The New Mexico Lobos are coming off a bye week in hopes of getting their first win of the year when they travel to take on future conference member in the Nevada Wolfpack. We all know New Mexico is not a good team, but they are extremely bad on the road and have not won a road game since they beat the New Mexico St. Aggies back in 2008. Their last road win against a team not named New Mexico State was back in 2007 when New Mexico defeated the San Diego St. Aztecs.
So, it is safe to say that in this game the streak is likely to continue. New Mexico is making adjustments to their defense by moving from the 4-2-5 defense to the 3-3-5 set that was used under former head coach Rocky Long. However, the reason for this move is because New Mexico does not have enough healthy players on the defensive line to run a four-man front.
Interim head coach George Barlow made this announcement last week and made the change during the bye week since changing defensive schemes takes some time for the players to get down the new set up. This move does give New Mexico and advantage against Nevada since this is a defensive set that Nevada has not seen this year. New Mexico will need all the help they can get since they are ranked 113th or below in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense and passing defense. Compare that to Nevada who is 21st in total offense and are led by the rushing attack with the pistol offense.
Nevada is coming off of a great offensive performance by putting up 699 yards against UNLV last week, however they did give up five turnovers in that game and on the year Nevada is minus six. Nevada quarterback Tyler Lantrip does have only five touchdowns to six interceptions, so there is reason to be optimistic for the New Mexico defense to possibly get some turnovers. For those turnovers Lantrip makes up for it in engineering the running attack. Lantrip only has 167 yards on the ground, but he runs the option very well and gets the ball to the running backs who gain the bulk of the yards on the ground. Nevada has Mike Ball and Stefphon Jefferson are the starting running backs and Ball has 397 yards and two touchdowns, and Jefferson is right behind Ball with 237 yards and one score.
If New Mexico can slow down the rushing offense and create a few turnovers then maybe something could happen for New Mexico. B.R. Holbrook gets the start for the second straight game after taking over for Tarean Austin, so perhaps with the extra time to practice with the starters Holbrook can provide a spark for New Mexico. New Mexico will need wide receiver/returner Deon Long to have a big game receiving and in the return game to help the stagnant New Mexico offense. Long is also a deep threat by averaging 18 yards per reception.
The running game needs to get something done against Nevada and New Mexico has chances to do that. Nevada is 88th in the nation rush defense by allowing 180 yards per game. Crusoe Gongbay and James Wright may have some wiggle room to pick up some yards.
Due to the nature of how New Mexico has performed this year and even the past few years there will need a lot to happen for New Mexico to pull off the upset to get their first win on the year.