New Mexico aiming for another strong game vs Boise State
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) No. 19 Boise State at New Mexico on Friday night doesn't seem like much of a matchup on paper.
The Broncos (4-0, 1-0 Mountain West) have been the class of the conference for years while the Lobos (2-2, 1-0) just regained a measure of respectability last season after a seven-year bowl drought.
Boise State has been impressive with wins over the Pac-12's Washington State and Oregon State on the road, while New Mexico has squandered doubled-digit leads in losses to mediocre New Mexico State and Rutgers.
The Broncos lead the series 6-1 but that loss came at home last season 31-24.
Here are some things to watch for as the Lobos try to pull off another big upset of Boise State on Friday:
BEST SERVED COLD: Revenge or retribution is not something Broncos coach Bryan Harsin seeks against New Mexico.
''That's about last year's team,'' he said. ''You don't need to pull that out. Anytime you lose a contest, you don't need to use that as a revenge factor. We have plenty of things we have to concentrate on to get better and we'll stick to that.''
Lobos coach Bob Davie, however, sees it a bit differently.
''It was an unbelievable game,'' he said. ''And to be honest that's why our challenge this year is even greater than last year.''
DECEPTION: Both teams rely on subterfuge when it comes to the offense. The Broncos have had a history of sneaky plays designed to throw opponents into disarray - usually successfully.
''They still have all the flipping of personnel, different personnel groups,'' Davie said. ''They still have the deceptive plays that they execute at a very high level. Their bank of deceptive plays is better than anybody's in the country.''
New Mexico, meanwhile, will be rolling out its triple option package behind running quarterback Lamar Jordan as passing specialist Austin Apodaca continues to recover from an injury.
''It's a different style and they do a very good job at it,'' Harsin said.
D-FENCE: In short, Boise State brings it, limiting opponents to 18 points per game. And the Lobos, well it's still a work in progress as they are giving up almost 33 points a game.
''There's so much good that you want to feel that you're close,'' Davie said as he reeled off a string of positive numbers from the team's last game against San Jose State. ''But there's a little hesitation and all of sudden there it is.''
By there it is, Davie means another big play as New Mexico has given up nine touchdown plays of 40 yards or more already this season.
HOLD THAT LINE: The Broncos' strength defensively is up front, snuffing out opposing rushing games. Boise State is grudgingly allowing 72 yards a game on the ground.
''I think the O-line and D-line, they've improved,'' Harsin said. ''Those are areas that are really improved. The guys up front have done a good job.''
New Mexico, however, counters with one of the top rushing schemes in the country, piling up 347 yards a game on the ground. Teriyon Gipson is the Lobos' top rusher with 399 yards and a 12.9 yards per carry average.
''We're going to try to keep that ball and keep their offense on the sideline,'' Davie said. ''Time of possession, especially when you give up big plays on defense, is not a huge factor, but there's no secret that is what we are. That's what this program is. Run the ball. Control the ball and try to grow the defense.''
AIRING IT OUT: Brett Rypien is averaging 256 yards a game and has hit receiver Thomas Sperbeck for 431 yards. Spreading the field and the passing options have allowed Jeremy McNichols to rumble for 504 yards and seven TDs.
Trying to snuff all of the Broncos' options is a concern, Davie said, particularly since no one else has come close to doing so.
''I don't think we're going to shut Boise out,'' he said with a chuckle. ''I think Boise will make a few plays. So let's keep this in perspective as we fight to try and win a game.''