New Mexico Lobos vs. Hawai’i Rainbow Warriors
Saturday October 21st, 2023, at 4:00 p.m. Mountain Time.
University Stadium in Albuquerque, NM
The game will be broadcast on Spectrum Sports, which is a Hawai’i sports network, and on the Team1Sports App. On the radio waves, the Lobo Sports Radio Network will have the call. The flagship station is 96.3 FM/770 AM KKOB in Albuquerque.
This is game 27 between the two schools. Hawai’i owns a 16-10 series edge. The last time these two schools met was in 2020 when the Rainbow Warriors got a 39-33 victory.
In a Mountain West Conference tilt in Albuquerque on Saturday evening, two of the three teams winless in league play will get together when Hawai’i visits New Mexico.
The Rainbow Warriors are coming off a 41-34 loss to the San Diego State Aztecs. That loss dropped Hawai’i to 2-5 on the season and 0-2 in conference.
New Mexico fell 52-24 to San Jose State last week to fall to 2-4 overall and 0-2 in the MWC as well.
A win by either team will keep slim bowl hopes alive moving forward in the 2023 season.
This is New Mexico’s Homecoming contest for the 2023 season.
What to expect from the Rainbow Warriors
Hawai’i has been known to do one thing for decades now, throwing the football.
The Rainbow Warriors average almost 300 yards passing per game this season, compared to just 56 yards rushing a game.
Hawai’i has quarterback Brayden Schager slinging the pigskin around this season. The 6-foot-3 225-pound junior has completed 63% of his passes this season, for 2,088 yards and 17 touchdowns to eight interceptions. Schager has attempted 35 passes or more in each game this season for the Rainbow Warriors.
Catching the rock for Schager this season has been led by Pofele Ashlock and Steven McBride.
The freshman Ashlock leads the team with 46 receptions on the year. He had eight against San Diego State last week for 68 yards and a touchdown.
McBride leads the team in receiving yards with 626 and he also has six touchdowns. McBride had five catches for 157 yards against the Aztecs last week.
On defense, Hawai’i is prone to give up some yards on the ground. Two weeks ago, the UNLV Runnin’ Rebels ran for 307 yards against Hawai’i. The Rainbow Warriors have given up over 100 yards rushing in six of their seven games this season.
The Lobos Can Win if:
They can stop the pass and run the ball.
Just like last week against the Spartans of San Jose State, the Lobos need to slow down the pass. They were unable to do that in the second half last week, and it came back to haunt them. Hawai’i wants to throw the ball all over the field, and big stops from the defense will be needed to come away with the W.
The Lobos will lose if:
They can’t stop giving up big plays.
Again, like last week, the Lobos defense needs to stop big plays from happening. Last week in the second half there were two touchdowns of at least 54 yards. That has been the Lobos’ Achilles-Heel this season and if they cannot prevent it in this game, the Rainbow Warriors will walk out of Albuquerque with the win.
Final Thoughts and Prediction:
I’m really interested to see where the Lobos go here. After the loss to New Mexico State, head coach Danny Gonzales guaranteed a bowl berth this season. Since then, UNM is 1-2 and does not show signs of being capable of putting together four more wins in the second half of the season for said berth.
With this game and the game next week against Nevada, the Lobos do have two seemingly winnable games. That was also the thought last week and it looked good until the second half. This team is beginning to reel, and this is a must win game. I’m just not too confident in their defense stopping the Hawai’i passing game. There is no line on DraftKings Sports Book for this one, so we are stabbing in the dark. I can’t trust the Lobos anymore and will take the Rainbow Warriors, 34-27.