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Lobo Pack: Colorado State Game Preview And Prediction

Lobos back in town

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: OCT 09 New Mexico at San Diego State Photo by Justin Fine/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

What:

Colorado State Rams vs. New Mexico Lobos

When:

Saturday October 16th, 2021, at 5:00 p.m. Mountain Time

Where:

University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico

Coverage:

TV: The game will be streamed on Stadium, which is available online along at social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

Radio: Fans can catch the game on the Lobo Sports Radio Network. The flagship station in Albuquerque is 770 AM/96.3 FM KKOB.

Series:

Colorado State has the series lead at 42-25. The Rams have also won 10 in a row versus the Lobos. The last Lobo win was in 2009 when Mike Locksley was the head coach at UNM.

Breakdown:

The Lobos will be looking to break their four-game losing streak on Saturday night when they host the Colorado State Rams in Mountain West Conference action.

The Lobos come into this contest off a 31-7 loss to San Diego State last weekend. That loss dropped UNM to 2-4 on the season and 0-2 in MWC play.

The Rams, on the other hand, hammered the San Jose State Spartans 32-14 last week in Fort Collins to push their record to 2-3 overall and 1-0 in MWC play.

What to expect on offense:

The New Mexico running game has disappeared here in 2021. In three out of the last four games the Lobos have rushed for less than 100 yards, including the last two games in which the Lobos ran for 47 yards against Air Force and 66 last week against San Diego State.

Colorado State allows very little on the ground on defense. Last week the Rams allowed 113 yards rushing, but in the game prior to that against the Iowa Hawkeyes, who are now #2 in the country, the Rams gave up just 54 yards rushing.

Given those facts, one should expect the Lobos to have a little difficulty on the ground and turn to airing it out more. Do not expect the Lobos to give up on the ground game so easily, however. New Mexico did have 34 rushes against San Diego State last week, so even with futility, the Lobos will still try as they might.

That means that New Mexico will need to lean heavily on quarterback play. With that said, the question is who will be at quarterback on Saturday night? Terry Wilson dislocated his elbow against San Diego State last week and is looking to be a game-time decision. If Wilson cannot play against the Rams, UNM will turn to freshman CJ Montes to take the reins. Montes did see some action against SDSU last week and is known to be a pocket passing quarterback.

Last week fans got to see Trae Hall convert over to wide receiver to help with depth. With Hall out there as well, Lobo fans can expect some trickeration from the offense.

What to expect on defense:

The New Mexico rush defense has also struggled the past two contests. Two weeks ago, against Air Force, UNM allowed 408 yards on the ground. Last week, the Aztecs went for 203 yards rushing. These are the only two times this season that the Lobos have given up more than 155 yards on the ground. New Mexico needs to get back to stuffing the run if they want a chance on winning this game.

Linebacker Reco Hannah, who has missed the last five games following surgery on a knee-injury, is expected to return this week. Head Coach Danny Gonzales said he will use Hannah in three more games this season in order to keep Hannah eligible for a medical redshirt. Hannah did have six tackles and one sack in the season opening win over Houston Baptist.

What to expect from Colorado State:

This CSU team is much better than their 2-3 record shows. The Rams lost by just three to the Vanderbilt Commodores in Nashville, after leading 14-7 at halftime. And in that game, CSU outgained Vandy 445 to 340. On September 25th, the Rams held another 14-7 halftime lead, this time in Iowa City against Iowa. The Rams ended up losing that one 24-14. Colorado State showed out last week, leading at one point 32-7 over San Jose State before giving up a late touchdown that brought the score to 32-14.

On offense, CSU loves to keep things balanced. The Rams average 215 yards passing while averaging 170 yards on the ground.

Todd Centeio leads the Rams offense from the quarterback spot. He is a dual threat, having gone 203 yards on the ground this season and has rushed at least six times in each game this season. He’s also completed nearly 60% of his passes this season for 1,039 yards with five touchdowns and just one interception. Against San Jose State, Centeio went 19-for-23 for 232 yards and one touchdown and added 37 yards on six carries.

Centeio will look for Trey McBride the most on Saturday. McBride has caught six passes in each contest this season and has 42 in total. The next closest receiver has only 12 receptions. McBride has only one touchdown on the season, so he will be hungry to get in the endzone some more.

On the ground, the Rams expect running back David Bailey to return to action. Bailey missed last week’s game against San Jose State after sustaining an injury against Iowa. Bailey ran for 132 yards against Toledo this season. Expect Bailey to get a big bulk of the carries out of the backfield.

As discussed above, the Rams play really good run defense, allowing just 107 yards on average per game. The Rams’ defense is allowing 222 yards passing per game, so if there is one area that the Lobos can exploit, it will be in the passing game.

Linebacker Dequan Jackson leads the way for the CSU defense, having racked up 47 tackles on the season. Jackson will be in on most plays. Lineman Scott Patchan and linebacker Mohamed Kamara love to meet at the quarterback. Both have three and a half sacks so far on the season, so the Lobos will need to make sure to block both of those guys to allow Wilson or Montes enough time to throw.

Prediction:

New Mexico is in a bind right now. Having lost four games in a row, sitting at 2-4 on the season, there may not be a huge turnout for the game Saturday crowd wise. Which is unfortunate given the fact that DonTrell Moore will be inducted into the Lobo Ring of Honor on Saturday.

That may be the only bright spot on Saturday because I don’t see this Lobo team and their struggles overcoming a tough Colorado State team. The Rams defense is solid enough to contain the Lobo offense, which has not scored a single point in the last two games, and the Rams are getting their top running back returning from injury. The UNM defense has been asked too much and that will continue this week and it will not turn out good again. I have the Rams-38 Lobos-20.