With last week's win over Air Force, the Lobos climbed back to .500 and this week they'll look to move one step closer to bowl eligibility for a second straight year. With games still against Wyoming, Colorado State, and Nevada, the Louisiana-Monroe game could be as sure of a win as they can get. But how sure of a win is it?
The Warhawks are coming off of a big 40-34 win last week over Texas State. Running backs Duke Carter and Ben Luckett each went for over 100 yards rushing. Backup quarterback Will Collins did an admirable job filling in for the injured starter by throwing for two touchdown passes. And they bolster two intriguing linebackers in Chase Day and David Griffith. Those two will be key for the Warhawks to stop the Lobos' run game.
However, two linebackers do not make a defense. The Warhawks give up 5.2 yards per rush and they face the second-best running team in the nation. Teriyon Gipson has torched defenses for 140-plus yards in three of the four games he has played. He is averaging 13.5 yards per carry. And that's just the beginning. Tyrone Owens has strung together 100 yard games in two of the last three. And Lamar Jordan is always a threat behind center.
If there were ever a team predicated on the run, it is the University of New Mexico. Against ULM, the Lobos will wear down the defense, own time of possession, and run until the wheels come off.
If the Warhawks have a chance, it is because UNM's defense has left much to be desired this season. They have given up 36.6 points per game which is abominable for a team hoping to play in a bowl game. Opposing offenses have especially used the passing game, to the tune of 250 yards per game, to take advantage of the Lobos defense. The Lobos pass coverage has struggled all season and it is paramount that they get it under control going forward.
This game will be shown on Root Sports and is the first ever matchup between the two universities. I expect that the Lobos will pull out the victory behind a strong dose of the triple option and home field advantage.