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Lobo Pack: Utah State Preview

It’s now or never this season

New Mexico v Hawaii Photo by Darryl Oumi/Getty Images

What:

New Mexico Lobos vs. Utah State

When:

Thursday November 26th, 2020 at 5:00 p.m. MT

Where:

Maverik Stadium in Logan, UT

Series:

The series is tied at 13 wins a piece. Utah State has won the last three, however. The Aggies won last season in Albuquerque by a final of 38-25.

Coverage:

The game will be televised on Fox Sports 1 and Fox Sports Go. On the radio side the Lobo Sports Radio Network will have the call. The game will also be on the Lobo Sports App and on 770 AM/96.3 FM KKOB in Albuquerque.

Breakdown:

Two reeling teams will meet on Thanksgiving night as the New Mexico Lobos will visit the Utah State Aggies. Both teams come into the contest winless on the season. For Utah State, the season losses have seemed more magnified as they costed head coach Gary Anderson his job earlier this season. To top things off for the Aggies, they dismissed starting quarterback Jason Shelley almost two weeks ago.

The Lobos, on the other hand, lost to Air Force last Friday night by a final of 28-0. New Mexico failed to score despite Air Force turning the ball over three times deep in their own territory.

Trae Hall is once again going to start the game for UNM as Tevaka Tuioti remains in concussion protocol after missing the last two contests.

What to expect from Utah State:

This will be Utah State’s first contest since November 14th, as last week’s game against Wyoming was canceled due to COVID-19 issues within the Aggies program.

Prior to then the Aggies had dismissed starting quarterback Jason Shelley for violating team rules. It is expected that Andrew Peasley will get the start this week for the Aggies. It will be his first career start. Peasley has seen action in seven games in his career, all in games in which the Aggies were way ahead or way behind.

Peasley will look to attack UNM’s weak pass defense, but he’ll do that without top receiver Deven Thompkins who entered the transfer portal last week and ended up with Western Kentucky. Thompkins did have 20 catches for 214 yards and a touchdown on the season. Instead Peasley will look for Jordan Nathan and Justin McGriff. Nathan has just six catches on the campaign for 42 yards while McGriff has 10 catches for 80 yards and a touchdown.

The Aggies will rely on running back Jaylen Warren to shoulder a lot of the load on Thursday night. Warren went for 136 yards on nine carries with a touchdown in Utah State’s last game against Fresno State. The problem for Warren is that the Lobos are very tough against the run.

X-Factor for the Lobos:

This week’s x-factor will be the Lobos offense as a unit. This is the most winnable game that the Lobos will have this season and it will be up to the offense to make it happen. Last week the UNM defense put the offense in great field position numerous times in the second half, only for the offense to squander their opportunities.

The Lobos cannot afford to do the same this week. UNM needs to rely on their running game as the Aggies are allowing 204 yards rushing per game this season; that’s 8th out of 12 MWC teams and 100th of 126 teams in the country playing football this fall. A steady dose of Bobby Cole, Nathaniel Jones and Bryson Carroll should do the trick.

Prediction:

It won’t get any easier for the Lobo football team to win a game than this one is on paper. The Aggies have fired their coach, dismissed their starting quarterback and have had their leading receiver transfer. It is safe to say that if the Lobos do not win this contest, they will go winless in this first Danny Gonzales season.

That being said, I think the Lobos defense will come to play, and the offense will make enough plays this week to get it done. Expect a low scoring affair, but with the Lobos to win 24-7.