New Mexico vs. Boise State: Keys to a Broncos Win, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
The Broncos look to keep their division title hopes alive against New Mexico. Here’s how to watch and what to watch for against the Lobos.
Contact/Follow @MattK_FS & @MWCwire
Is an easy Senior Day in order?
WEEK 12: New Mexico Lobos (3-7, 1-5 Mountain West) vs. Boise State Broncos (6-4, 4-2 Mountain West)
WHEN: Saturday, November 20 — 7:00 PM MT/6:00 PM PT
WHERE: Albertsons Stadium; Boise, ID
STREAMING: Fans can sign up to receive a free one-week trial of Fubo, which includes FS1, by following this link.
RADIO: The New Mexico broadcast can be found on the Lobo Radio Network, including flagship 770 AM (KKOB) in Albuquerque. The Boise State broadcast can be found throughout Idaho on the affiliates of the Bronco Radio Network, including flagship 670 AM (KBOI) in Boise.
SERIES RECORD: Boise State leads the all-time series, 10-1. In the last meeting on November 16, 2019, the Broncos defeated the Lobos, 42-9, in Boise.
LAST WEEK: New Mexico lost on the road to Fresno State, 34-7, while Boise State defeated Wyoming at home, 23-13.
WEBSITES: GoLobos.com, the official New Mexico athletics website | BroncoSports.com, the official Boise State athletics website
GAME NOTES (PDF): New Mexico | Boise State
ODDS (as of 11/18, via Vegas Insider): Boise State -27.5
SP+ PROJECTION: Boise State by 26.4
FEI PROJECTION: Boise State by 28.4
PARKER FLEMING PROJECTION: Boise State 98.06% win probability
The Boise State Broncos still have plenty to play for over the last two weeks of the regular football season, but before they can turn their attention to a big Black Friday clash with San Diego State, they need to take care of business in their final home game of the year against the New Mexico Lobos?
Historically, matchups between these two teams haven’t been close. New Mexico’s youth movement is learning through numerous trials by fire over the second half of this season, as well, so while the defense, under coordinator Rocky Long, has been rock solid, will the offense find any kind of spark under long odds? Or will Andy Avalos and his Broncos be able to coast to victory?
Here’s how the Broncos can beat the Lobos.
Three Keys to a Boise State Victory
1. Slow Aaron Dumas.
If there’s one bright spot that the Lobos offense has been able to count upon, even as they’ve taken their lumps, it’s that the true freshman running back from El Paso has been as good as advertised. Aaron Dumas has started four of New Mexico’s last five games and seems to have picked up momentum week after week, establishing new highs in rushing attempts (23) and rushing yards (143) last week against Fresno State. In those five games, Dumas has also averaged 5.53 yards per carry for an attack that’s mustered a meager 3.59 yards per play as a unit.
Without the threat of a consistent passing game, however, the Broncos defensive front should manage to keep Dumas from running wild. You can bet he’ll probably get plenty of opportunity to try, though, considering the Lobos run the ball on first and second down 67.6% of the time (though they are dead-last in Expected Points Added on those early downs).
RUN, AARON, RUN.
A 63-yard run by Aaron Dumas puts the Lobos in the red zone. #GoLobos pic.twitter.com/Vg34nigFDw
— New Mexico Football (@UNMLoboFB) November 14, 2021
2. Let Hank Bachmeier cook.
New Mexico’s defense has been a little better than the circumstances may have you believe, but one element that the Lobos are still working on is a consistent pass rush. Defensive end Joey Noble has had a breakout campaign and leads the team with 15 tackles for loss and 4.5 sacks, but New Mexico as a team owns a modest 5.8% sack rate that ranks 86th nationally.
That would seem to bode well for Bachmeier, who’s continued to look sharp and ranks third in the Mountain West with a 64.9% completion rate and an average of eight yards per attempt. Better yet, he sports the lowest interception rate (1.47%) of any quarterback in the conference, all of which is good news against a defense that has seen some turnover over the last month because of injuries — both nose tackle Langston Murray and Lobo safety Tavian Combs missed the game against Fresno State but might be back this weekend — and allowed 8.0 YPA and a 61.7% completion rate in the last four games. If Khalil Shakir doesn’t end up with another highlight reel catch at some point, it’s okay to feel mildly disappointed.
3. Get right in the red zone.
One issue that has lingered, even as the Broncos offense has stabilized with George Holani’s return, is that they aren’t always as good at turning red zone opportunities into end zone trips as they could be. Leading the Mountain West with a 93.62% total conversion rate is good, but ranking ninth with just 26 touchdowns on 47 tries (55.32%) is less so.
If there’s ever a time to fix what’s ailed them inside the 20, though, it’s against a Lobos defense that is last in the conference with a 91.67% red zone conversion rate allowed and eighth in allowing six points on 21-of-36 chances.
New Mexico is a team that has flashed plenty of promise throughout the season, but it’s also become very clear that they are still building toward next season or the year after. Last week, the Lobos suffered a lopsided loss and this game should be more of the same. Boise State fans can feel good about not having to do things the hard way for a change.
Boise State 38, New Mexico 3