New Mexico Lobos vs. Texas A&M Aggies
Saturday September 18th, 2021 at 10:00 a.m. Mountain Time
Where: Kyle Field in College Station, Texas
Coverage: The game will be broadcasted on television on the SEC Network. The Lobo Sports Radio Network will have the radio call. The flagship station is 770 AM/96.3 FM KKOB in Albuquerque.
This is the 5th time the Lobos and Aggies will have met on the gridiron. Texas A&M has a 4-0 series advantage. Last time these two got together was in 2017, Texas A&M cruised to a 55-14 victory.
The UNM Lobos will pay a visit to the #7 team in the country on Saturday when they face off with the Texas A&M Aggies. The Lobos are 2-0 entering the contest, coming off a 34-25 win over in-state rival New Mexico State last weekend. Texas A&M also comes in at 2-0, winning last week in Denver against the Colorado Buffaloes, 10-7.
What to expect from Texas A&M:
Texas A&M is deep and talented at seemingly every position. I mean, there’s a reason as to why they are #7 in the country.
Last week, starting quarterback Haynes King went down with a broken leg in the win over Colorado. Zach Calzada stepped in and got enough done to get the win; going 18-for-38 183 yards and found running back Isaiah Spiller from 18 yards out with 2:41 to plat to escape with the win.
Although he might be the backup, Calzada is still talented enough to throw the ball up and down the field. He’ll be looking for Jalen Wydermyer and Ainias Smith the most in the passing game. Wydermyer hauled in four catches for 66 yards against Colorado last week, while Smith is the leading receiver this season to date, catching 11 passes for 119 yards and two touchdowns. Calzada will also depend a bunch on his running backs in the passing game. The aforementioned Spiller had six catches for 56 yards and the touchdown that was mentioned earlier. Devon Achane added three catches for 24 yards.
Speaking of Spiller and Achane, they will be a one-two punch out of the backfield. They struggled against Colorado, combining for just 70 yards on 17 carries. Calzada is also not afraid to run the ball, so the Lobos will have their work cut out for them on defense trying to slow down the Aggies.
Defensively, the Aggies are just as stout as they are on offense. Up front, the Aggies have DeMarvin Leal, Jayden Peevy and Shemar Turner that disrupt offenses with regularity. Turner leads the Aggies with 1.5 sacks on the season.
In the defensive backfield, Antonio Johnson appears headed for SEC honors this season. He has 15 tackles and two pass breakups this season. Lobo quarterback Terry Wilson Jr. will want to keep it away from Johnson in this one.
What to expect from the Lobos:
As vaunted as the Aggies defense appears to be, there are some holes that UNM can exploit.
The Aggies are allowing 198 yards rushing per game. There are only 20 teams that are worse than that in the NCAA. So, the Lobos should try to get Bobby Cole and Aaron Dumas going early and that should open up the passing game a bit.
On defense, the Lobos will be trying to confuse Calzada all game. Colorado was able to take away the Aggies run game and Calzada wasn’t the most accurate passer after that. The Lobos should employ this same strategy to see if they can force some turnovers, or at least incompletions.
Coach Gonzales Thoughts
“We have to play physical, mean, nasty football,” Gonzales said about how the Lobos will need to play against Texas A&M. “If we are we’ll have a chance.”
“We’re going to rotate more on defense,” Gonzales said on the game plan for this week. “We’re putting our best players out there who give us the best chance to win.”
Wilson honored twice
Quarterback Terry Wilson Jr. was honored twice this week for his performance against New Mexico State last week.
Wilson’s 381 passing yard and three touchdown performance against the Aggies led to him receiving the Mountain West Offensive player of the week honors along with the Manning Award quarterback of the week.
The Lobos will undoubtedly need to bring their A-game in order to even have a chance in this one. Wilson is a former SEC quarterback and has seen this A&M team before. In 2018 Wilson went 13-for-20 for 108 yards in a 20-14 Kentucky loss to A&M. Wilson has the talent to hang with the Aggies, the question is can the others?
If the Lobos can pressure Calzada, shut down the running game and get their own running game going, they can be in it.
I think the Lobos main goal should be to come out of this healthy because they have a great shot to go bowling in December. I like the Lobos to keep it somewhat close early, and then A&M’s depth to take over in the second half. I got Texas A&M-38 Lobos-17.