New Mexico vs. Fresno State: Keys to a Lobos Win, How to Watch, Livestream, Odds, Prediction
Lobos looking for back-to-back wins vs. Bulldogs
Can the Lobos once again beat Fresno State?
WEEK 11: New Mexico Lobos (3-6, 1-4 Mountain West) vs. Fresno State Bulldogs (7-3, 4-2 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, November 13 — 4:00 PM PT/5:00 PM MT
WHERE: Bulldog Stadium; Fresno, CA
TV: In Fresno and elsewhere across the Central Valley, the game can be found on CW59. Elsewhere, the game will be broadcast on Stadium.
RADIO: The New Mexico broadcast can be found on the Lobo Radio Network, including the flagship 770 AM (KKOB) in Albuquerque. The Fresno State broadcast can be found on in and around Fresno on Fox Sports 1340 AM and on the affiliates of the Bulldog Radio Network around the San Joaquin Valley.
SERIES RECORD: Fresno State leads the all-time series 13-5. In the last meeting on December 12, 2020, the Lobos defeated the Bulldogs in Las Vegas, 49-39.
LAST WEEK: Fresno State lost to Boise State at home, 40-14, while New Mexico lost at home to UNLV, 31-17.
ODDS (as of 11/10, via Vegas Insider): Fresno State -24.5
SP+ PROJECTION: Fresno State by 24.6
FEI PROJECTION: Fresno State by 19.2
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Fresno State 97.64% win probability
Head coach Danny Gonzales Lobos head to Fresno, California, this Saturday to take on the Fresno State Bulldogs with the hopes of pulling the upset against an excellent team, the Fresno State Bulldogs.
Last year the Lobos won the season finale against Fresno State, winning 49-39 in Las Vegas, coming back after trailing to start the fourth quarter.
UNM racked up 299 yards on the ground that day. That was also the third time in the last nine seasons that a true freshman, walk-on quarterback won his starting debut in the FBS, earning Isaiah Chavez Mountain West Player of the Week honors.
On a senior night for the Bulldogs, New Mexico Lobos faces Fresno State in a Mountain West Conference college football game on Saturday, November 13, 2021.
You can bet that the Bulldogs won’t be overlooking the Lobos after last year’s loss to this New Mexico team after losing 49-39 at Sam Boyd Stadium in Vegas.
You can bet they will be looking to avenge that loss to the Lobos, especially after losing to Boise State last week 40-14.
This season, the Lobos have had many ups and downs between scoring points, moving the chains, hurting quarterbacks, and various other things.
That being said, the Lobos have a reputation of bouncing back from adversity and getting a win when the odds are stacked against them.
This should be a very entertaining game from a views standpoint as there are great athletes on both sides for the ball and very seasoned coaching staff on both teams.
THREE KEYS TO A NM LOBO VICTORY
- Great defense out of this Rocky Long 3-3-5 Defense
The Lobos are taking on one of the most highly talented offensive teams in the Mountain West, ranking first or second in many categories.
The Bulldogs are second in the MWC scoring offense (32.9 points per game) and averaging 468 (yards per game), and the Lobos are averaging 14.3 yards per game and 257.8 yards per game on offense.
The Lobos are allowing 343.7 yards per game, and the Bulldogs are allowing 359.1 yards per game, so both defenses are similar in numbers given up.
One thing is for sure when playing against the Lobos, as you will get a defense that will be ready to play a very physical game with lots of blitzing from various angles.
Rocky Long, without a doubt, is one of the best Defensive Coordinators in the country at preparing to stop offenses from moving the chains, create chaos and confuse the opposing team’s quarterbacks.
Football played on the fields is a chess match between the coordinators who can outmaneuver or second guess the opponent on the other side of the field.
I once spoke to a former Athletic Director who told me in a conversation with Urban Meyer when he coached at Utah many years ago that playing against Rocky Long’s defenses was a nightmare to prepare for as an offensive coordinator.
So the Lobos must contain big plays or keep that at a minimum, create turnovers and flat out play the offense.
Gonzales said of Fresno State: “They are a really, really good football team,” said Gonzales. “They went to the Rose Bowl and beat a good UCLA team, they beat a really good San Diego State team. That’s San Diego State’s only loss.
The Lobos Joey Noble, having an excellent year for Rocky Longs Lobos, hopes to wreak havoc against Fresno State.
Noble collected two sacks in last year’s matchup and, with a team-high 4.5 sacks and 14 tackles for loss in 2021, should be a big factor for the Lobos.
- Score points and keep the Bulldogs offense off the field
Offensive Coordinator Derek Warehime has had a most challenging year between shuffling his offensive line, hurt quarterbacks, and inconsistency as a whole on offense.
Last week, the Lobos finally got a running game going even though they lost to UNLV rushing for 260 yards, their first 200-yard rushing game of the year.
The Lobos only threw for 36 yards on the night, which will have to improve if UNM makes it two in a row against Fresno State. “You can’t win championships if you are a one-dimensional football team. You just can’t,” said Gonzales.
That should improve this week as Isaiah Chavez will start for the Lobos as Terry Wilson is still out with an injury he suffered against San Diego State, a dislocated elbow.
Last week, Chavez hit the helmet during the second quarter when he fumbled the ball. Before that, he sustained what appeared to be an ankle injury is ready to go for the Lobos this week.
This Lobo offense must generate time of position and score points when the offense has the ball, triple-option that they have run recently is very good at this.
One wrinkle that Warehime threw into the Lobo offense that has shown promise is the aspects of the triple option. Chavez is very good at his reads in zone reads in the option that create big explosive plays against the Rebels.
Freshman running back Aaron Dumas led UNM with 92 yards on 15 carries.
Freshman CJ Montes took over at quarterback for the Lobos after Chavez went out. Montes rushed for 60 yards but lost 32 yards on seven sacks. UNLV finished with eight sacks. Montes threw for 28 yards on 7-of-13 passing
Senior running back Bobby Cole ran for a 75-yard touchdown for the Lobos.
- Play smart football and not turn the ball over
This New Mexico team must play solid on both sides of the ball, but more importantly, they must not turn the ball over, especially on the road.
Last week’s turnovers proved costly for this team as they allowed UNLV to score points given to them by excellent field position.
When you are not the most talented team in college football, you must be disciplined and play smart, especially on the road.
Danny Gonzales has said several times; we are not good enough as a team to give the ball up and get a number of personal fouls to overcome an opponent.
College football is a game of intense emotion, and things can get wild on the football field, but players must hold their composure and not get their team penalized as it makes it very hard to overcome and win games.
Undisciplined teams do not win many games, whereas disciplined teams that play smart ball put themselves in a position to win contests; that’s the bottom line.
What’s Going To Happen
One glaring number for the Lobos is that they are one of the worst teams in the country at third down conversions, bottom last to be exact, and close to last with team scoring.
Combing that with Fresno State, ranked 25th before the unexpected blowout loss to Boise State 40-13, they have a lot to play for post-season-wise.
I predict the Lobos will compete but will have to compete against a very talented team with a bit of revenge on their minds from last year’s loss; Bulldogs will get the victory.
I will be the first to congratulate Danny Gonzales and the entire team if they can pull the upsets if I am wrong, but this is a massive challenge for them.
Fresno State 31 New Mexico 15