New Mexico (3-6) at Utah State (7-3) (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Romney Stadium (25,513) — Logan, Utah.
Television: ESPNews. Home Record: UNM 0-5, USU 4-0. Away Record: UNM 3-1, USU
3-3. Neutral Record: UNM 0-0, USU 0-0. Conference Record: UNM 1-4, USU 4-1.
Series Record: New Mexico leads, 11-9.

GAME NOTES: Coming off a gut-wrenching loss last weekend, the New Mexico Lobos
hope they can carry over some of the positive efforts versus Boise State as
they challenge the Utah State Aggies in Mountain West Conference action at
Romney Stadium.

Last weekend, the Lobos erupted for 49 points at home, but that was still 11
points behind visiting BSU as the Broncos sent UNM to a third loss in four
games. The Lobos have won only one of five league outings, which means the
team sits alone at the bottom of the Mountain Division of the MWC. Oddly
enough, all three wins on the season for the Lobos have come on the road.

Further up in the standings is a Utah State group that is 4-1, tied with Boise
State for second place behind the streaking and nationally-ranked Colorado
State Rams who are off this week. The Aggies, who have struggled to keep
quarterbacks healthy and upright, played a Friday night affair versus Wyoming
in Laramie and came away with a 20-3 victory.

Utah State has now won three straight and five of the last six outings, even
though the team is operating with a fourth starting quarterback on the

The Lobos lead the all-time series by a count of 11-9, but it was USU that
whipped up on New Mexico last season, 45-10, in Albuquerque.

Almost any other time 49 points would be more than enough for a team to take a
win, but in the case of the Lobos that was not the case. In fact, the point
total is the most for UNM in defeat in program history.

Against Boise State, the Lobos actually led by two touchdowns heading into the
second quarter, but then the UNM defense faltered in a big way. The Broncos
were allowed to generate 658 yards of offense, averaging more than eight yards
per snap, but that doesn’t mean that a hobbled Dakota Cox didn’t put forth his
best effort with a game-high 14 tackles.

Offensively, the Lobos ran for a staggering 505 yards, the eighth time in
school history the program has gone for at least 500 yards on the ground and
the second under head coach Bob Davie. Teriyon Gipson ran for 205 yards and
three TDs, followed by Jhurell Pressley with his 154 yards and two scores on a
mere seven attempts.

Despite his youth, quarterback Lamar Jordan continues to direct the offense in
a positive manner, even if he isn’t lighting up the scoreboard with his pass
plays. Against the Broncos, Jordan was 9-of-16 for 122 yards and while he did
not toss a TD, he also refrained from throwing an interception and was not
sacked by the BSU defense.

With an average of just 79.9 ypg through the air, which ranks next-to-last in
the nation entering this week, it is no secret that Davie feels his best
chance at victory is to keep the ball on the ground. The team is now third in
the nation in rushing with 326.3 ypg, thanks in large part to Pressley (872
yards) and Gipson (631 yards) who have combined for 18 of the team’s 27
rushing TDs.

Unfortunately, as strong as the Lobos are running the ball themselves, they
can’t seem to get a handle on slowing down opponents who are also finding
success keeping the ball on the ground. In fact, UNM is 122nd in stopping the
run (277.2 ypg), and has watched foes average more than three touchdowns per
game by handing off to ball carriers.

Against a Wyoming team that stunned Fresno State in California a week prior,
the Aggies pretty much had their way with the Cowboys at War Memorial Stadium
as the hosts scored a mere three points even though they registered 363 yards
of total offense and ran 25 more plays than USU.

The Aggies, who were a mere 2-of-10 on third down and controlled the action
for a shade over 25 minutes, were led by JoJo Natson who not only ran for 99
yards and scored a TD on the ground, he also brought back a punt 80 yards for
a score, with the two TDs coming in a span of just over four minutes into the
first quarter.

Quarterback Kent Myers, the latest starter for the Aggies at the position, was
once again efficient as he converted all but three of his 16 pass attempts for
150 yards. While it is still quite early in his career, Myers has shown that
he is more than willing to play conservatively as he cultivates an efficiency
rating of 199.73, thanks to his 83.3 percent accuracy.

Helping to nurture Myers is receiver Hunter Sharp who leads the program with
54 catches for 870 yards and seven touchdowns. Natson, despite missing one
game, is second with 42 receptions for 399 yards, but has just two TD catches.
Because Myers has yet to unleash any interceptions, the Aggies rank fifth in
the nation in turnover margin with a plus-1.30 per contest.

Defensively, the Aggies are holding opponents to just 19.2 ppg (14th
nationally) with the last three foes averaging just over 12 ppg. A lot of the
credit needs to go to Zach and Nick Vigil, the former leading the team with
104 tackles, 14.0 TFL, and 6.5 sacks, while the latter has 78 stops, 11.0 TFL
and 5.5 sacks in one less game.

Something has to give here, seeing as how New Mexico is one of the top running
teams in the country and the Aggies rank sixth in stopping the run with a mere
96.1 rpg allowed. The weather could certainly have a say in the outcome as
well, but still the locals should have the inside track even if they do
surrender a lot more on the ground this weekend.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 27, New Mexico 13