Maine Black Bears vs. New Mexico Lobos
University Stadium in Albuquerque, NM
Saturday September 3rd, 2022, at 6:00 p.m.
The game will be shown My50-TV in New Mexico. On the radio waves it will be carried on the Lobo Sports Radio Network, 96.3 FM/770 AM in Albuquerque.
This is the first ever meeting between the two schools.
The New Mexico Lobos will kickoff their 2022 season when they square off with the Main Black Bears on Saturday night in Albuquerque.
Year number three of Danny Gonzales brings very little expectations outside of Albuquerque, but brings change and optimism to the Duke City, with a new offense, a new quarterback, and a new outlook by fans.
The Lobos ended last season 3-9, while the Main Black Bears finished 6-5 in 2021.
New Mexico comes into the contest as seven-point favorites on DraftKings Sportbook.
The Lobos brings in a new offense for the 2022 season, going with the triple option attack that was similar to what Bob Davie ran in his time as the head coach in Albuquerque.
To lead the way for the new offense will be Miles Kendrick, a transfer from Kansas. Kendrick beat out CJ Montes for the starting role. Kendrick saw action in 17 games at Kansas, starting four of those games.
At running back, Nathaniel Jones was supposed to be making his return to the team after leaving during the 2021 season. Jones’ time will have to wait as he is not listed on the depth chart for what Coach Gonzales says is an internal matter. Sherod White will be getting the start in the backfield.
Luke Wysong and Austin Erickson will look to lead the receiving corps in this contest on Saturday.
This may be the most improved unit on the team. Coming back is Reco Hannah, the super senior linebacker that took a medical redshirt last season. Expect Hannah’s name to get called a lot this season, including in this contest.
The defensive backfield may be the most talented the Lobos have had under Gonzales. Tavian Combs and Jerrick Reed will lead the way with five other starters from last year’s team returning.
What to expect from Maine:
The Black Bears quarterback Joe Fangano is a player who doesn’t make mistakes. Health could be another question. Fangano missed seven games last season but returned late in the season to help them knock off UMass for the fourth ever win for the school over an FBS team.
Maine has four running backs that can carry the load. Led by Joe Fitzpatrick and Buffalo transfer Emmanuel Reed, who both combined for 998 yards last season. Expect a heavy dose of both on Saturday.
On defense, the Black Bears have five players with starting experience that are returning on the defensive line. This will be a critical unit in stopping the Lobos running game, along with getting pressure on Kendrick. At linebacker, Maine will boast tackling machines Adrian Otero and Xavier Nurse.
At allowing 307 yards per game last season, the Maine defense is under the microscope to improve. Expect a lot of early blitzes and disguises to confuse the Lobo offense.
Final Thoughts and Prediction:
The Lobos on paper shouldn’t have too much of a hard time with Maine. However, this is a team that returns 15 starters from last season’s team and has that experience in key positions.
The Lobos need to start quick to get Maine on their heals and give them some confidence. As with any FCS foe, the more they hang around, the better they will feel about their chances of winning. With a seven-point spread, I think it will end around that. I’ll take the Lobos-28 Maine-21.