UNLV vs. New Mexico: Keys to a Rebels Win, How to Watch, Livestream, Odds, Prediction
Can the Rebels secure their first win against New Mexico? Here’s how to watch on TV and stream, as well as what to watch for against the Lobos.
Is this the week for a breakthrough?
WEEK 10: UNLV Rebels (0-8, 0-4 Mountain West) vs. New Mexico Lobos (3-5, 1-3 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, November 6 — 5:00 PM MT/4:00 PM PT
WHERE: University Stadium; Albuquerque, NM
RADIO: The UNLV broadcast can be found in and around Las Vegas on ESPN 1100 AM and 100.9 FM. The New Mexico broadcast can be found on the Lobo Radio Network, including flagship 770 AM (KKOB) in Albuquerque.
SERIES RECORD: The all-time series is tied, 12-12. In the last meeting on October 6, 2018, the Lobos defeated the Rebels, 50-14, in Las Vegas.
LAST WEEK: UNLV lost on the road to Nevada, 51-20, while New Mexico was on a bye.
ODDS (as of 11/5, via Vegas Insider): New Mexico -1.5
SP+ PROJECTION: New Mexico by 5.2
FEI PROJECTION: New Mexico by 1.1
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: New Mexico 52.6% win probability
After falling short in their effort to paint the Fremont Cannon red once more, the UNLV Rebels hit the road again and head east to face the New Mexico Lobos.
Things haven’t always gone swimmingly for Danny Gonzales and his squad in year two, but an improving defense has kept UNM in numerous games while the offense has broken in a number of young talents and reinvented itself to steal a few wins. In all, though, there may not be a better opportunity for Marcus Arroyo and his Rebels to steal the season’s first victory.
Here’s how the Rebels can beat New Mexico
Three Keys to a UNLV Victory
1. Stop the run.
For all of UNLV’s struggles this year, one thing they’ve done surprisingly well is keep opposing ground games in check. Without adjusting for sacks (and there isn’t much of that to do, anyway, given the team’s anemic 2.8% sack rate), the Rebels have allowed 4.06 yards per carry, far and away the team’s lowest average since 2009, and that performance is confirmed by other metric: Peter Hansen’s defense ranks in the top 25 nationally by stuff rate, opportunity rate allowed, and power success rate allowed.
They can thank emerging contributors like Brennon Scott, who’s looked every bit the top prospect while collecting at least one tackle for loss in each of the last four games, and Naki Fahina, who has three TFLs in the past three games, for finally supplementing Adam Plant Jr. and Jacoby Windmon. That foursome could have a big impact against a New Mexico offensive line that’s undergone a lot of upheaval throughout the season: Center Kyle Stapley and left tackle Cade Briggs have started every game, but the team has started six different combinations trying to find the one that can mesh enough to help open holes consistently for Aaron Dumas and Bobby Cole.
That answer has remained elusive, though, which explains why the Lobos currently rank dead last in the FBS by Expected Points Added per rush. This is one of the few times all year long where UNLV will have a distinct advantage, so the front seven will need to do whatever it takes to capitalize on it.
2. Win on third down (or at least don’t lose).
This is the kind of pivot point that could decide the game if one team can snap out of its third-down blues… or make for some very boring football if neither team is able to do so. UNLV (32.7%) and New Mexico (24.6%) rank next-to-last and last, respectively, among Mountain West teams in third-down conversion rate on offense, but the Rebels could find themselves at a loss on defense since they are also last in the conference by allowing opponents to convert 47.5% of the time.
One thing that will help either way: Avoiding killer mistakes. No quarterback in the Mountain West has thrown as many interceptions on third down as Cameron Friel (four), so giving themselves a chance to fight on the next drive is something that could be important in a close game.
3. Lock up New Mexico’s young pass catchers.
The Rebels have been torched by top quarterbacks a few times this fall, but New Mexico doesn’t have that kind of talent under center. Terry Wilson is banged up and the C.J. Montes experiment lasted all of one week before Isaiah Chavez got back into the starting lineup to steal a win from Wyoming. As a team, the Lobos have averaged just 5.7 yards per attempt, the lowest in the Mountain West, so the UNLV secondary may feel like it’s earned a reprieve.
That’s what the Cowboys surely thought a week ago, but the Lobos proved their revised option-based attack could stretch the field a bit and the Rebels will need to be ready for it. Freshman Luke Wysong leads UNM with five catches of 20 or more yards but others like Andrew Erickson have proven they can make the tough catch downfield, as well. It’s a big chance for the likes of Nohl Williams and Cameron Oliver to take a step forward.
This matchup has the feel of a litmus test for both sidelines. Will New Mexico be able to catch another opponent off guard on offense, or will UNLV’s defensive progress be fully realized? Can the Rebels move the ball with a balance attack against a solid Lobos defense? The visitors might actually have more talent overall, but Gonzales and his coaching staff have proven to be crafty.
When in doubt, trust the team that knows how to play like they’ve been there before when the chips are down. It won’t be flashy, either, which will make it all the more exasperating for everyone watching back in Las Vegas.
New Mexico 20, UNLV 16