the Aggies do not rear. Some things that will also help get them back in the race for the division with a win at New Mexico are as follows;

Three Keys to an Air Force Victory

1. WIN THE TURNOVER BATTLE

Turnovers are an obvious indicator to success in any given matchup. However, that reality is only magnified in a game versus a team that will need to steal possessions and disrupt the rhythm that Air Force wants to find itself.

The Falcons are the more talented team of the two, but that doesn’t secure victory. In their last two losses, Air Force turned the ball over five times. What probably comes as a surprise, four of those five turnovers in losses were interceptions.

Even if the Falcons don’t force multiple turnovers against the Lobos this year, avoiding committing them will help set the table for a victory.

2. beware the dual threat quarterback

New Mexico hasn’t wowed anyone with their offensive output thus far in 2021. That doesn’t change the fact that Terry Wilson has the potential to do damage with his arm and his legs.

While Wilson was banged up last week against UTEP, he’s listed atop the depth chart to start against the Falcons. If for some reason it’s not Terry Wilson under center, the Lobos backup quarterback Trae Hall is experienced, and also a dual threat.

Improvised scrambles have extended drives against Air Force, and can incorporate a wrinkle that keeps the defense guessing. This becomes less of a concern if a lead is gained over New Mexico, but it’s something to be aware of as the game unfolds.

3. test that 77

The Lobos are currently surrendering 24 points per game under defensive coordinator Rocky Long. And while there aren’t a whole lot of team statistics that jump off the chart, the fact that New Mexico is currently keeping opponents to just 77 rush yards per game stands out.

A lot of that may be attributed to teams finding success through the air. But maybe its a reflection of Long’s ability to fortify a defense. Just because the Lobos are giving up 250 yards through the air, doesn’t mean Air Force should be goaded into chucking the ball.

The offense has shown it is finding its way, in particular their top ranked rushing attack in the country. Make the defense prove their run defense is as stout against the triple option as it was against lesser established running games.

Conclusion

Rocky Long will garner respect as a defensive guru, and rightfully so. However, the talent that he was used to working with in San Diego isn’t there in Albuquerque with him right now. Head coach Danny Gonzales is still trying to find consistency with his team overall, especially with a lot of players in and out of the lineup. None of those things are going to do the Lobos any favors in a matchup with Air Force.

The Falcons have an offense that is engineered by a quarterback who is as confident as he’s ever been. They too aren’t without absences entering this matchup though. Don’t get hung up on the depth chart that was released, there are key players who will be missing on Saturday from both sides of the ball despite being listed as starting.

Thankfully for Air Force, they are more suited to deal with attrition than their opponents on Saturday. On top of that, they have shown the mettle of a team to be reckoned with, despite a letdown against Utah State. The way they rebounded from that loss may be turning point narrative we reflect on at years end.

Too much Falcon offense and not enough of it from the Lobos. Air Force rolls.

Air Force 34, New Mexico 13

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