UTEP vs New Mexico: Game Preview, Hot to Watch, Odds, Prediction
Lobos looking for a rivalry win
Former WAC foes
WEEK 3: New Mexico Lobos versus the Texas El Paso Miners
WHEN: Saturday, September 17, 2022, 6:00 MST/8:00 EST
WHERE: University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico
WEATHER: Sunny, with a high near 89. Light south wind increasing to 10 to 15 mph in the morning.
TV: MW Network My50-TV
RADIO: RADIO: Lobo Radio Network 77KOB Albuquerque; KLAQ 95.5 El Paso
SERIES RECORD: UNM leads 43-33-3
LAST MEETING: UTEP won 20-13 in El Paso (09.25.21)
WEBSITES: golobos.com; utepminers.com
The UNM Lobos and the Texas El Paso Miners will square off in Albuquerque Saturday evening at University Stadium in what should be a well-attended game.
The Lobos host the 80th meeting between New Mexico and the UTEP Miners, with kickoff slated for 6 pm Saturday at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico
New Mexico will be honoring three past teams with a successful Lobo football history, not just for Lobo fans but for head coach Danny Gonzales.
The 1962 WAC Champions: The 1962 team was UNM’s second title and the first of three straight; that title was the first since the 1938 Border Conference title. The 1962 team went 7-2-1 overall and 2-1-1 in the WAC.
The 1982 “Justice Bowl” Champions: The 1982 Lobos went 10-1, the only 10-win team in school history.
The 1997 Mountain Division Champions: A team in which Danny Gonzales was a player, this Lobo team went 9-4, hammering Tulsa (there’s your justice) 51-13 to clinch a spot in the WAC title game, where UNM lost to Colorado State. The Lobos went on to play in the Insight.com Bowl, UNM’s first bowl game in 36 years.
Head Coach Danny Gonzales has made it a Lobo value if you will about honoring Lobos of the past, the present, and the future
Keys to Victory
1) Contain the Miner’s offense, Awatt & Hardison
The Miners are coming off a win against its arch-rival, the New Mexico State Aggies, 20-13, and look good on Defense but look to improve on offense.
Running back Ronald Awatt was their leading rusher going for 110 yards on 21 attempts for an average of 5.2 yards per carry.
Quarterback Gavin Hardison went 13/27 for 158 yards passing and one touchdown. He had a very impressive rating of 109.5 without throwing an interception.
The Miner defense gave up 213 on 40 attempts or an average of 5.3 yards per run allowed, so look for the Lobos to exploit this with their very talented running backs.
The Miners have a total of 977 total yards for the season and are balanced in the scoring with two rushing touchdowns and two passing touchdowns.
The negative for them is they have turned the ball over four times this season and are 96th in NCAA D1 Division in allowing their opponents scoring and committed 16 penalties this year for over 155 yards.
2) Get the football into the explosive playermakers hands
The UNM Lobos come into the game at 1-1 and are coming off a loss last week to Boise State, 31-14.
Lobo QB Miles Kendrick (one touchdown) ended that game with only 98 yards on 9 of 28 with a Quarterback rating of 73.3, the positive he did not throw a pick.
Kendrick was pressured by the very large Boise State Bronco Defensive front for most of the game, hence the low numbers and QB rating.
Sherod White ran the ball just twice for 22 yards ending the game with an impressive 11 yards per carry.
This Lobo offense looked solid against FCS Maine Black Bears but struggled last week to move the ball throughout the game against Boise State.
It was clear that there was a significant disparity in talent and size from the Black Bears to the Broncos the following week.
The bottom line is that some teams with a weaker opponent can be a bit of fool’s gold, and you really know how good you are when you play a division opponent in the MWC.
For the season, the Lobos are scoring 27.5 points per game and are averaging 280 total yards per game on offense per game.
Now this team is night and day different in terms of athleticism, size, talent, and strength.
They rush for 146 yards per game as they have good running backs in Sherod White, Nate Jones, freshman sensation Christian Washington, and Chad Alexander.
Sherod White as he currently leads the team with 80 yards and two touchdowns. New Mexico only averages 124 passing yards per game but failed to move the ball against the Broncos.
And viewers of last week’s game got a short burst of the potential they have in watching Christian Washington’s two kickoffs, one for 31 yards and the other for 100 yards.
For that effort, Washington earned his first weekly honor as he was named Mountain West Freshman of the Week.
Wide receiver Geordon Porter has looked very impressive and, in my opinion, could play on Sundays; he is that good.
UNM must find a way to get their playmakers the ball, especially with the deep shots down the field.
UNM still has two of the best wide receivers in the Mountain West Conference in Luke Wysong, Porter, and then throw in explosive Bobby Wooden.
Another factor could be Trae Hall, former QB who Offensive Coordinator Derek Warhime converted to a wide out, who will be back for the Lobos this game.
So look for the Lobo offense to bounce back this week, and Miles Kendrick will start and despite last week’s game has 268 yards passing and three touchdowns this season.
3) Make the Miners turn the ball over!
The Lobos sit 86th in the nation, averaging 27.5 points per game. Throughout the season, the Lobos currently have a total of 268 yards through the air and an average of 134.0 passing yards per outing, which has them sitting 122nd in the nation.
The New Mexico Lobos hold an average of 280.0 yards per outing, ranking them 122nd in Division 1.
On Defense, this Rocky Long 3-3-5 has looked solid and held Boise State last week for about three quarters before getting tired in the 4th quarter.
The Lobos have given up a total of 170 yards on the ground, 85 yards per outing, and 0 touchdowns via the rush this season.
They have allowed the opposition 3 touchdowns through the air, and 133.0 yards/game, ranking them 12th in Division 1.
The Lobos defense has taken the field for 110 plays, which ranks 12th in the country. The Lobos are surrendering 15.5 points per game, ranking them 40th in Division 1. Throughout the season, they have relinquished 31 points in total
This Danny Gonzales & Rocky Long Defensive Combo is paying big dividends and gives fans hope for the future.
So the bottom line is when the Lobo offense starts to make some noise and score points, this Lobo team will no doubt be a contender in the MWC.
Any fan watching the Lobos this year can see a much higher quality of effort, strength, and explosiveness as far as team play is concerned.
Danny Gonzales’s consistent preaching on effort, doing things right on and off the field, and being so positive is now infecting this Lobo team.
I predict that the Lobo Defense will contain this Miner offense and look for Danny Gonzales to attack the playmakers on offense and put lots of pressure on them.
In this game, we will see Offensive Coordinator Derek Warehime have a solid game plan to run the ball right at the Miner’s Defensive front to dominate the line of scrimmage and set up the downfield shots to WR Porter or WR Wysong, and the Lobos have a breakout offensive game.
Playing last week’s tough division foe, Boise State will pay dividends in this game.
UNM Lobos 35 Utep miners 14.