FACTS & STATS: Site: Falcon Stadium (46,692) — United States Air Force
Academy, Colorado. Television: ROOT Sports. Home Record: UNM 0-4, Air Force
3-0. Away Record: UNM 2-0, Air Force 1-2. Neutral Record: UNM 0-0, Air Force
0-0. Conference Record: UNM 0-2, Air Force 1-2. Series Record: Air Force
GAME NOTES: Two of the top running teams in the nation get together in
Colorado this weekend, as the Air Force Falcons entertain the New Mexico Lobos
in a Mountain West Conference battle.
With an extra day to prepare for Saturday’s clash, the Lobos are hoping they
can again come up big on the road, considering they have two victories outside
of Albuquerque and have yet to break through at home in four tries this
season. Last week, the squad suited up to host San Diego State at University
Stadium and came up short in a 24-14 final. Combined with a 35-24 setback
against Fresno State late last month, UNM is now 0-2 in conference play.
Going up against a feisty Utah State squad on the road last week, the Falcons
were aiming to extend their win streak to four in a row, but it wasn’t meant
to be as the hometown Aggies stomped out those dreams with a 34-16 victory.
The three-game win streak for the Falcons came to an end and the team dipped
to 1-2 in conference, but at least the Academy can feel confident in playing
at home where they are still a perfect 3-0 on the campaign.
The Falcons own a 20-11 advantage in the all-time series with New Mexico,
although it was the Lobos who escaped with a 45-37 in last year’s meeting in
Albuquerque. At home, Air Force has won 11 of the 14 meetings against the
Now averaging 294.0 ypg on the ground to rank eighth in the country, the Lobos
are used to having their way against opponents in that regard, but that was
not the case when they went up against San Diego State last week. Not only did
the Aztecs hold UNM to just 152 yards rushing, the visitors also rattled off a
fantastic 397 net yards and three touchdowns on 46 carries during the double-
Lamar Jordan, who stepped in to lead the offense at quarterback once it became
apparent that the Lobos had a better chance with him at the helm, finished
with a team-best 52 rushing yards on six carries and was 8-of-18 passing for
97 more yards and a score. Carlos Wiggins turned his lone catch into a 45-yard
TD, while Teriyon Gipson reached the end zone on one of his 14 carries.
In an attempt to give the Lobos a fighting chance, David Guthrie and Dakota
Cox finished with 13 and 10 tackles, respectively, the latter also recovering
a fumble. Cox has been a man among men on the UNM defense, having made 83
stops through six games, giving him more than twice as many tackles as his
closest teammate (Guthrie, 40), but still this is a unit that is allowing
286.8 ypg on the ground, next-to-last in the FBS this week.
While the defense struggles, New Mexico is also having problems trying to nail
down the quarterback position. Many see the potential in Jordan, but at the
same time they are awaiting his next big mistake. The signal caller has
completed 58 percent of his passes for four TDs and a single INT, but the
Lobos are still dying to find another option rather than pounding away for 50
run plays per game.
Air Force fell behind by 10 against the Aggies less than four minutes into the
meeting last week and never recovered, watching the hosts rumble for the
sizeable victory in Logan. The usually reliable rushing attack generated only
155 yards and a single TD, that coming from Shayne Davern on one of his four
attempts. Quarterbacks Kale Pearson and Nate Romine let loose with an
uncharacteristic 29 pass attempts, leading to 15 completions and 224 yards,
but no scores.
Jalen Robinette reeled in four passes and turned those into 105 yards, his
second 100-yard game of the season which is a rarity in itself these days for
a team that uses the triple-option almost exclusively for 274.2 ypg and a
total of 14 touchdowns.
There’s a good chance Robinette will be catching passes primarily from Romine
for the time being since Pearson has been listed as questionable this weekend
due to a shoulder injury. Not only will the Falcons be without a solid
quarterback who has completed 58.2 percent of his attempts for 798 yards and
six scores, they also lose their second-leading rusher (304 yards, three TDs).
Romine will be asked to leave the pocket quite a bit and possibly make
something happen with his legs further down the field, but you can also be
sure that Jacobi Owens will be getting the ball plenty of times as well, after
running for a team-best 671 yards and four scores to this point.
The Falcons may not be the greatest against opposing run teams, but at least
they know what to look for. And with the Academy becoming more and more
comfortable putting the ball in the air, this is a meeting that should go to
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Air Force 27, New Mexico 17