New Mexico (3-3) at Hawaii (1-4)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 13, 11:59 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Aloha Stadium (50,000) -- Honolulu, Hawaii. Television: ROOT (NW). Home Record: UNM 2-1, Hawaii 1-1. Away Record: UNM 1-2, Hawaii 0-3. Neutral Record: UNM 0-0, Hawaii 0-0. Conference Record: UNM 0-1, Hawaii 0-2. Series Record: Hawaii leads, 14-7.
GAME NOTES: They've matched their entire win total from the last three seasons combined, and now the New Mexico Lobos are shooting for back-to-back victories for the first time in more than four years as they compete against the Hawaii Warriors in Mountain West Conference action at Aloha Stadium on Saturday night.
New Mexico, which had won just a single game in each of the previous three campaigns, posted a third victory in six chances over the weekend with a 35-14 pounding of Texas State at home. The win was the second in the last three outings for the program and new head coach Bob Davie.
Now the Lobos are trying to win consecutive games for the first time since 2008 when they followed up a 35-24 decision over New Mexico State on Sept. 27 with a 24-0 blanking of Wyoming a week later. A victory this weekend would also mark the first for the Lobos outside of the state of New Mexico since taking out San Diego State, 20-17, on Oct. 20, 2007.
As for the Warriors, they have just one win in five chances this season and still have yet to take down another program from the Football Bowl Subdivision. Aside from a 54-2 blowout of Lamar at home in the middle of September, Hawaii has struggled in a big way. Last weekend the team was again on the mainland and was dealt a 52-14 setback by San Diego State in conference play. The Warriors have dropped three in a row overall.
Hawaii owns a 14-7 advantage in the all-time series, but the teams haven't met since 1998 when the Lobos defeated the Warriors in a 30-20 decision.
On his way to being named the MWC Offensive Player of the Week, running back Kasey Carrier ran for 191 yards and four touchdowns for the Lobos in their lopsided win over Texas State at home. Carrier's four TDs in the outing matched his entire career total and his yardage was also a career high.
As a group, the Lobos ran for 361 yards and five scores as quarterback B.R. Holbrook directed traffic and put the ball in the air a mere three times, converting one pass for nine yards.
The UNM defense was all over the Bobcats as five different players had a hand in making five sacks, while Destry Berry posted a pair of interceptions. The Lobos limited Texas State to just 32 rushing yards as well.
Overall this season, the Lobos have been fairly decent at stopping the run, limiting foes to 144.5 ypg which is second-best in the conference and 57th nationally. Unfortunately, the pass defense hasn't stood up as well, permitting 281.2 ypg which is last in the conference and 105th in the country this week.
Clearly coach Davie has brought a new offensive approach to the Lobos, one that does not include passing the ball as long as they can help it. Holbrook is completing an average of just six passes per game and has only one TD to his credit, but on the positive side he has not thrown an interception either and that has helped the team in turnover margin a great deal.
The top three UNM ball carriers; Carrier, Cole Gautsche and Jhurell Pressley have combined for nearly 1,100 yards and 15 touchdowns.
While the Lobos are obviously one of the top running teams in the nation, the opposite is true for the Warriors who are generating just 104.2 ypg to rank 110th entering play this week. However, Will Gregory tried his best to change that perception a bit last week against San Diego State when he gained 81 yards and scored once on 22 carries, but it still wasn't nearly enough to keep Hawaii out of the loss column again.
Truth be told, the offense for the Warriors the last few weeks has been rather dismal all-around. Quarterback Sean Schroeder accounted for just 112 yards and a score through the air as he completed 14-of-28 passes, the team putting up just 173 yards of total offense in the meeting with the Aztecs. A week earlier the Warriors were held to only 149 yards of offense by BYU so clearly head coach Norm Chow needs to kick his crew into gear at some point.
However, coach Chow has more to worry about than just a lackluster offense these days because the defense is also suffering by giving up 43.8 ppg which is 119th in the country at the moment. Put that together with just 20.4 ppg on offense, most of which was recorded against Lamar, and Hawaii has one of the worst point differentials in recent memory.
The Lobos are far from a dominating program, but given how much Hawaii is struggling on both sides of the ball, this could be that one game where UNM finally breaks through outside the Land of Enchantment.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico 27, Hawaii 17
10/10 10:33:23 ET