For the third straight week, the Falcons will meet a rebuilding team led by a transfer quarterback as they take on New Mexico in Albuquerque, starting at 4:30 MT on FS2.
QB Terry Wilson came to the Lobos from Kentucky, where he started for two years and led the team to 17-8 record and completed 65% of his passes. The Lobos feature a balanced attack with running backs Aaron Dumas and Bobby Cole, and receivers Luke Wysong and Manny Logan-Green as the primary targets. Logan-Green is also the team’s primary return man for both kickoffs and punt returns, and has been excellent in that role, averaging 31.8 yard per kickoff return and 42.5 yards in two punt returns.
Both teams come in to the game with question marks about player availability. Last week, the Lobos were missing six receivers due to Covid protocols including Logan-Greene, and it is unclear if they will be out for protocols for this game.
The Falcons don’t release injury reports but were missing their first and second string centers last week, and tight end Kyle Patterson is likely sitting out this game at the least. David Cormier will sit out with an upper leg injury and on defense, TD Blackmon will also sit out.
The Falcons have made excellent strides on offense the last couple weeks. The offensive line, although not yet as dominant as last year’s line, and after a shaky start, has been very sound on it’s execution and all the skill positions are manned by playmakers, who are good contributors without the ball. Take a look at these two touchdowns and watch the how every position is involved in making the plays happen.
He won't be stopped @Brad27_27 adds 6⃣ more to the board! pic.twitter.com/DYiSKYkGYO— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) September 26, 2021
Man on a mission ‼️@ziiqq3 runs 94 yards for a new school record and an Air Force touchdown pic.twitter.com/pLfn8Fl7sK— Air Force Football (@AF_Football) September 26, 2021
Blocking like this puts the Falcons right where they want to be offensively. There might be some defenses in the Mountain West that can disrupt this, but I don’t think New Mexico will be able to do it consistently, notwithstanding that Rocky Long is their defensive coordinator. Pair this with an average 25 yards per pass completion, and it should put the Falcons in position to win a lot of games in the future. New Mexico has shown a good defense against the run, allowing only 77 yards per game and a 2.7 yards per rush average, so another 400 yard game may not happen, but 300 is not out of the question. I would advise the Falcons to remember what happened last year against New Mexico and hold onto the ball.
Certainly though, the defense has not yet convinced us of it’s prowess. They did hold FAU to 7 points in this game, but N’Kosi Perry had an uncharacteristically inaccurate game, and it wasn’t all from coverage and the pass rush. The coverage improved from previous weeks, and Trey Taylor and Jayden Goodwin stepped up nicely last game. Corvan Taylor positions himself so well that it always looks like the quarterback is passing to him when he makes an interception. It would be nice if some of the other DBs could add to the interception total.
Terry Wilson is a proven quarterback talent, and Air Force will likely not be able to shut the passing game down. The key will be to minimize the damage and force a few turnovers or make key stops to give the offense another opportunity to score.
The current Vegas line has the Falcons favored by 10.5 points with the over/under at 45.5 points.
I think the Falcons can continue their ground game dominance and New Mexico will be able to take advantage of Falcon’s secondary to make the game closer than expected; the Falcons will win 31-21. Take the over and take New Mexico +10.5.