Mountain West Conference football kicks off this weekend with the New Mexico Lobos facing off against the Air Force Falcons at University Stadium, NM. Air Force (1-1) is coming off a tough loss against Minnesota. New Mexico (0-2) has looked bad both games they have played and remain the only MWC team without a win. Let us look at Air Force first in case you don't want to read about the travesty that is the 2009 Lobos.
Troy Calhoun has kept the option offense cooking in 2009 with 735 yards and a 5.49 yard per carry average through two games. Asher Clark and Jered Tew are the primary rushers and will be leading the offense unless it starts to look like the Nicholls State blowout win. Tim Jefferson is at quarterback and should only have to go to the air between 5-10 times to keep the defense honest.
Air Force is tied at the top of the league in turnover margin at +4. They will need to keep this going as turnovers can kill on the road, evident last week versus Minnesota.
The defense is small and the Lobos offensive line is heavy and could beat them up all game and tire them late. On the flip side, the defense can use their speed to fly around and get tackles. All five forced turnovers have been fumbles which is a result of Air Force's group tackling.
New Mexico has looked bad so far. The defense has surrendered two 40+ point games while the offense has averaged 8 points a game. That no-huddle spread attack that Mike Locksley is implementing has been disastrous.
On the offensive side the Lobos have only seen the red zone two times which they translated into a field goal and a fumble. Currently they are converting only 17% of their third downs. QB Donovan Porterie has connected on 66.1% of his passing attempts but for a meager 4.8 yards an attempt. Since the Lobos have been playing catch up all year freshman RB Desmond Dennis only has 19 carries this year for a freshman like 45 yards. This is a young offense with 6 freshmen getting used to some extent at the skill positions.
On defense the only bright spot would be the Tray Hardaway fumble recovery for a touchdown against Tulsa. However that is the only turnover the Lobos have forced all year leaving them at -5 in turnover margin. They have given up 547.5 yards a game, almost 200 on the ground, leaving them 117th in total defense. They have faced two good offenses in Tulsa and Texas Tech, however you won't beat anyone giving up those types of yards and not getting turnovers.
Air Force is a 17 point favorite and that sounds about right. Air Force should run at the Lobos defense all day and have success. It is tough finding a reason to be hopeful for New Mexico right now, even a second straight home game can't save them here.
Air Force: DB P.J. Adeji-Paul (knee) will be out up to 3 weeks
New Mexico: N/A