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Lobo Pack: Air Force Game Preview

Conference Opener

New Mexico v Texas A&M Photo by Alex Bierens de Haan/Getty Images

What:

New Mexico Lobos vs. Air Force Falcons

When:

Saturday October 2nd, 2021 at 4:30 p.m. Mountain Time

Where:

University Stadium in Albuquerque, NM

Coverage:

The game will be televised on Fox Sports 2. On the radio waves it will be carried on the UNM Sports Radio Network. Flagship station is 770 AM/96.3 FM in Albuquerque.

Series:

Air Force owns a 24-14 series advantage. Last year the Falcons beat the Lobos 28-0 in Colorado Springs.

Breakdown:

The New Mexico Lobos will look to get back to their winning ways when they host the Air Force Falcons on Saturday evening in Albuquerque. The Lobos are in the midst of a two-game losing streak, having been beaten by Texas A&M, and last weekend being defeated by the UTEP Miners by a final of 20-13.

The Lobos have an uphill climb if they want to go to a bowl game this season. Sitting at 2-2 on the year and still a tough Mountain West Conference schedule ahead. A win on Saturday would go a long way into restoring that hope for the postseason, while a loss would almost assuredly make it impossible for UNM to go bowling. That is how big of a game this is, even with it being early October.

The Falcons come into this contest with a record of 3-1 and are 0-1 in Mountain West Conference play. Air Force defeated Florida Atlantic last week by a final of 31-7. Their lone loss on the season is a 49-45 decision at the hands of Utah State on September 18th.

What to expect from Air Force:

It will be no surprise to New Mexico fans on what Air Force will run on offense; the triple option.

Quarterback Haaziq Daniels will be the focal point of the triple option attack. Daniels has 64 carries on the year for 389 yards and seven touchdowns. The top running back for the Falcons is Brad Roberts, who has 398 yards on 88 carries this season, with three touchdowns.

Roberts and Daniels aren’t the only ones who will see the ball out of the backfield. Receiver Micah Davis has 27 carries on the season with 239 yads and four touchdowns. Davis is also the Falcons leading receiver, having caught eight passes for 188 yards and one touchdown on the year. Emmanuel Michel is the fullback in the option who will also see the ball. Against Utah State he had 11 carries for 133 yards and two touchdowns.

The triple option is always a unique threat and this year will be no different for the Falcons. The Lobos defense will need to stay in their gaps in order to have success against the option attack.

On defense, Lobo fans will hear Vince Sanford called the most. He has 16 tackles on the season to lead the way for USAFA. Linebacker Demonte Meeks is also someone that can wreak havoc on the UNM offense. Meeks has two and a half sacks on the season. Meeks also has 14 tackles and will be around the ball seemingly on every play.

When Terry Wilson is passing, he needs to be wary of safety Corvan Taylor. Taylor has three interceptions on the season. He has an interception in all but one contest this season, and reacts extremely well to everything happening around him.

What to expect from the Lobos:

The Lobos are coming off a disappointing loss to UTEP in which they lead 13-3 at half time. Head Coach Danny Gonzales said after the game that the team had lost some excitement in the community following the loss. A loss in which he thought the Lobos were still the better team.

New Mexico was down its six leading receivers against UTEP due to contact tracing for COVID-19. That showed on the field against the Miners as quarterback Terry Wilson was 16-for-38 for 160 yards and an interception. If the Lobos can get some receivers back for this contest, Wilson should have an easier time throwing the ball, which was something that was huge in the two wins that UNM has.

With that being said, Coach Gonzales did say this week that he doesn’t want the team to be a drop back and pass team. So, with that in mind, we could very well see a lot more of the run this week. Expect Bobby Cole and Aaron Dumas to have the number of carries upped a bit this weekend.

Final Thoughts and Prediction:

The Lobos will be hungry in this game given what happened last week. Air Force is the number one rushing team in the country and the Lobos are expected to run the ball more this time around. I fully expect this game to be a grind it out style of game. If the Lobos get some of their receivers back, this could sway in their direction. As of now, though, I expect this one to go the way of the Falcons. I got Falcons-24 Lobos-20.