The Mountain West comes into focus Friday night as the UNLV Rebels (4-6, 3-3) travel east to Albuquerque to visit the Lobos of New Mexico (3-7, 1-5). These two teams has high hopes coming into this season, and both have had disappointing campaigns. UNLV must win out to become bowl eligible, with both this game and next week’s game being on the road. UNM’s bowl dreams were dashed last weekend vs. Texas A&M, losing 55-14. What kind of effort will we see out of New Mexico this weekend? Do they even want to play? Will the Rebels show up and get themselves to a bowl game? Let’s see if we can get an angle on these questions.
UNLV vs. New Mexico College Football Preview
Date/Time: Friday, November 17th at 9:30pm EST
TV: ESPN 2
College Football Betting Odds from 5Dimes
College Football Betting Favorite: New Mexico -2.5
Under center for UNLV is highly touted Freshman QB Armani Rogers out of Los Angeles. The flashy youngster looks like a pro-style QB at 6’5” 225 lbs. However, he’s only got 5 TD on the season against 5 INTs. He’s thrown for 1100 yards this season, as he’s learning how to lead the team. As the season has progressed, he’s gotten lots more patient, making better decisions in the pocket. Johnny Stanton has started the last three games for UNLV, and head coach Tony Sanchez isn’t tipping his cap as to who is starting Friday, but he was quoted saying both QB’s will play. UNLV’s total offense is ranked #61 in the country, scoring 29.2 ppg. The biggest surprise on offense has been the success of Junior Lexington Thomas. The 5’9” 170 lb. Junior from Houston has a stellar 15 TDs on the season, with 1146 yards on 178 carries. He’s scored in all but one game this season. Rogers’ favorite target is Senior Devonte Boyd. The 6’1” 185 lb. Senior from Henderson, NV has 3 TDs this season on 30 receptions with 551 yards. Tony Sanchez seems to like playing on the road, as there are less distractions. Sanchez says, “When you’re on the road, those things don’t really exist. It’s just you. Everybody who’s on the road is suited up and playing. There’s a different mindset in the locker room, so it’s one of those evolutions here of building a program and doing a good job of eliminating distractions at home. On the road, we’re locked in and play really good football, so I expect to do that again.” UNLV is 2-2 on the road this season, losing at Ohio State and Air Force.
New Mexico Lobos:
This is a Lobos team that won nine games last season and made the New Mexico Bowl for the second year in a row. This season has gone the other way, with New Mexico on a five-game losing streak, and the Lobos haven’t won since October 1st against Air Force. At this point, they have nothing to play for but pride, as they have been eliminated from bowl contention. It’s also the last game for the Seniors, so they’ll be playing for pride at home one last time. Leading the Lobos is Lamar Jordan, a 6’0” 192 lb. Senior from Frisco, TX. He’s thrown for 3TDs but has 5 INTs and only 593 yards on the season. Junior Tyrone Owens has stepped in for injured RB Richard McQuarley. Owens has filled in nicely, with three TDs on 579 rushing yards. Freshman Jay Griffin IV leads the air attack for UNM, with three TDs on the season, with 23 receptions and 283 yards. New Mexico’s total offense ranks #119 in the country. New Mexico has lost 15 fumbles, second most in the country. The Lobos have turned the football over 26 times, which is tied for second worst nationally. Coupled with a defense that has forced just 11 takeaways, UNM ranks 127th nationally with minus-15 turnover margin.
Sin City Sharp (@SinCitySharp on Twitter):
One of the strongest forces in sports is motivation. One side of the ball, we have a UNLV team that needs to win their last two games to get into a bowl game. All indicators point to UNLV being focused and ready to attack on Friday. On the other side, we see UNM losing five straight games and completely out of any meaningful post-season action. The team is woefully bad on offense, but their defense is ranked #51 in the nation, so if they are to stay in this game they need to play a great game on defense. I feel that they will play like nothing is at stake, because if you haven’t won in almost two months and there’s nothing on the line, what will change this week? Grab the +2.5 points for safety, but I feel like UNLV will pick up the crucial road win en route to a bowl appearance.
Sin City Sharp Pick: UNLV Rebels +2.5
Kyle Hunter is on a HUGE 20-4 run in his last 24 college football TOP Rated totals. He has two CFB TOP Play Totals already up for this weekend.