The Lobos defeated the UTEP Miners on Saturday night by a final of 27-10. The win gets UNM to 2-1 on the season, still 0-1 in the Mountain West. Nonetheless, the victory gets New Mexico within four games of being bowl eligible. Let us take a look back on the takeaways from Saturday’s win.
Through three games it is very obvious that the defense is going to be one of the top units in the Mountain West Conference.
After forcing seven UTEP turnovers, the Lobos are now plus-six in turnover differential so far this season. The turnovers only led to seven points for UNM, but it kept the Miners offense off the field. New Mexico had a 36:33 to 23:27 advantage in time of possession due in large part to the high number of turnovers.
The rushing game came to life for UNM during the contest as well. New Mexico ran the ball for 188 yards on 45 carries, led by Nathaniel Jones, who had 83 yards on 21 rushes and had a touchdown run as well.
The rushing attack will come in very handy this season to keep the ball away from the opposition.
Despite the rushing game success, the passing game did struggle for the second week in a row.
Miles Kendrick was an efficient 13-for-19, but it was just for 111 yards, and had one interception.
This is how Coach Gonzales wanted this offense to playout, leaning on the run game a little more than the pass, however, becoming one dimensional on offense will hurt the Lobos in the long run.
Considering that UNM was outgained 353-299 and went 3-for-15 on third downs, shows that the turnovers in this game masked the passing struggles.
Ball control is the name of the game for UNM on offense, but a bit more consistency from the passing game would help on third and long situations, and possibly turn some of those third downs into third and shorts with some solid gains on second down.
New Mexico will take to the road for the first time this season on Saturday night when they pay LSU a visit in Death Valley. There is no other atmosphere like Death Valley on a Saturday night, and this coming weekend should be no different.
The Lobos and Tigers will kickoff at 5:30 p.m. Mountain Time and the game will be streamed on ESPN+.