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2018

New Mexico

College Football

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New Mexico wasn’t good last year, finishing at 3-9 with only one MWC win, and isn’t expected to be good this season. Bob Davie, entering his seventh year as head coach, was suspended 30 days in the spring due to misconduct allegations. On the hot seat, he only returns eight starters and is counting on numerous JUCO transfers to lead the team. It’s been quite the fall after going 9-4 in 2016 and that’s the main reason UNM’s over/under opened at just four wins with +15000 odds to win the MWC at 5Dimes Sportsbook.

For the first time in awhile, the Lobos are turning away from the triple option, as former Arizona coach Calvin Magee is taking the reins as coordinator. That will lead to more passing, although it’s a wonder if that’s a good thing after UNM quarterbacks combined for eight touchdowns and 14 picks last year. Tevaka Tuioti is the expected starter, but senior Coltin Gerhart isn’t out of the picture. Both saw time last year as backups and both can provide a little mobility. The offense barely managed 20 points per game and only returns one starter on the line in right guard Aaron Jenkins. Top running back Tyrone Owens (770 yards, 4 TDs) and top receivers Jay Griffin (393 yards, 4 TDs) and Delane Hart-Johnson (15 receptions) are back, but it’s not like they are game breakers. Magee is set to mix the offense up, yet there’s no guarantee either of the QBs will be able to handle more passing.

The defense is keeping its 3-3-5 alignment, although with only five returning starters from a group that gave up close to 32 points per game, that’s not a big deal. It’s a wonder what will change for the Lobos after losing their last seven games of 2017, giving up 35 or more points to five of those opponents. Cody Baker is the lone returnee on the line and the same goes for Alex Hart at linebacker, both seniors. Safety could prove troublesome with two new faces, while cornerback at least returns two senior starters in D’Angelo Ross and Bijon Parker. This defense will have to take a major step forward if New Mexico is to have a shot at a bowl because it’s hard to see the offense doing enough to win six games by itself.

The good news is that the Lobos get a favorable non-conference schedule outside of the trip to Wisconsin. They should enter MWC play with at least two wins, although finding more wins will be difficult. Their home games are against the best teams in the conference in Fresno, SDSU, Boise and Wyoming. It’s possible the Lobos will need two road wins to beat last year’s conference record. All of them will be possible, but trusting New Mexico isn’t a great idea at this point. The offense is going through a change and doesn’t have a standout quarterback to lead the way. Combine that with a sketchy line and an iffy defense and there’s a decent chance this team reaches only three wins again.

 

2018 New Mexico Lobos Football Schedule

Sept. 1 vs. Incarnate Word 

Sept. 8 at Wisconsin

Sept. 15 at New Mexico State

Sept. 29 vs. Liberty

Oct. 6 at UNLV

Oct. 13 at Colorado State

Oct. 20 vs. Fresno State 

Oct. 27 at Utah State

Nov. 3 vs. San Diego State

Nov. 10 at Air Force

Nov. 16 vs. Boise State

Nov. 24 vs. Wyoming

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