New Mexico vs. Air Force: Falcons Game Preview, How to Watch, Odds, Prediction
Can The Falcons Win Their Fifth Straight Against the Lobos?
Can Air Force Even Their Conference Record?
WEEK 11: Air Force Falcons 6-3 (2-3) vs. New Mexico Lobos 2-7 (0-5)
WHEN: Saturday, November 12th — 1:30 P.M. MT/ 12:30 P.M. PT
WHERE: Falcon Stadium (Colorado Springs, CO)
WEATHER: Intervals of clouds and sunshine in the morning with more clouds for later in the day. High 47F. Winds SSE at 10 to 15 mph.
TV: CBS Sports Network
STREAM: FuboTV — Get a free trial
RADIO: KVOR AM 740 in Colorado Springs, 104.3 the Fan in Denver; SIRIUS 388, SXM App 978
Jim Arthur (play-by-play), Jesse Kurtz (analyst)
SERIES RECORD: Air Force leads the series vs. Army, 25-14. The Falcons won year’s matchup 38-10.
LAST WEEK: Air Force defeated Army 13-7. New Mexico lost to Utah State 10-27.
SP+ PROJECTION: Air Force by 27
FEI PROJECTION: Air Force by 25.5
PARKER FLEMING ADVANCED STATS PROJECTION: Air Force win probability of 78.35% (21.80- 10.98).
The Falcons are flying high after securing the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy last week, while also earning Bowl Eligibility with their sixth win of the season. Opposing them Saturday, is a New Mexico Lobo’s team that is reeling to say the least, having lost their sixth straight contest. And as if losing six consecutive games isn’t bad enough, they’ve not even been able to close out a contest within two scores.
If New Mexico wants to end this skid, they’re going to have to do so in Colorado Springs. In case your wondering, they’ve not won at Falcon Stadium in over 20 years, back in 2000. They are just 2-13 playing at “The Springs”. A tall ask for Danny Gonzales’ bunch.
Never shying away from bringing in JUCO players, the Lobos are going to have quite a few starting this week again. None more impactful though, than their transfer from Fresno City Junior College, Justin Holaday, fresh off of his first career start.
Perhaps the change at quarterback can spark a very anemic New Mexico offense on Saturday. They are going to need it facing one of the nations stingiest defenses. The defense that the Falcons will be facing is no pushover either, so they may have their work cut out for them. And let’s be honest, the Lobos defensive coordinator Rocky Long has had success against Troy Calhoun’s bunch. With a 2-3 record in Conference play, there don’t appear to be any hand-outs for Air Force in Mountain West play.
— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) November 9, 2022
Three Keys to an Air Force Victory
get the offense on track early
For as bad as the Lobos have been this year, the defense has performed quite admirably, especially when you consider the difficult circumstances their offense has put them in. It will be important for Air Force to find its way offensively early in the game to avoid any letdowns.
It’s well documented, the struggles they have had when playing some of the better defenses on their schedule. The Falcons don’t need to do New Mexico any favors by letting them stick around late into the game for an inability to put points on the board. That exactly the kind of blueprint a struggling team follows to an upset.
Leave the scoring ineptitude to the visitors. With the nations top rushing attack and the best running back in the Mountain West, go to work early and make the Lobos stare down a multi-score deficit in the second half. With just three passing touchdowns on the year (and 14 total offensive touchdowns), New Mexico could be looking at a severe beatdown if the Falcons offense is rolling.
dont ignore special teams
In their win over Army, the Falcons were extremely fortunate that a punt wasn’t blocked deep in their own territory. Somehow the kick got off with the defender soaring over the outstretched leg of Carson Bay. And for just the second time this season, there was also a missed field goal attempt off of the steady foot of Matthew Dapore.
The Lobos have one of the best punters to come through Albuquerque, in Aaron Rodriguez. And man, does this guy get a lot of work. He leads the country in punts, which means a whole lot of fair catch opportunities for Air Force if the defense stays strong.
While the Falcons aren’t likely to return many, if any kicks at all, registering a muffed punt turnover would be ill-advised. New Mexico has a punter that can flip field position, so even if your starting a drive near the shadow of your own end zone, it’s much better than handing it over as a red zone try.
no encore for jones
One of the bright spots in last weeks losing effort for the Lobos, was Nate Jones. The talented running back has gotten out of Danny Gonzalez’s dog house it seems, breaking out for almost 150 yards last week against Utah State. This is exactly the kind of performance New Mexico desperately needs to breath some life into their offense.
This is a guy who saw time as a true freshman in 2020, and looked like he could be that next outstanding back that they so desperately have been needing in Albuquerque. He ran for 232 yards and four touchdowns in the COVID shortened season, where he also chipped in on special teams.
After redshirting last year, Jones has now become the primary ball carrier for New Mexico. JUCO transfer, Sherod White and true freshman Chrstian Washington will also see carries throughout the game. If the Lobos are going to push for an upset in this game against Air Force, they are going to need Jones to build on last weeks career best performance.
Jim Irsay is a crazy you-know-what.@PSeanU1 from @MWCwire tells me how @UNMLoboFB can hang in it with @AF_Football on 11/12/22.
Special thanks to @OJPhilly from @PhillyTrib to talk Philly World Order. @Eagles @Phillies @sixers https://t.co/J4jYQGS7Js
— Ryan M Tomari (@RyanTomari) November 9, 2022
Statistics aren’t always going to dictate the outcome of a game. There are just far too many variables that can come in to play. However, this far into the season, it is fair to conclude were well past single data points. We have arrived at trends. And in nearly every conceivably meaningful statistic, the advantage arrow zeroes in on the home team this week.
For any outcome other than an Air Force win this Saturday, I really believe it will be more about mistakes on the part of the Falcons, or what they aren’t able to do offensively. I’m not sure there is enough offense on the New Mexico sideline to win this game, so short of keeping Air Force out of the endzone altogether, winning will be tough.
I am a believer in the Lobos defense, and they’ve been a more than capable bunch. But the offense has been so woefully bad, it has just made things really difficult for their mates on the other side of the ball, often leaving them in un-winnable situations.
And lets be honest, it’s not as if the Falcons can’t put up points. In fact, if the defense continues to standout, they could heap on the points at Falcon Stadium this weekend. Even with last weeks emotional win, I don’t think it will derail the focus and setup for the kind of monstrous letdown it would take to have the birds fall prey.
Make it five in a row against the Lobos, Air Force wins.
Air Force 31, New Mexico 10
And if you want a little more content on this Mountain West matchup between the Falcons and Lobos, give a listen to ‘First and 505 with Ryan Tomari’ HERE! The Podcast host was gracious enough to have me on to talk about this weeks game, and he is constantly putting out great content, so give him a listen!