New Mexico Lobos at Massachusetts Minutemen
Saturday September 23rd, 2023, at 1:30 p.m. Mountain Time
Warren McGuirk Alumni Stadium in Amherst, MA
The game will be streamed online on ESPN+ (Subscription Required). 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.
First meeting between the two schools.
In what would make a great basketball matchup, it will be a battle of 1-win football teams on the season. the New Mexico Lobos visit the Massachusetts Minutemen in Amherst on Saturday afternoon.
The Lobos come into the contest at 1-2 on the season, coming off a 27-17 loss to state rival New Mexico State last Saturday. That loss was New Mexico’s 11th straight to an FBS opponent dating back to September 17th of last season when they defeated UTEP, 27-10 at home.
New Mexico has also lost nine road games in a row dating back to 2021 when they defeated Wyoming 14-3.
Massachusetts is coming off a heart breaking, 19-17, loss to Eastern Michigan on Saturday to drop their record on the season to 1-3.
UMass took a 17-13 lead with 2:42 to play, but then allowed a 77-yard touchdown drive from EMU in just a minute and twenty-two seconds that gave the Eagles the win.
UMass did defeat New Mexico State 41-30 back in week zero to start the season.
The Minutemen have lost five straight home games dating back to last season when they beat Stony Brook on September 17th.
What to expect from the Minutemen:
Massachusetts’ offense runs differently depending on who is going to start at quarterback. Taisun Phommachanh is the Minutemen normal starting quarterback. He was injured in the win over New Mexico State and has missed the last three games.
If Taisun Phommachanh is healthy, right now he is questionable, then the Minutemen will run the football. They went for 197 yards on the ground against New Mexico State with Phommachanh leading the way with 96 yards on 17 carries.
In the three games he has missed, Massachusetts has thrown for more yards than rushing with Carlos Davis slinging it around. Davis went for 340 yards passing last week against Eastern Michigan. He also threw three interceptions in the loss.
Even if it is Davis throwing, the Lobos cannot look past the running game led by Kay’Ron Lynch-Adams who has gone for over 100 yards in two of the four games this season. Lynch-Adams went for 129 yards against Eastern Michigan last week.
The Lobos Can Win if:
They don’t give up the big play through the air. Many times, last week the Lobos had the Aggies on a third-down and long, and the Aggies would convert. One drive for New Mexico State was a 1-play 75 yards that was a passing touchdown. Without many of the long completions that the Aggies converted, the Lobos would have won. Instead, they watched the Aggies celebrate on their home turf.
The Lobos defense must prevent the long ball, if they can, then there is no reason why the Lobos will lose.
The Lobos will lose if:
Not only if the Lobos give up the deep ball in the passing game, but if the Minutemen can balance the offense and have Lynch-Adams go off running. The Lobos struggled to stop New Mexico State last week when they needed to, and it came back to haunt them. Balance will be the key for UMass if they intend to win.
Final Thoughts and Prediction:
The Minutemen are favored by 3.5 on DraftKings at the time of this writing. The Lobos struggle on the road and the Minutemen struggle at home. Something has to give in the streaks of losing. I like the Lobos to come out motivated and able to move the ball against Don Brown’s defense. I expect Dylan Hopkins to throw and throw and throw some more to take the game over. I like the Lobos 21-17.