Bowl season is upon us! We’re gonna give you previews of EVERY. SINGLE. GAME! Let’s take a look at the New Mexico Bowl.
Match-Up – Arizona (Pac-12) Vs. New Mexico (Mountain West)
Spread – Arizona (-11.5)
Location – University Stadium, Albuquerque New Mexico
When – Saturday, December 19th, 2:00 PM
Where to Watch – ESPN
Record – (6-6)
It was a disappointing season for the Wild Cats, who had high hopes after going 10-4 last season, winning the Pac-12 South, and playing in the Fiesta Bowl. Unfortunately, things went downhill, especially when their star linebacker Scooby Wright went down with injury. The team ended up struggling early against the likes of UTSA and Nevada, and things got worse when Pac-12 play started. They lost in blowout fashion to teams like UCLA, Stanford and Washington. They did end the season strong with a win over Utah before losing 52-37 to Arizona State.
Players to Watch
Jared Baker (RB) – Baker didn’t become a big part of this offense until Week 7, when he got 23 carries in a win over Colorado. Since then, the team seems to trust him more with the ball in his hands, to be a complementary back to Nick Wilson who is still battling some injuries. Look for Baker to be the lead back in this game.
Will Parks (S) – Parks has played in all 12 games for Arizona. The Senior leads the team in tackles (72) and is third on the team in tackles for loss (6.5). He also has 7 pass defended and 2 forced fumbles. Parks has proven to be a durable player throughout his whole career, and he should lead the defense.
How Arizona Can Win
If Arizona is going to win this game, they’ll have to do it in a shootout. They are one of the worst defensive teams in the nation, but they boast the 33rd ranked passing attack in the nation, which should bode well against the 87th ranked pass defense. Furthermore, Arizona is 44th in the league in converting 3rd downs (41.7%); if they want to win the game, they’ll likely have to keep New Mexico off the field with a short, effective passing attack.
New Mexico Overview
Record – (7-5)
It was an up and down season for the Lobos this season, who didn’t have huge expectations heading into the season. Like Arizona, the defense disappointed. However, they did end the season winning 3 of their final 4, including some impressive wins against Boise State, Utah State and Air Force.
Players to Watch
Lamar Jordan (QB) – Jordan isn’t going to beat you through the air, he only has 935 passing yards on the season. However, he can make some big plays. He averages 8.58 Yards per attempt, even though only completes 53.2% of his passes. He also is third on the team in rushing with 672 yards, including a 70 yard touchdown this year. Jordan can be streaky, but when he is on, he can really pick apart some defenses.
Dakota Cox (LB) – Cox has yet to miss any time this season, and he has been the leader of this overall average defense. His 89 total tackles and 5 sacks lead the team, and he’s second on the team with 11 tackles for loss. He also has an interception on the season.
How New Mexico Can Win
Run. The Football… New Mexico is 9th in the nation is rushing, averaging 246.6 yards per game on the ground. The Triple threat of Jordan, Jhurell Pressley, and Teriyon Gipson should rack up a ton of yards on the nation’s 89th ranked rush defense.
Final Prediction – New Mexico defeats Arizona 45-33
Brian Sullivan – @themadmansports
Photo Credit – http://thesportspost.com/hesiman-trophy-watch-anu-solomon-arizona/