There isn’t much going on tonight on the college football landscape. There are a couple of games on the schedule, none too riveting, but get used to it, bowl season is filled with the Middle Tennessee-Western Kentucky’s of the world. Don’t get me wrong, I love the bowls, but a few of the matchups can make you cringe and wonder why they are playing in a postseason game to begin with. With Middle Tennessee and Western Kentucky both at 5-5, one will punch their ticket to a bowl game tonight. We’re going to go to New Mexico, though, where the UNLV Revels and New Mexico Lobos meet in Albuquerque. At 4-6, UNLV are down to their last gasp for a bowl game. They’ll need to beat the Lobos tonight, and then beat Nevada in a rivalry game next week.
New Mexico haven’t found a win since September 30th against Air Force. Air Force are a good team, so that was a good win against a fellow triple-option squad. However, New Mexico haven’t since, as they seek to snap a five-game losing streak tonight. The Lobos have nothing to play for, other than pride. Meanwhile, the Rebels need a couple of wins to get an invite to a bowl game. The stakes are a little higher for UNLV, who would find making a bowl an accomplishment, and step forward for them. Nevada are not a good team at all, so these are two winnable games the next two weeks for UNLV. Their early season loss to Howard is really coming back to rear its ugly head.
UNLV are coming off a loss to a bad BYU team last week, 31-21. This isn’t the same Bronco Mendenhall BYU Cougars, they’ve regressed significantly since he went to Virginia. In other words, that’s a bad loss for the Rebels at home. They really must start winning games that are expected to be close. Head coach Tony Sanchez isn’t going to have much slack left to work with if UNLV doesn’t begin winning those kinds of games next year. With New Mexico as 2-point favorites, this is another matchup is expected to be close. We’ll see if UNLV can dig deep and find a win to remain in bowl contention. Head below for our free UNLV vs. New Mexico pick.
UNLV Rebels vs. New Mexico Lobos Betting Odds:
vs. New Mexico -2(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
UNLV vs. New Mexico Pick:
UNLV have to find a quarterback for the future. That’s up to Tony Sanchez on the recruiting circuit, but they also have to get better play from the guys on the current lineup. Armani Rogers was inefficient in the starting position, which resulted in getting a trip to the bench. Rodgers has passed for 5 touchdowns and 5 interceptions, along with an inept 52.5% completion percentage. He was benched against Hawaii on November 4th and hasn’t seen the field since.
Johnny Stanton has taken over and been playing better for the Rebels. He’s connected on 4 touchdowns and 2 interceptions in his fourth-year in college. Stanton spent two years at Nebraska, before transferring to UNLV for some playing time. He threw 6 touchdowns and 6 interceptions last year, and is getting another shot at the starting job with Rogers struggling.
The Rebels are passing for just 187.2 yards per game. It puts them at 98th in the country. They’ve been getting much better production out of their running game, though. Note that UNLV are 19th in the country with 239.5 yards rushing per game. Lexington Thomas has rushed for 1,146 yards with a 6.4-yard average on the ground. If only UNLV could find a quarterback to complement their running game.
New Mexico do have a solid defensive front. If they do anything well, it’s defending the run. The Lobos are allowing 130 rushing yards per game for 29th in the FBS. As a comparison, UNLV are getting gashed for 226.8 yards per game on the ground. New Mexico are averaging 226.1 yards rushing per game behind their triple-option attack, 22nd in the country.
They’re coming off a shellacking at Texas A&M last week, 55-14. The Lobos will switch gears this week against a less impressive offensive unit. It should be a windy evening, as weather forecasts are calling for 15-20mph winds. It won’t hurt New Mexico at all, as they run the football nearly every down with their triple-option. New Mexico also have a strong defense against the run, so if they can force UNLV to have to pass in the wind, it’s going to play out well for the home team. This isn’t going to be the best looking game in the world, but New Mexico should be able to get the job done in Albuquerque.
PICK: NEW MEXICO -2 (-110)