Saturday, November 24th at 12:30 PM (Mountain)
A lot of history in this one. These two teams have met on the football field 70 times. New Mexico has won 34 times while Wyoming has won 36 times. Obviously, this has been a very even series through the years, In more recent history, it has also been very even. In the last 12 meetings, New Mexico has won 6 of those games while Wyoming has also won 6 times.
With Sean Chambers now out for the year at QB, the Cowboys offense turns back to Tyler Vander Waal. Under Vander Waal, Wyoming will throw the ball a little more as Vander Waal is not the running threat that Chambers is. However, the Wyoming offense is still a run-first offense, and that offense is led by Nico Evans, the MWC rushing leader. Nico Evans suffered an ankle injury early in the Air Force game that took him out of that game. Currently, Evans is considered day-to-day. Hopefully, he’ll be able to go on Saturday. In any event, Wyoming will run the ball as the Cowboys have the 52nd ranked rushing offense - compared to the 121st ranked passing offense. The New Mexico defense is not very good. The Lobos have the 103rd ranked rushing defense and 121st ranked passing defense. Wyoming should be able to move the ball against them.
On defense, the Cowboys will be going up against a New Mexico offense that is also run-first. New Mexico has the the 74 ranked rushing offense - compared to the 102nd ranked passing offense. Meanwhile, Wyoming has the 38th ranked rushing defense and the 49th ranked passing defense. As long as Wyoming can contain the running game better than they did against Air Force, the matchup appears to favor the Cowboys.
Wyoming is 5-6. The Cowboys have a shot at 6-6 and bowl eligibility. New Mexico is 3-8. However, the Lobos will be playing for pride as Saturday is their Senior Day. Wyoming is playing with a 2nd-string QB and could be without Nico Evans. Overall, I think the game goes one of two ways, so my final outcome prediction of the regular season will cover a couple possibilities:
One, Nico Evans is able to play and provides the Cowboys with enough running game to move the ball and score points. Wyoming wins the game behind their running game and some good defense. The Cowboys reach bowl eligibility.
Wyoming 27, New Mexico 17
Two, Nico Evans does not play. The Wyoming offense led by a 2nd-string QB and backup running back(s) struggles for much of the game, and the game becomes a low-scoring affair where whoever wins the turnover margin probably sneaks out with the victory. That means the Cowboys escape New Mexico with a win and bowl eligibility, or New Mexico finishes the season with a feel-good win on Senior Day.
Wyoming 17, New Mexico 13 or Wyoming 13, New Mexico 17