The New Mexico Lobos (3-2, 1-0) will travel to take on the Nevada Wolf Pack (2-3, 0-1) in a Mountain West Conference matchup Saturday night. Nevada has won the last two meetings between the schools, including a 31-24 win on November 17, 2012 in the most recent meeting. The Lobos covered the line in that contest as a 10.5 point underdog.
New Mexico won their second straight game as they knocked off in-state rival New Mexico State 38-29 at home last week. Nevada fell to in-state rival UNLV 23-17 last week in their conference opener. This game kicks off at 7:00 pm ET from Mackay Stadium in Reno, Nevada; the game will not be nationally televised. Nevada is currently a 4.5 point favorite with the over/under set at 53.5 points in this contest.
New Mexico found themselves in a 29-14 hole against New Mexico State last week before scoring the game’s last 24 points of the contest to get the win. The Lobos outgained the Aggies 446-416 and forced three turnovers while committing two of their own. New Mexico scored on a fumble return and added a safety in the fourth quarter with two minutes to play to seal the victory. Their defense tightened up in the second half, giving the offense short fields to work with to aid the comeback.
The Lobos are a run oriented offense as they currently stand 122nd in passing offense while they are 8th in rushing offense with an average of 290 yards per game. New Mexico is scoring 34 points per game while ranking 80th in scoring defense by allowing 26.2 points per contest. Lamar Jordan is the starter at quarterback; he’s hit 29 of 57 passes for 418 yards with two touchdowns and two picks; he leads the team with 404 yards and three scores on the ground. Austin Apodaca has hit 16 of 37 passes for 183 yards and a pick. Jhurell Pressley (73 carries, 347 yards, 3 TD), Teriyon Gipson (42 carries, 255 yards, 3 TD) and Richard McQuarley (24 carries, 127 yards, 3 TD) are all capable running backs that share the workload. When New Mexico goes to the air, Dameon Gamblin leads the team with 16 receptions for 242 yards and a score; no one else has more than six grabs.
Nevada trailed 13-0 at the half and 20-10 midway through the fourth quarter; they attempted to rally but it fell short. The Wolf Pack outgained the Rebels 343-301 in the contest with both teams committing a turnover in the game. Nevada had their turnover turn into a touchdown as UNLV had a pick six; that proved to be the difference in the contest. The Wolf Pack has such a thin margin of error that they can’t afford to make critical mistakes to give their opponents points or a short field.
The Wolf Pack, like New Mexico, tends to run the ball with more success than they have throwing it: Nevada is 109th in passing offense by averaging 164.2 yards per game while they rank 40th in the nation in rushing with an average of 196.6 yards per contest. The Wolf Pack averages 23 points per game while they stand 91st in scoring defense by allowing 29.8 points per game. Tyler Stewart is completing 54.1 percent of his throws for 821 yards with six touchdowns and three interceptions while adding 138 yards and a score on the ground. It’s a two-headed battering ram at running back for the Wolf Pack with James Butler (66 carries, 426 yards, TD) and Don Jackson (83 carries, 417 yards, 6 TD) share the work. Jerico Richardson (28 receptions, 267 yards, 2 TD) and Hassan Henderson (23 receptions, 255 yards, 2 TD) are the top two receivers. Brent Zuzo has been solid in the kicking game as he has hit all 14 extra points and seven field goal attempts this year.
New Mexico is 4-0 ATS in their last four after an ATS loss, 7-1 ATS in their last eight after allowing at least 200 yards on the ground, 6-1 ATS in their last seven conference games, 6-1 ATS in their last seven on the road and 8-3 ATS in their last 11 overall. Nevada is 3-11 ATS in their last 14 in October, 0-4 ATS in their last four at home and 0-4 ATS in their last four after allowing less than 170 yards through the air in their last game.
Nevada has been up and down all season long as they can’t string together victories. New Mexico showed grit and determination bouncing back with a win in their last game over New Mexico State. The Lobos are playing decent football right now and it would be wrong to underestimate them; take the points as New Mexico steals a road win.