The New Mexico Lobos get to stay in their own state, and own stadium, for the Gildan New Mexico Bowl and face off against the Texas-San Antonio Road Runners.
New Mexico Lobos
Bob Davie has led the Lobos to an 8-4 record after starting the season 2-3. They have losses to New Mexico State, Rutgers, Boise State and Colorado State. Their most impressive win was against Wyoming in the last game of the regular season.
The Lobos support the top ranked rushing offense in all of the FBS with 360.9 rushing yards per game. Their offense is unique because it is a triple option, but also because they run it out of the pistol formation, making it hard to prepare for.
Austin Apodaca and Lamar Jordan have both seen time at quarterback manning the triple option attack. Passing wise, they are about the same statistically, but Jordan has been far more successful on the ground with 658 yards and three touchdowns.
New Mexico features two 1,000 yard rushers: Teriyon Gipson and Tyrone Owens. Gipson averages 9.1 yards per carry, while Owens average 8.2. Stopping these two backs will be the main objective of the UTSA defense.
Q’ Drennan is the only threat when the Lobos actually throw the ball, averaging over 25 yards per reception.
The problem for the Lobos has been the defense, which allowed 32.4 points per game. In terms of yards per game, New Mexico is average in the FBS for both passing and rushing.
Dakota Cox is one of the best tacklers in college football after leading the Lobos in tackles for the first three years of his career. He will get a shot to make an NFL roster next season.
Texas San-Antonio Roadrunners
Texas San-Antonio finished at 6-6 while competing in Conference USA to become eligible for the New Mexico Bowl. Their only wins this season over .500 teams at the FBS level are against Middle Tennessee State and Southern Mississippi.
Dalton Sturm leads the offense, but he hasn’t thrown for that many yards on the season, sitting at 2,052 yards.
Jarveon Williams and Jalen Rhodes both have over 700 rushing yards creating two solid running backs for Sturm to hand the ball of to.
No receivers for the Roadrunners really stand out yardage-wise, because of the difficulty Sturm has faced. Kerry Thomas Jr. does have eight receiving touchdowns making him a threat once UTSA gets into the red zone.
The biggest asset this offense has is their ability to not turn the ball over, as they have only done so 14 times on the season.
Defensively UTSA has been extremely average, but they were way better at stopping the run this season ranking within the top 50 in the country.
The way the Roadrunners have stayed in and won games is their turnover margin. They are tied for 37th in FBS turnover margin with a +4 rate. With nine fumbles recovered and seven interceptions, it is imperative they force turnovers to win games.
New Mexico will control the clock and run their pistol/triple option offense effectively and leave UTSA hopelessly trying to force turnovers. Cox will help shut down Williams and Rhodes in the running game, making the Roadrunners throw more than they would like, which will result in offensive struggles.
New Mexico Lobos 34 Texas San-Antonio 21