New Mexico vs. Wyoming: Game Preview, How To Watch, Predictions
Keys for a Lobos win over the Cowboys
WEEK 8: New Mexico Lobos (2-5, 0-3 Mountain West) vs. Wyoming Cowboys (4-2, 0-2 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, October 23 — 3:30 p.m. EST, 1:30 MST
WHERE: Jonah Field at War Memorial Stadium (29,181)
TV: Stadium: Chris Vosters (Play-by-play) and Sed Bonner (Color Analyst)
RADIO: 77KOB 96.3 Lobo Sports Radio Network
SERIES RECORD: Wyoming leads series 39-34
LAST WEEK: Lobos lost to CSU 36-7; Cowboys lost to Fresno State 17-0
ODDS: Wyoming 20 points
OVER/UNDER: 41 points
The UNM Lobos (2-5, 0-3 MWC head to Laramie to take on the Wyoming Cowboys (4-2, 0-2 MWC) this Saturday at Jonah Field at War Memorial for this MW matchup.
Wyoming and New Mexico are meeting for the 23rd consecutive season since both became founding members of the Mountain West Conference in 1999
The Lobos defeated the Cowboys in last year’s matchup 17-16 in thrilling fashion as freshman 5th string QB Isaiah Chavez hit a wide-open Bobby Cole with 6:22 left in the 4th quarter stunning the Pokes.
Chavez was a 5th string Quarterback and became the first freshman walk-on to start a game at quarterback for New Mexico
Much like last year’s game between the UNM Lobos and the Wyoming Cowboys, the Lobos were on a five-game losing streak this year as they get ready to head to Laramie.
Danny Gonzales said at his presser that he is impressed with the Cowboys as a team: “They play the game the right way,” said Gonzales. “They play hard, they play physical, and they play through the whistle. They are the team we are trying to be in terms of that type of toughness.”
The Lobos hope to spoil the Cowboy’s 96th homecoming game in what looks to be a beautiful day for football in Laramie at War Memorial.
One streak the Lobos are hoping to end is 16 games losing streak on the road, the longest in the nation at this point.
To do so, the Lobos must find a way to right the ship, sort of speak in the offensive game.
“I’m really disappointed in what we are doing on offense, production-wise,” said Gonzales. “Sixty-nine yards is horrendous. So, we have to get back to the fundamentals of blocking people and running the football. We are not good enough of defense yet to have to hold people to nothing to win, and the last two weeks we would have had to do that.”
An injury to starting quarterback Terry Wilson has limited him to just watching practice, and former quarterback Trae Hall has moved to receiver, in part to fill in for Mannie Logan-Greene, who is still out with a sternum injury.
The Lobos have been heavy with freshmen, and they have started 11 freshmen at some point, eight of them being true Freshmen.
If Danny Gonzales goes with Chavez at Quarterback, he would make 12 freshman starters for the Lobos.
Three Steps to a Lobo Victory
1. Get the offense going!
This Derek Warehime Lobos offense that had just sixty-nine yards total yards last week against CSU has got to be a low point for the Lobos, but the reality is it has now become an awful pattern.
Last week CSU Rams on defense against the Lobos had six quarterback sacks, eight tackles for loss, three turnovers, and held the Lobos to just 1.2 yards per snap, that isn’t very good, and Coach Gonzales agrees.
Offensive Line Coach Jason Lenzmeier has got to get this offensive line going for the Lobo’s talented running backs, Bobby Cole and Aaron Dumas, to be able to find some big holes to run through against a very physical Cowboys Defense.
Some bright spots for the Lobo offense have been its running backs when able to get holes to run through.
Aaron Dumas carried the ball 14 times, finishing with 68 yards and 4.9 yards per carry. He seems to be getting better and better as he gets used to the game’s speed being a freshman.
Bobby Cole had 35 yards on just nine carries, and Trae Hall, the converted QB to slot receiver for the Lobos, continues with positive yards for the offense.
Mannie Logan Green continues to be out for the Lobos with an injury, he was a big play maker for this offense and special teams.
Of course, another big bright spot has been true freshman Luke Wysong as he continues to make big plays as a receiver, kickoff return, and punt return for the Lobos.
Wysong played for local Rio Rancho powerhouse Cleveland HS, coached by head coach Heath Ridenour and showed why he was the Gatorade Player of the year, both Football and Track in New Mexico senior year.
He received a punt at his own 37-yard line, scampered for a 67-yard touchdown for the Lobos. This kid can flat out play with his speed, ability to catch footballs and make plays.
2. Play Solid Defense
One bright spot for the Lobos is this Rocky Long Defense, as they are having a solid year considering the struggling Lobo offense.
In this case, if you look at the scores of opposing offenses, numbers can be a little deceiving.
This Lobo defense has been carrying much of the Load throughout the game, with the absence of the offense being on the field for very long during the games.
They are ranked 86th in the nation in scoring defense, 68 in sacks per game, and 56 in interceptions per game, and both are solid in the Mountain West Conference.
They have a trio of tacklers who continue to put up good numbers for Coach Long’s defense.
Last year’s first-team All-Conference defensive player Jerrick Reed leads the team with 60 tackles, and Tavian Combs is right behind at 56.
Joey Noble rounds out these three with 48 tackles and has added five sacks, Reed has an interception and Combs has two interceptions.
If you watch the history of Rock Long defenses, they tend to get better as the season progresses and players stay healthy.
The ability to make big plays has been a hallmark for Coach Long’s defense; make no mistake about it, he gets a lot of mileage out of the limited talent on the Lobo roster.
UNM has struggled in the last three games; the Lobos have gotten just one takeaway, that being a strip, scoop, and score by Ray Leutele against San Diego State.
The Cowboys are coming off a five-turnover game against Fresno State in a 17-0 loss so that will be something to watch against this very aggressive Rocky Long defense.
3. Play Smart football on the road
I have enjoyed watching the Lobo football team compete under many head coaches from Dennis Franchione, Rocky Long, Mike Locksley, Bob Davie, and now Danny Gonzales.
I have seen teams that can stay in the game mentally and not beat themselves by dumb penalties. If you are limited with lots of talent on the roster, you must play within the rules and stay mentally to win games.
I once had former Lobo head coach Dennis Franchione’s son Brad, who also coached, tell me something that has stuck with me, and I knew it was his dad’s opinion.
“Smart teams or coaches win football games.”
As physical and emotional as the college football game is, there is a huge element of mental capacity to stay in the game or have situational awareness as the game progresses
The bottom line is that the Lobos need to play brilliant football to allow themselves to come away with a victory in Laramie.
Wyoming is tied for No. 3 in the nation in defensive touchdowns scored (3), ranks No. 7 in the NCAA in fewest passing yards allowed per game (158.7), is No. 13 in pass defense efficiency (108.56), and ranks No. 29 in total defense, allowing opponents only 319.8 yards per game.
With the current Offense and Cowboy defense, this could be a long day for the Lobos until they prove they can stay on the field, going to be hard to pick the Lobos for a victory.
That being said, the Pokes were shut out last week and are having their own offensive problems, combine that with a Rocky Long Defense, this could be low scoring game.
Now everything could change if the Lobos play a solid day offensively with Isiah Chavez (I believe he will start) has a day like he had last December when the Lobos defeated the Cowboys.
He is very decisive, makes good reads on option plays, and the offense seems to respond when he is in charge as the Quarterback for the Lobos.
New Mexico 24, Wyoming 17