FACTS & STATS: Site: University Stadium (39,224) — Albuquerque, New Mexico.
Television: ROOT-NW, RM, SW. Home Record: Wyoming 3-3, UNM 0-5. Away Record:
Wyoming 1-4, UNM 3-3. Neutral Record: Wyoming 0-0, UNM 0-0. Conference Record:
Wyoming 2-5, UNM 1-6. Series Record: Wyoming leads, 36-30.
GAME NOTES: The New Mexico Lobos get their last crack at logging a home win
when they host the Wyoming Cowboys in the season finale for both programs at
University Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
New Mexico, which has come up empty in all five home games so far this season,
the only team in the Mountain West Conference to be void of a home win, is
also all alone at the bottom of the Mountain Division of the MWC with a record
of 1-6. The squad is in the midst of a three-game slide and has dropped five
of the last six overall, bowing to nationally-ranked Colorado State last
As for the Cowboys, the team which is just ahead of UNM in the standings, they
were throttled by Boise State last Saturday night, 63-14, marking the second
loss in a row and the seventh in eight games for a program that will be
staying home once this contest is over.
The Cowboys are ahead in the series by a 36-30 margin, thanks in part to a
38-31 win in least year’s battle.
Losing to Boise State was probably something that the Cowboys were expecting,
even at home, but losing quarterback Colby Kirkegaard to an apparent ankle
injury was not in the plans for the hosts. Kirkegaard, who was helped off the
field and to the locker room, converted 10-of-14 passes for 74 yards before
exiting. The Wyoming offense generated just 227 yards overall, with the two
touchdowns being scored by running back Brian Hill.
Defensively, the Cowboys have certainly seen better days. Lucas Wacha
accounted for a game-high 12 tackles and made two stops behind the line of
scrimmage, while Seth Edeen logged one of the squad’s two sacks on just three
tackles. Devyn Harris forced and recovered a fumble, but in the end that
effort seemed quite insignificant.
Harris, the team’s leading tackler with 80 stops, has a pair of fumble
recoveries and two forced, but still this is a team with a negative turnover
margin (minus-0.27 per contest) and that has them tied for 84th in the nation
heading into the week.
The loss of Kirkegaard means Tom Thorton or Sam Stratton will be forced into
action on short notice. The pair has combined to attempt just 15 passes in
2014, so which ever one gets the call will probably not have all the plays
available to him. However, what the Pokes will have is Hill coming out of the
backfield once more, the youngster making a name for himself in the absence of
Shaun Wick while running for 639 yards and six touchdowns.
As a good nationally-ranked team is supposed to do, Colorado State decimated
the Lobos last week in Fort Collins by generating a mind-boggling 698 yards of
offense, 292 of that coming on the ground where UNM was supposed to be
superior. Granted, the Lobos did come up with 301 yards and three touchdowns
on the ground, but a lack of a passing attack (55 yards) meant the Rams didn’t
have to worry about that phase of the game.
Quarterback Lamar Jordan converted almost as many passes to the Rams (two) as
he did his teammates (three) and none of them resulted in a score for the
visitors. Jhurell Pressley managed to run for 109 yards, but it was Teriyon
Gipson, Romell Jordan and Jordan himself who all scored once on the ground.
Outside of Kimmie Carson with his 10 tackles, 2.5 TFL and fumble recovery,
there was little the New Mexico defense had to cheer about as they tried
furiously to slow down the Rams.
Unfortunately for the Lobos, their best defender is still being listed as
questionable for this weekend as linebacker Dakota Cox continues to wrestle
with an ankle injury. The importance of Cox cannot be understated when you
consider that he still leads the program in tackles with 116 even though he
has missed two games.
While Lamar Jordan continues to get his feet wet at the quarterback position,
the running attack keeps rolling along for New Mexico as it gains 6.3 yards
per attempt and has scored 32 touchdowns. Ranked fourth in the nation with
316.7 ypg, the Lobos are one of the most potent running teams in the country,
unfortunately, they also surrender a massive 278.1 ypg which makes them 122nd
in the nation in that department.
Having to go with a backup quarterback probably won’t change the outcome of
this game for the Cowboys, seeing as how New Mexico was a better pick as long
as it can dictate momentum with the ball on the ground.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico 21, Wyoming 13