New Mexico vs. UNLV: Game Preview, Predictions, Lobo Keys To A Win
Lobos looking for another win.
UNLV is on the docket this week.
WEEK 10: New Mexico Lobos (3-5, 1-3 Mountain West) vs UNLV Rebels (0-8, 0-4
WHEN: Saturday, November 6 — 5:00 PM MT/4:00 PM PT
WHERE: University Stadium; Albuquerque, NM
STREAMING: The Stadium network live stream can be found at WatchStadium.com. You can also stream the UNLV radio broadcast on LVSportsNetwork.com.
RADIO: The New Mexico broadcast can be found on the Lobo Radio Network, including the flagship 770 AM (KKOB) in Albuquerque. The UNLV broadcast can be found in and around Las Vegas on ESPN at 1100 AM and 100.9 FM.
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.
WEBSITES: | GoLobos.com, the official New Mexico athletics website UNLVRebels.com, the official UNLV athletics website
ODDS (as of 11/2, via Vegas Insider): New Mexico -2
SP+ PROJECTION: New Mexico by 5.2
FEI PROJECTION: New Mexico by 1.1
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: New Mexico 52.6% win probability
The UNM Lobos (3-5, 1-3 MWC) host the UNLV Rebels (0-8, 0-4 this Saturday at University Stadium, this is a homecoming for the Lobos.
The Rebels lost their 14th consecutive game last week, falling to rival Nevada Reno 51-20
Danny Gonzales’s Lobos are 3-5 on the season and riding high off their first mountain West Conference win against Wyoming on October 23 in Laramie.
The Lobos also had a bye this weekend and have had plenty of time to nurse typical bumps and bruises of a football season and get ready for the Rebels as well.
The Lobos are still very much alive for a bowl bid, and they cannot afford a slip-up in a very winnable game at home if it wishes to see the postseason.
The Lobos are just a 1.5 favorite, but this looks to be a great game between two teams that are still building their own football identity foundation.
If you are the Lobos, as Danny Gonzales has said many times in his presser, you’re not good enough to overlook any team in the MWC.
The Rebels being such a slight underdog at 1.5 points, they look at this as the game they can win especially considering future homes games against Hawaii and San Diego State and then a road game against Air Force.
Danny Gonzales knows that UNM is in for a dogfight Saturday primarily in part he knows that UNLV features one of the best running backs in the Mountain West in Charles Williams.
Williams is averaging 93.6 yards per game, with 749 yards rushing on just 162 and eight touchdowns.
UNLV quarterback Cameron Freel has completed 64.5% of his passes for 1,142 yards and four TDs, with Steve Jenkins and Kyle Williams being the main targets. Jenkins has caught 32 passes for 420 yards, and four TD and Williams has 30 catches for 384 yards and a score.
“Coach Arroyo is trying to build something special at UNLV, just like we are trying to do here,” said Gonzales, “and those kids believe in what they are doing watching the tape. I mean, they were down 34-0 to Nevada, and they fought their way back scoring 20 points.”
After playing a schedule with three nationally-ranked teams and a fourth that is now in the top 20, Gonzales knows that UNLV will be more than ready for the opportunity to play a program that is in a rebuilding phase; much like themselves.
“I promise you New Mexico is one that they put on their schedule that they can end the losing streak that they’re on. It’s a great opportunity to go out there and compete Saturday against a team that is going to be hungry.”
Three Keys for Lobo Victory
1) Play Solid Defense
The Lobos must keep the Rebel offense off the field as much as possible; you don’t want them to get the hot hand and make big plays against them.
The Rebels are averaging 19.6 points per game, and the Lobos keep opponents to 25.5 points per game.
Under defensive coordinator Rocky Long, the Lobos rank 20th nationally in passer rating allowed (119.1) and 31st in passing yards per game allowed.
This Lobo defense has been pretty solid, limiting the Wyoming Cowboys to only 255 total yards last week and holding a very good UTEP Miners team to only 20 points in September.
The pass defense is solid, coming in at 33rd in the FBS while the rush defense is 66th.
After watching Rocky Long Defenses since 1998, this writer can say that they tend to get stronger as the season progresses.
One of Long’s benefits is his years of seeing almost every offense; there isn’t anything new under the sun if he has not seen, so adjustments happen fast for the Lobos.
2) Score points
UNLV is allowed 36.0 PPG, ranking 121st out of 130 FBS teams, and if the Lobos are going to find their offense, it will be against the Rebels.
No starter has been announced for the Lobos as Terry Wilson was still healing. He dislocated his non-throwing arm against San Diego State on October 9.
If Wilson cannot go, Isaiah Chavez will draw his second start. The freshman quarterback has completed 10-of-11 passes for 117 yards and a touchdown in a 14-3 victory over Wyoming in his first start on October 23.
Aaron Dumas has run for 387 yards on 83 attempts leading the Lobos (48.4 yards per game) to 1 touchdown.
Bobby Cole has 281 yards on 79 carries (35.1 yards per game)
So the Lobos have a two-headed running attack as both of these guys can move the chains for this OC Derek Warehime offense.
Luke Wysong leads the Lobos on the receiving yards, with over 20 catches, 182 yards, and 22.8 yards per game for the Lobos.
Kyle Jarvis has 145 yards on nine catches and one touchdown, and Andrew Erickson has caught 11 passes for 124 yards, averaging 24.8 receiving yards per game.
Watch for the Lobos to attempt to dominate the line of scrimmage and run between the tackles and run the triple option or some zone-read option with an occasional pass to keep the Rebels from loading the box.
A lot of what is run offensively will depend on whether Terry Wilson gets Isaiah Chavez’s start.
Derek Warehime, the Lobos play-caller, will call plays based on the strength of whoever gets the start but look for lots of touches for the talented running backs they have and for Freshman sensation Luke Wysong getting the looks as well.
3) Win the Turnover battle
So much game-winning momentum in college sports has to do with teams playing smart and not turning the ball over to the opposing team to control field position.
The Lobos must win the turnover battle – that’s a problem considering it gave it up ten times in four games before an air-tight performance against Wyoming – and it has to keep the UNLV offense from taking over.
Smart teams play well down the stretch in football games and don’t beat themselves by turning the ball over, so watching between two teams as they battle in Albuquerque will be interesting.
Will the Rebels get their first win of the year, or will Danny Gonzales Lobos use last week’s road victory against the Pokes to defeat the Rebels.
I am leaning toward the Lobos getting another victory. I think that local fan favorite Isaiah Chavez will get the start and is undefeated as a starter; he is not flashy, not that big; he has excellent instincts decisive and can lead the Lobos offense.
New Mexico 24 UNLV 21