San Diego State Aztecs (2-3, 1-1 Mountain West) at New Mexico Lobos (2-3, 0-1 Mountain West)
Game time: 6:30 p.m. Pacific Time, 9:30 p.m. Eastern Time
TV: ESPNU, WatchESPN
Radio: SDSU broadcast is on The Max 105.7 FM and The Mighty 1090 AM.
UNM broadcast is on the Lobo Radio Network (Sirius 93/XM 201).
Odds: SDSU is favored by 4 points.
Previews: Will freshman quarterback Nick Bawden bounce back? / Q&A with the Albuquerque Journal about New Mexico football / Three reasons why the Lobos will beat San Diego State
Keys to the game:
SDSU: Can Nick Bawden make the plays when he needs to?
SDSU running backs Donnel Pumphrey and Chase Price will need a serious ice bath after tonight's game. Playing with a true freshman quarterback against the third-worst rush defense in the country, the two backs will most likely run the ball about six or seven out of every 10 plays. But in order to make these effective, freshman quarterback Nick Bawden needs to pose at least a slight threat to the Lobos' defense. For the most part against last week at Fresno State, Bawden didn't pose one, completing only nine of 24 passes for 84 yards. If he learns from last week and completes some nice passes when his number is called tonight, Pumphrey and Price should be able to lead SDSU to its second conference win.
UNM: Complete more than 10 passes
UNM quarterbacks have averaged just 10.8 passes per game, but they really don't need to pass much in the Lobos 'triple-option offense. In fact, almost 80 percent of UNM's total offense has come on the ground this year and the Lobos gain the fifth-most rush yards per game in the country. As effective as UNM's triple option can be, it's pitted against one of the MWC's best rush defenses tonight. SDSU allows just 126.6 rushing yards per game, good for 37th in the country and fourth in the conference. But SDSU's pass defense lacks experience and allows 243 passing yards per game--that's 70th in the country. UNM will no doubt run the ball more than it passes, but it should also play to the opponent's weakness and toss some passes here and there. If the Lobo quarterbacks maintain or surpass their season average in passes, UNM has a chance for the upset.