The New Mexico Lobos and Air Force Falcons will set up shop at Falcon Stadium on Friday night. It’s not the most exciting matchup in the Week 12 FBS slate, as New Mexico enters winless at 0-3, while Air Force has just one win on their resume at 1-2. Air Force made an impressive 2020 debut with a 40-7 win over Navy to open the season. They haven’t looked good since then, though, and were beaten easily by San Jose State and Boise State the following two weeks.
Air Force were not expected to be a good team after quarterback Donald Hammond lost his good standing at the academy. Hammond entered the transfer portal shortly after. Losing Hammond is not insignificant for Air Force. He was expected to be one of the most talented players in the Mountain West in 2020. And for a triple-option team, everything in the offense goes through the quarterback. They are asked to do pretty well everything on the field. It can take a good year for a new quarterback to get accustomed to running a triple-option smoothly.
Air Force has used three different quarterbacks this season. Haaziq Daniels is the starter for the Falcons, though he had to exit last week because of a shoulder injury. Daniels ran for the ball for 13 yards on 3 carries last week. Warren Bryan and Ben Brittain both saw playing time at quarterback with Daniels injury in the 49-30 loss versus the Boise State Broncos. Note that Daniels is expected to play tonight, but he is still nursing a shoulder injury. Bryan is likely to see some playing time as well.
New Mexico just wants to find a win before the end of this short season. They’re winless with losses against San Jose State, Hawaii, and Nevada. New Mexico was within a touchdown of Nevada last week in a 27-20 loss, so maybe something to build on? Nevada is a pretty good team. Not the worst loss in the world for the Lobos. New Mexico has been a lost cause the last few years after winning the New Mexico Bowl in 2016. They’ve gone 3-9, 3-9, and 2-10 which prompted the firing of Bob Davie. Danny Gonzales is in his first season as the head coach at New Mexico. He has a lot of work to do and it will take baby steps. Head below for our free New Mexico vs. Air Force pick for November 20, 2020.
New Mexico Lobos vs. Air Force Mountain West Football Betting Odds:
New Mexico vs. Air Force Prediction:
Everyone is well aware what Air Force is going to do in this game. There isn’t any grand secret out there regarding what triple-option teams want to accomplish. They want to pound the ball over and over again to wear out the defense. Air Force has run the ball at a clip of 330 yards per game to lead the nation. Hammond is missing from the offense, but finding yards on the ground obviously isn’t going to be a problem for a triple-option attack like Air Force. There is a positive for the Lobos going into this one on Friday night, though.
It’s typically hard to find a positive for New Mexico, but they have one versus Air Force tonight. The Lobos can’t defend the pass worth a lick. This is going back the past few years as well, not just this season. They’ve conceded 410.3 passing yards per game through three games in 2020. That’s terrible, especially considering that they are 30 yards worse than the next closest team, the Arizona State Sun Devils.
What New Mexico has been effective at, though, is up front on the defensive line. They have been active and disruptive. The Lobos have conceded just 81 yards per game on the ground. Expect Air Force to pile up the yardage rushing the ball, but New Mexico should be able to do enough to prevent the Falcons from hitting New Mexico with quick scores. That should enable more time to run off the clock. Will New Mexico be able to utilize the most of their time with the ball?
The offense has been average for New Mexico. They’ve accumulated 431.1 yards and 24.7 points per game through three outings. If you remove quarterback Teveka Tuioti from the equation and New Mexico is probably below average, though. Tuioti did not play against Nevada because of concussion symptoms and he is questionable to play against Air Force.
Tuioti has passed for 4 touchdowns and 1 interception on 56.1% completions on the season. Backup Trae Hall struggled mightily as his replacement against Nevada, having passed for 195 yards with no touchdowns and an interception. He managed to run the ball for 27 yards on 1.7 yards per carry. With Tuioti questionable to play, it’s hard to trust the Lobos’ offense on Friday night. The UNDER seems like the way to look at Falcon Stadium.