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Lobo Pack: Wyoming Game Preview and Prediction

Off to Laramie

Colorado State v New Mexico Photo by Sam Wasson/Getty Images

What:

New Mexico Lobos vs. Wyoming Cowboys

When:

Saturday October 23rd, 2021, at 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time

Where:

War Memorial Stadium in Laramie, Wyoming

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:

Wyoming leads the series with a 38-35 edge. Last season the Lobos were able to come away with a 17-16 win in a game that was played in Las Vegas.

Breakdown:

The Lobos will be looking to break their five-game losing streak when they pay a visit to the Wyoming Cowboys on Saturday afternoon in Laramie.

Last week the Lobos were blown out at home by the Colorado State Rams by a final of 36-7. That loss dropped UNM to 2-5 on the season and 0-3 in Mountain West Conference play.

The Cowboys of Wyoming are 4-2 on the season and 0-2 in the Mountain West Conference.

Last week Wyoming lost its second straight game, this one to Fresno State in Laramie by a final of 17-0.

What to expect on offense from New Mexico:

Last week UNM had their worst offensive production of the season. Scoring zero points on offense and were held to just 69 yards of total offense while losing 36-7.

The zero points on offense was the third time in the last five games that the Lobos have not scored on offense. The lone New Mexico touchdown came on a Luke Wysong 63-yard punt return.

Freshman CJ Montes got the start at quarterback for UNM last week due to Terry Wilson’s elbow injury that he was recovering from. Montes was 3-of-19 for 11 yards and two interceptions in his first start.

This week the quarterback situation remains unclear. Head Coach Danny Gonzales said earlier this week that if Wilson is ready to go that he will start. Gonzales said if Wilson is not ready, Isaiah Chavez or Montes will compete during practice and one will be chosen to start on Saturday.

Whoever starts, the Lobos should try to run a bit more. Last week Aaron Dumas carried the ball 14 times for 68 yards, showing flashes of what made him an All-District running back in high school when he played in El Paso.

What to expect on defense from New Mexico:

Almost as equally struggling as the offense is the Lobo defense. Granted, much of that could be because the defense has been on the field a ton over the last five games.

Last week UNM’s defense allowed 452 yards of offense to Colorado State. It was the third time this season that the Lobos have allowed more than 400 yards of offense, all games in which New Mexico lost.

The Wyoming quarterback situation is as hazy as UNM’s. Sean Chambers was benched in the loss to Fresno State last week after going 8-for-23 for 111 yards with three interceptions. His replacement, Levi Williams, didn’t fair any better, going 1-for-7 for 32 yards and an interception.

Whomever the Cowboys start at quarterback, the Lobos need to get pressure on them to make mistakes in the passing game, that will allow UNM to focus on slowing down the Cowboys’ rushing attack.

Speaking of that rushing attack, UNM fans should know the name Xazavian Valladay, the Cowboys leading rusher. Valladay did not play in last season’s game but did play in the 2019 meeting and went for 127 yards and a touchdown. In 2018, Valladay had 192 yards and two touchdowns against UNM.

Needless to say, the focus will need to be on stopping Valladay.

What to expect from Wyoming:

The Cowboys have lost two in a row and will be hungry to turn things around heading into this game.

As mentioned above, the Cowboys have their own quarterbacking issues. Whoever is quarterbacking they will need a lot of help from the surrounding cast members.

Valladay has 471 yards on the ground this season but has only broken 100 yards twice this season. Valladay was held to just 35 yards last week against Fresno State. He will no doubt be looking for more given his success against UNM. Titus Swen will also get some carries, he had just 36 yards against Fresno State.

Whoever is quarterbacking will be looking for Isaiah Neyor and Ayden Eberhardt in the passing game. Neyor and Eberhardt both have 18 catches on the season. Neyor has 300 yards on the season and four touchdowns, while Eberhardt has 255 yards on the year but has yet to find the endzone.

Expect Wyoming to lean on the running game, as it usually has under Craig Bohl.

Prediction:

This is going to be an interesting one. These are two teams that appear heading in the same direction, unfortunately that direction appears to be down.

Wyoming is 4-2 on the season but have struggled of late. And New Mexico cannot seem to find their footing offensively.

This might be a game where there are more punts than points. However, I feel as though the Lobos might be able to put it together against a struggling Wyoming team, so I’m calling for the upset. I’ll take New Mexico-20 Wyoming-17.