New Mexico vs. Air Force
- Start Time: 3:30 PM EST. Saturday, October 15.
- Location: Cotton Bowl, Dallas, Texas
- TV: ESPN News
- Streaming: WatchESPN
- Radio: Air Force: Here. New Mexico: Here.
- Records: Air Force: 4-1. New Mexico: 2-3.
- Live Stats: Here.
- Line: Air Force -14. O/U: 56.5.
The Lobos are one of those teams that no one can figure out. They live and die on the big play and virtually nothing else. The offense is eight nationally in Rushing IsoPPP and #22 in total explosiveness as a whole. They are effective and have multiple running backs that can hit the homerun, but none are better than Teriyon Gipson. The senior has fought injuries and has only 31 carries on the year, but five have been touchdowns and he sports a 12.9 yards per carry average.
Gipson is not the only good option as Tyrone Owens, Richard McQuarley, and quarterback Lamar Jordan all have shown lots of promise running the ball. Even better, all three are juniors or sophomores, giving New Mexico virtually the same backfield next season.
The less we talk about the Lobos passing game, the better. They showed signs of life under Austin Apodaca, but the senior quarterback has been unable to stay healthy. The passing game virtually disappears with Jordan at quarterback. On the rare occasions that a pass is attempted, sophomores Partick Reed and Matt Quarells are explosive options.
Few teams do a worse job of limiting the big play than the New Mexico defense. They are ranked in the bottom ten in defensive IsoPPP, a stat that judges how often a team gives up explosive plays. The defense has given up at least 21 points to every team and 32 or more to every FBS team faced this season. Boise State scored 49 last week despite backing off significantly in the second half.
Despite holding a 4-1 record, Air Force has been uncharacteristically inefficient running the ball. The Falcosn haven’t been able to break the long run, instead settling for consistent 3-4 yard runs. There has been a bit of explosion from Jacobi Owens and Timothy McVey, but neither has seen the ball enough this season to make a true impact. The Falcons must get more production from the fullback/quarterback combination of Shayne Davern and Nate Romine to make it to the season finale with one loss.
One surprise this season has been the Romine to Jalen Robinette connection. The senior wide receiver has 14 catches for 386 yards and three touchdowns. He is averaging 27.6 yards per catch, but is only catching 48.3% of the passes sent his way. There has to be a way to become a little more efficient with this explosive combination.
After five games, the Air Force defense has proven itself as one of the better run stopping defenses in the nation. They are top ten in multiple categories and completely shut down Navy’s vaunted option a week ago. But, there is a weakness. Air Force has the tendency to give up too many explosive runs, erasing the momentum of multiple defensive stops. That just happens to be New Mexico’s specialty.
This game will see quite a few points scored as Air Force should hit a few deep passes and New Mexico will hit some long runs. There is virtually no way around that happening. Adding in the fact that this game in being played in Dallas and I nearly throw my arms in the air. Air Force struggles but gets the win.
Air Force 38, New Mexico 34.