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An Eye On The Lobos: vs. Air Force Preview

NCAA Football: New Mexico at Colorado State Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

New Mexico at Air Force

Gametime: 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time

Television: CBS Sports Network

Radio: Lobo Radio Network. 770 AM/94.5 FM KKOB in Albuquerque

The New Mexico Lobos have a critical game Saturday as they look to keep their postseason hopes alive when they visit the Air Force Falcons on Saturday afternoon. The Lobos sit at 3-6 overall and need to win their final three contests to make bowl eligibility. It will be an uphill battle, with Wyoming and Boise State on the horizon for the Lobos, but first thing’s first the tilt with the Falcons.

The Lobos do have history on their sides, winning the last three versus Air Force, and four of the last five. Air Force is at 3-6 on the year as well, and 1-4 in the Mountain West Conference, same as the Lobos. So, something has to give in this one.

For the Lobos, Coltin Gerhart will get his second straight start. He struggled against San Diego State last week going 9-for-20 passing with 41 yards, two touchdowns, and one interception. He also had 18 yards on 14 carries during the 31-23 loss. Gerhart’s interception was a back breaker as the Lobos trailed 24-23 late in the fourth quarter last week.

If the Lobos want to win they will need a better output offensively than the last three weeks. The Lobos haven’t surpassed 300 total yards offense in the last three games, including juat 142 yards last week. It will be necessary for Gerhart to be able to find accuracy down field, or UNM will be one dimensional and Air Force will fill the box with defenders to shut down the run game. The key will be to get quick slants to Elijah Lilly and Delane Hart-Johnson to loosen up the defense, and finish it off with Tyrone Owens.

Defensively for the Lobos, if they can get a repeat of last week in the turnover category then the Lobos will have a shot. New Mexico’s defense forced three San Diego State turnovers, giving their offense plenty of help. The Lobos have struggled to slow down the Falcons over the years, this year might not be much different, but a few forced turnovers would go a long way to keep Air Force’s option offense off the field.

For the Falcons, they are led by fullback Cole Fagan, who has 523 rushing yards on the season with four touchdowns. Quarterback Isaiah Sanders is a great runner himself going for 466 yards this season, with six touchdowns to boot. The Lobos will also get a heavy dose of Kadin Remsberg, who is averaging over five yards a carry this season on 62 carries.

Defensively for the Falcons defensive end Jordan Jackson has been a menace for opposing offenses, garnering 9.5 tackles for loss this season. The Lobos will need to protect Gerhart from the constant harassment from Jackson. The Falcons also boast some tall defensive backs in Dalten Sutton and Zane Lewis, both at 6’1’’. So, playing the fade game the way they did last week might be out of the question this game for the Lobos.

The Lobos will need to figure out how to move the football with Gerhart at quarterback. If they are incapable, do not be surprised if Sheriron Jones sees some action in this game. Giving the situation the Lobos are in, and everything that is swirling around the program, the Lobos will no doubt try to throw everything they have the next three games, as it very well could be the last three contests for this coaching regime unless they are able to get three straight wins.