FACTS & STATS: Site: University Stadium (39,224) — Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Television: ESPN 2. Home Record: FSU 1-1, UNM 0-2. Away Record: FSU 0-2, UNM
1-0. Neutral Record: FSU 0-0, UNM 0-0. Conference Record: FSU 0-0, UNM 0-0.
Series Record: Fresno State leads, 10-4.
GAME NOTES: Having finally broken into the win column, a pair of Mountain West
Conference foes get together in Albuquerque on Friday night as the New Mexico
Lobos host the Fresno State Bulldogs.
After a fantastic 2013 campaign when they won the first 10 games and were the
latest team to threaten the BCS, the Bulldogs got off to a rough start in 2014
with three straight defeats. But the setbacks this year were not just casual
losses, they came by epic proportions against USC (52-13), Utah (59-27) and
Last weekend Fresno State turned the corner, at least for the moment, and
dominated Southern Utah in front of the hometown fans in a 56-16 decision. Now
this week, the team is seeking its first victory of the season over a fellow
As for the Lobos, they too struggled in the first couple of weeks this season,
losing to UTEP (31-24) and Arizona State (58-23) at home before taking a
break. With added rest and preparation, New Mexico saddled up for its annual
battle with New Mexico State last Saturday and squeezed by with a 38-35
victory on the road in Las Cruces.
Last season, the Bulldogs hosted New Mexico in late November and scored a
season-high 69 points in a 41-point thrashing of the Lobos. With the victory,
Fresno State moved to 10-4 in the all-time series.
The Bulldogs trailed SUU, 9-7, nine minutes into the second quarter, but after
that the hosts dominated by scoring five straight touchdowns, and seven TDs
the rest of the way in the rout. The quarterback trio of Brandon Connette,
Brian Burrell, and Zack Greenlee combined to throw for 305 yards and four
touchdowns, numbers that recall Derek Carr from the last few years.
Marteze Waller led the rushing attack with a game-high 117 yards and a score,
as the program raced for an astounding 389 yards and three scores on 54
Defensively, there were still some holes that the Thunderbirds were able to
take advantage of, generating 375 yards on only 64 plays, but at least Kyrie
Wilson managed to get his hands on an interception and return it 23 yards for
a score in the second frame.
Despite the lopsided win, the Bulldogs still have several issues to address,
not the least of which is a defense that is allowing 541.0 ypg, ranking them
122nd in the nation. Thankfully, the squad has come down from the 55 ppg it
was giving up prior to the SUU meeting, but still that number stands at 28.8
Trying to figure out which quarterback is best suited to take the majority of
the snaps in any one game is also a concern at the moment. Both Burrell and
Connette are completing about 54 percent of their attempts, but while the
former has five TDs, against two INTs, the latter has only two scoring passes
and three picks. Regardless of which one is under center, the key target will
remain Josh Harper who has 24 catches for 280 yards.
On the ground, Waller is the workhorse with 294 yards and three scores, as he
averages 5.4 yards per carry.
Unlike the Bulldogs who had an easy time of it last Saturday, New Mexico had
to fight right down to the wire against the Aggies of NMSU, as Lamar Jordan
threw a five-yard TD pass to Reece White with 27 seconds remaining in
regulation in order to come up with the victory.
Jordan, one of four players to attempt a pass for the struggling Lobos, was a
perfect 3-of-3 for 16 yards, while Cole Gautsche and Clayton Mitchem combined
to hit 4-of-10 for a mere 33 yards. Running back David Anaya also got in on
the action as his one pass attempt went for an 18-yard TD to Jeric Magnant.
Clearly, the passing attack is not the bread-and-butter of UNM, as the team
completed just eight passes for 67 yards, but on the ground the Lobos do seem
to have a knack for causing quite a disturbance as they generated a hefty 432
yards and three TDs on 49 attempts.
Crusoe Gongbay did most of the damage with 15 carries for a game-high 134
yards and a score.
Defensively, there were some areas of concern for the Lobos, specifically the
number of plays the unit had to work through (92) as the Aggies registered 507
yards. New Mexico also failed to record a single sack and had just two
turnovers, courtesy of SaQwan Edwards and Dakota Cox who registered
Cox, who was tops with 11.5 tackles last weekend and named the MWC Defensive
Player of the Week for his efforts, remains the most influential hitter by far
for the Lobos with 28 tackles in three outings. However, in terms of total
defense, the group is still surrendering 533.5 ypg which is 120th in the
Another problem for the Lobos continues to be their inability to prevent
turnovers and at the same time register some takeaways. The team is close to
the bottom nationally in turnover margin,.
Both of these teams give up a boat load of yards to the competition, which
means this is a meeting that could produce epic numbers for the offenses. The
Lobos will try to keep control of the action with their ground attack, but if
FSU can force the hosts to put the ball in the air more than they’d like, this
should be a comfortable victory for the visitors.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Fresno State 31, New Mexico 23