New Mexico (4-8) at Colorado State (3-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 24, 7 pm (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Hughes Stadium (32,500) -- Fort Collins, Colorado. Television: ROOT Sports. Home Record: UNM 2-4, CSU 2-3. Away Record: UNM 2-4, CSU 0-5. Neutral Record: UNM 0-0, CSU 1-0. Conference Record: UNM 1-6, CSU 2-5. Series Record: Colorado State leads, 34-25.
GAME NOTES: The New Mexico Lobos try to close out the 2012 season with a victory as they clash with the Colorado State Rams in Mountain West Conference action at Hughes Stadium in Fort Collins on Saturday.
The Lobos, who haven't won a season finale since 2007, are also gunning for their fifth win of the campaign, which would give them their highest total since that same 2007 season.
Unfortunately, the Lobos have hit a series of snags since opening the 2012 campaign with a victory over Southern and four triumphs over the course of seven games. Last weekend, the team was dropped by Nevada at home in a 31-24 final, marking its fifth straight setback since winning back-to-back outings against Texas State and Hawaii.
As for the Rams, they too started off the season on a positive note with a 22-17 victory over Colorado in Denver, but there have been just two more wins after that. Last Saturday, taking on the Boise State Broncos on the road, Colorado State was crushed in a 42-14 final that wasn't even that close. The defeat was the second in the last three outings for a team that has league wins over Hawaii and UNLV, but is still tied for seventh in the standings.
CSU leads the all-time series between these two teams, one that began in 1935, by a count of 34-25. The Rams have won two straight and three of the last four, thanks to a 14-10 triumph last season in Albuquerque.
The Lobos currently lead the nation in time of possession (34:16), which should be a no-brainer given that the squad runs the ball almost exclusively. In fact, against the Wolf Pack last week the team attempted just two passes and missed on both of them, marking the first time in nearly 50 years that a New Mexico team has failed to complete at least one pass in a game.
Quarterback Cole Gautsche instead used his feet to try and keep the Lobos relevant, scoring twice on the ground in the first quarter. Kasey Carrier ran for 145 yards to give him 1,410 on the season and leave him 40 yards shy of the school�s single-season record of 1,450 by DonTrell Moore in 2003.
While the Lobos were rolling up 352 yards on the ground, the defense was allowing Nevada to produce close to 500 yards, so really there were few positives to take from that side of the ball.
New Mexico's defense on the season overall has been inconsistent at best, giving up 446.8 ypg and 30.8 ppg.
After last week the Lobos saw their passing average drop to 57.5 ypg which is by far the lowest in college football. The team has made a strong case for being the best running team in the nation with 314.9 ypg (currently fourth), but when there's never a threat of passing the ball and defenders are spending so much time on the field, it only makes sense that the Lobos excel in that area.
Against Boise State on the blue turf, the Rams were completely out of their comfort zone and it wasn't until the team trailed 42-0 in the third quarter that they finally woke up and tallied a pair of inconsequential TDs.
The first of those touchdowns came on a complete breakdown on the BSU offense, allowing Chris Nwoke to rumble 72 yards to the end zone, while the second stemmed from similar circumstances as Conner Smith hit Marquise Law with a 30- yard TD strike.
From a defensive standpoint, the Rams gave up more than 500 yards of offense to the Broncos, something BSU hadn't done in more than two months. Then again, giving up a lot of yards is not all that uncommon for Colorado State this season as the team permits 411.4 ypg which is sixth in the conference and 71st nationally. .
The quarterback position has pretty much been a disaster for the Rams this season, with the trio of Smith, M.J. McPeek and Garrett Grayson combining to complete 57.5 percent of their attempts for just over 200 ypg and a total of 15 TDs, against 14 INTs unfortunately.
Both of these teams started off fresh this season with new a head coach, Bob Davie with the Lobos and Jim McElwain at Colorado State, so there was bound to be more lows than highs, but considering some of the progress they've made 2013 should be a lot brighter.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico 27, Colorado State 21
11/21 11:13:48 ET