UNM Football: Lobos face difficult challenge with potent NMSU passing attack

Saturday’s home matchup against in-state rival New Mexico State is likely a game in which Lobo players and coaches circled on their calendars when the schedule was released earlier this season, as the Aggies defeated the Lobos 32-31 in Las Cruces last season.

But getting revenge for a loss against their neighbors to the south may not be an easy task for a Lobo team that struggled to run the ball last week against in their opening week win against FBS school Abilene Christian. The young Lobo defense will also face a much more challenging task Week 2 against an Aggie team that despite being a 23-point underdog, nearly pulled off an upset on the road against Arizona State.

UNM head coach Bob Davie is looking to put last week’s uninspired performance against ACU and last year’s loss against NMSU behind him as he prepares for this week against the Aggies. When asked at his Tuesday news conference if he is planning on using last year’s game as motivation, a candid Davie responded “I don’t think there’s any reason to do that when we’ve won eight of the last nine games we’ve played. That seems like a long time ago.”

Davie went on to say that a mantra for his team and coaching staff this week is to “narrow the focus” and that he wants to spend more time looking at what the Lobos did right and wrong than perseverating on NMSU’s impressive performance against ASU.

Senior quarterback Tyler Rogers completed 40 of 57 passes for 398 yards and three scores against the Sun Devils while adding seven yards on 12 rushes and a score on the ground. The Peoria, AZ native did throw two interceptions in the game, including a pick-six with 13:52 left in the fourth quarter.

The Aggies use a two-headed approach to running the ball with Jason Huntley and Larry Rose III sharing carries in the backfield. Huntley is the smaller home run play as evident by his 50-yard TD scamper last week. Rose is the larger of the two backs and the between the tackle runner who will receive the majority of carries.

6-6, 215 lbs. senior wide receiver Jaleel Scott will be a difficult matchup for UNM cornerbacks with his ability to stretch the field and make highlight reel catches with his lanky frame. Lobo fans can view Scott’s elite athleticism in his one-handed catch on YouTube and our homepage video section.

With Scott torching a Pac-12 school like ASU for 8/149/2, it begs the question how will the Lobos and their young defense stop the 6-6 monster? Perhaps UNM’s rushing attack and controlling the clock is the best weapon to control NMSU’s potent offense, shortening the game and limiting Scott and Rogers’ time on the field.

Vegas sports books have the Aggies a 7 to 10 point favorite in the game with an over-under of 72 points in what should be a high-scoring game.