There is a little of a buzz in the air this September in Albuquerque as many believe that Bob Davie and the New Mexico Lobos football team can make a leap this year and go to a bowl game. The season starts as Lobo football has an opportunity to grab some of the attention away from the stronghold that Lobo basketball has on the city. If the Lobos are going to grab the fans attention it all starts Saturday and while Mississippi Valley State is not is not the best opponent I does allow the Lobos he opportunity to start the season with a win and build confidence going into the Tulsa game.
WEEK 1: New Mexico Lobos vs. Mississippi Valley State
WHEN: Saturday, September 5, 2015 6:05 PM, MST
WHERE: Branch Field at University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico (39,224)
2014 SEASON: New Mexico 4-8 (2-6 MWC), MVSU (2-9, 1-8 SWAC)
RADIO: New Mexico's Albuquerque radio affiliate is part of the Lobo Radio Network, 770 AM (KKOB).
WEB SITES: GoLobos.com, New Mexico's official athletic site and Mississippi Valley State official athletic site
What to watch - New Mexico:
1. Lobos quarterback situation: Lamar Jordan has been named the starter over Austin Apodaca but Coach Bob Davie has stated that both quarterbacks will play in the game. It is not known how many snaps each will receive and while each during the game and if the time share will continue beyond week one. Davie did mention that while each quarterback has separate strength he will not have to change the play calling based upon who is the game. This is a good sign for the Lobos and it means that Jordan has truly improved his passing and that Apodaca is getting comfortable running the triple option.
2. Jhurell Pressley: Pressley who is one of the best offensive players in the Mountain West Conference has been getting some attention in the offseason and with Teryion Gipson out for the game Pressley will have lots of chances to make big plays. Pressley who averaged 9.5 yards per carry is a game changer and if he can get a couple if big runs early it would open up the Lobos offense. Look for Pressley to have 100 to 150 yards in the Lobos opener.
3. Lobo Defense: It seems like a broken record but the defense will always be the key for the Lobos in 2014 they were one of the worst teams in almost every statistical category in the NCAA. If they do not improve this year the team will have no chance to go to a bowl game and while the team's offense will always be the team's strong point defense will be the difference in close games. A plus for the team's defensive leader Dakota Cox is expected to play Saturday but expect him to be limited in snaps. The coaching staff wants to be cautious with him coming off of ACL surgery.
4. The Trap: It's very easy for the Lobos to overlook the Delta Devils especially since they won just one game in a very week SWAC conference but the Lobos are not exactly a football power house and looking past any opponent at this point would be a mistake. This is a big game for the Delta Devils and they would like nothing more than to travel to the home field of a team from one of nation's better football conferences and go home with a win. Bob Davie is not the type of coach to let this happen but Lobo fans remember games against Portland and Sam Houston State so until the Lobos can build a comfortable lead expect them to be on the edge of their seat.
This game should be a win for the Lobos but nothing is a given, games like this are good for teams like the Lobos because it's all about confidence. Look for the Lobos to work out some of the new wrinkles in their offense and defense. Expect a lot of players to play which is exciting for Lobo fans because we will get out first glance at players like Delane Hart-Johnson. Expect lots of big plays and the Lobos to walk off with a 42 to 10 victory.