New Mexico Bowl Pick

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New Mexico Bowl Pick

New Mexico

vs.

Texas San Antonio

12/17/16

The bowl season kicks off with the Gildan New Mexico Bowl, which immediately favors New Mexico as they’ll be playing in their home stadium. Then you throw in Texas San Antonio’s 6-6 record and you have the Lobos opening as -7 point favorites at 5 Dimes Sportsbook.

But it can’t be overlooked that New Mexico was in this situation a year ago, albeit against a better Arizona team, and lost 45-37. The Lobos have a 1-2 record in this bowl, but none of those Games have come against a C-USA team.

New Mexico has quietly had another impressive season playing in the Mountain West, finishing with an 8-4 record. They started really slow, with bad losses to New Mexico State and Rutgers, but come into this one having won six of their last season, with nice wins over Air Force, Hawaii and Wyoming.

Things haven’t been as great for UTSA, but that’s partly due to Schedule. The Roadrunners have lost two of their last three with the two losses being on the road against LA. Tech and Texas A&M. And surprisingly, they lost just 23-10 to the Aggies. Their most impressive wins came at Middle Tennessee and against Southern Miss, as well as the bowl-clinching finale over Charlotte.

In similar matchups, UTSA lost at Colorado State 23-14 in early September, while the Lobos fell 49-31 in late November.

The difference maker in this Game is fairly obvious. New Mexico leads the nation with 360.9 rushing yards per Game and is coming off a huge win that saw them rush for 568 yards and seven touchdowns against a team that made it to the MAC Championship (Wyoming).

Teriyon Gipson and Tyrone Owens both managed to reach 1,000 yards this season and Owens didn’t even appear in that win against Wyoming. The Lobos average 6.8 yards per carry with running quarterback LAmar Jordan also in the mix to go with bigger back Richard McQuarley, who leads the team with 16 touchdowns. Both Jordan and Austin Apodaca are used at quarterback, with Apodaca mainly the throwing QB.

UTSA has been solid defensively for most of the year, but they aren’t overwhelmingly good, still allowing 28.3 points per Game. This should be an interesting matchup, considering the Roadrunners already held MWC team Colorado State to 23 points.

But will UTSA be able to score? New Mexico’s defense is hit-or-miss, so it may come down to if UTSA can Scoreor not.

The Roadrunners have a more balanced attack, but the problem is that their running Game isn’t as close to as good as New Mexico’s. They ran for -1 yard against CSU (sacks included) and average just 3.8 yards per carry as a team on the season. That hasn’t stopped them from being a run-first team with Jarveon Williams (775 yards, 8 TDs) and Jalen Rhodes (756 yards, 9 TDs) still being quite effective. If those guys can’t get going, it’s going to be a tall ask for quarterback Dalton Sturm, who’s completing 58% of his passes this season. He doesn’t turn the ball over much, which is good, but most of his touchdowns (18:5, TD:INT) have come against weaker competition.

UTSA should keep things close, but their offensive firepower could be an issue in this Game.

The Lobos are 5-2 ATS in their last seven overall, but 2-6 ATS in their last eight vs. the C-USA. The Roadrunners are 5-1 ATS vs. a team with a winning record and 4-1 ATS in their last five overall. The over has hit in New Mexico’s last six non-Conference Games and 12-2 in their last 14 overall.

Our Pick – Motivation always an issue with Bowl Games. Who wants it more? Does New Mexico even care? If they do, Our numbers say they win by more than 7. New Mexico -7

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