Utah State wants to get back to it and take the sour taste out of their mouths after a blow out loss in a crucial game to Wyoming. After leading the division last week, Utah State has a very small chance of making it to the conference championship game, needing both Air Force and Boise State to lose this weekend. Utah State will be looking to get back to their winning ways against New Mexico and will have to leave the rest to chance.
Utah State at New Mexico
Location: Albuquerque, New Mexico
Line: Utah State (-16)
Date/time: Friday, November 26th
Head-to-Head: Utah State is 14-13 all time against New Mexico. The Aggies won last years matchup in Logan 41-27 and have won four straight against the Lobos. The last time New Mexico won was in a 2016 game in Logan, where the Lobos came out victorious 24-21. New Mexico had also won the year before in Albuquerque 14-13. The longest winning streak in the series is tied for each team at four with New Mexico winning four straight from 1956-1959.
Three Keys to Victory
1. Don’t turn the ball over
If you don’t turn the ball over, you stand a better chance of winning. That’s pretty obvious. Utah State turned the ball over three times against Wyoming and overall this year, the Aggies have had a major problem turning the ball over, especially in big games in critical situations. The Aggies need to remember that they are not out of the running for the Mountain West title yet, but they do have to beat New Mexico on the road.
2. Stop the run
Wyoming rushed for 362 yards as an offense and Titus Swen accounted for 169 of those yards and two touchdowns. For a defense that gave up only 12 yards rushing to San Jose State the week before, this is very concerning, especially since New Mexico can take advantage of running the ball. This is where New Mexico’s big plays can come from so Utah State needs to be prepared to stop those big plays in the run game.
3. Find consistency on offense
Utah State went 5-15 on third downs and 0-4 on fourth downs against Wyoming. If the Aggies want to keep the Lobos off the field and the defense rested, those numbers need to improve. It is a little bit concerning that despite putting up 362 yards of offense, the Aggies still only put up 17 points. Utah State has struggled in the red-zone this season and that is an area where they need to find consistency. Logan Bonner also threw the ball 40 times but only had 19 completions for an average of 4.3 yards, which isn’t very good or consistent at all.
The Aggies certainly took a hard hit last week with a blow out loss to Wyoming and they are now in a position where they not only need to take care of business themselves, but they must also hope that Boise State and Air Force lose. If either one of those teams wins, Utah State doesn’t get in and unfortunately for the Aggies, it isn’t very likely that both teams lose.
Despite this, I would expect Utah State to come out with some life in their final regular season game and do what they can to put themselves into position to potentially secure a division title.
Score Prediction: Utah State: 38; New Mexico: 17