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Lobo Pack: Nevada Preview

Home away from home

New Mexico v Hawaii Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

The New Mexico Lobos will play what will be considered a home game when they entertain the Nevada Wolf Pack at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada on Saturday.

Game Time:

Kickoff will be at 4:30 p.m. MT/3:30 PT.

Coverage:

The game will be televised nationally on Fox Sports 2/Fox Sports Go App. Radio will be the Lobo Radio Network/Lobo Sports App/770 AM and 96.3 FM KKOB in Albuquerque.

Series:

This is only the eighth time the two schools have met on the gridiron. The Wolf Pack own a 4-3-1 series edge and won last season 24-10.

Breakdown:

This game was originally supposed to be played in Albuquerque, but due to the public health orders that are in place the game will be played in Las Vegas, where the Lobos are calling home this season. The Lobos are 0-2 and coming off a 39-33 loss to Hawai’i a week ago. That loss was the 11th straight for New Mexico dating back to last season. Nevada, on the other hand, comes into this contest with a 3-0 record and last week pounded Utah State, 34-9, in Reno. The Wolf Pack are just one of three teams that are still undefeated in Mountain West Conference Play.

UNM quarterback Tevaka Tuioti will miss this contest due to a concussion suffered late in the Hawai’i game last Saturday. Trae Hall will get the start. He started the season finale last year against Utah State. In that game Hall was 10-for-21 for 107 yards passing and two touchdowns. He also threw two interceptions. Hall also added 115 yards on the ground on 22 carries with two touchdowns as well in that contest.

What to watch for from Nevada:

The one New Mexico defensive Achilles heel is pass defense, and pass offense is what Nevada specializes in this season. UNR quarterback Carson Strong loves to sling it around. He enters this contest completing 73% of his passes, has 1,181 yards on the season with nine touchdowns and has yet to throw an interception. Last game out, Strong was 36-of-52 for 411 yards and three touchdowns.

Running back Toa Taua should also be a weapon. He ran for 107 yards and a touchdown against Utah State last week. Also adding seven catches for 45 yards in that contest too. Taua is a quick back that the Lobos will need to account for.

Lobos X-Factor:

This has been said a lot, and hopefully not too much more often, but the x-factor for the Lobos this week will be the pass defense. New Mexico is giving up just 96 yards rushing a game this season, it has been their passing defense that has dropped the defense to 121st out of 123 teams in the country in yards allowed.

Last week the Lobos gave up 410 yards passing and that mixed with Carson Strong’s passing ability makes this one tough matchup on that side for UNM. The Lobos would have won last week had they not given up so many big plays in the passing game and that will be the same this week. If the Lobos can limit Nevada to around 300 yards passing, then they should have a chance at winning.

Prediction:

The Lobos continue to improve every week. The youth is getting more game experience on both sides of the ball and haven’t disappointed too much. This game will again test the Lobos ability to defend the pass. Until they can prove it, I wouldn’t put too much stock into that yet. Carson Strong I feel will make just enough plays to keep Nevada undefeated. I got Nevada-35 Lobos-28.