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Texas A&M Aggies 2021 Opponent Preview: The 2-0 New Mexico Lobos

Texas A&M hosts the Lobos for just the fourth time in their history.
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The Texas A&M Aggies will host the Lobos in week 3 and they might just be the easiest opponent of the 2021 season. Danny Gonzales is entering his second season for the New Mexico Lobos and he and the team will be looking to improve on their 2-5 season from 2020.

New Mexico lost their first five games with Danny Gonzales in 2020 after his return to the school, and the Lobos will be in for a rude awakening at Kyle Field on September 18.

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In three previous meetings, 2008, 2009, and 2017, the Texas A&M Aggies are 3-0, have outscored the Lobos 124-42, with the largest margin of victory being 41 points for the Aggies in 2008.

Will their 2021 matchup be anything different? There’s no indication to think it will be.

NEW MEXICO 

2021 Record: 2-0 (0-0 Mountain West)

Head Coach: Danny Gonzales

Gonzales is entering his second season with New Mexico, being hired as the new Lobos’ head coach in December 2019, replacing Bob Davie.

Offensive Set: Spread / Run-Pass Option

Defensive Set: 3-3-5

Returning starters on Offense: 7

A strong and deep running game will be led by senior Bobby Cole and Nate Jones, although Jones was benched for spring practice. Quarterback transfer Terry Wilson (Kentucky) is a 25-game starter in the SEC and a two-time captain. He's the clear-cut starter heading into 2021 for the Lobos. 

On the season through two games, Wison has completed 74.2 percent of his passes, completing 46 of 62 attempts for 556 yards. He's also thrown six touchdowns and no interceptions.

The Lobos' leading rusher on the season is Bobby Cole, rushing for 144 yards on 30 attempts with one touchdown, while the team's leading receiver is Mannie Logan-Greene, with 116 yards on 9 catches through two games, also with one touchdown.

Overall the Lobos are scoring an average of 30.5 points per game, and totaling 434 total yards per game, including 289.5 passing and 224.5 rushing.

Returning starters on offense:

QB Terry Wilson, Sr (Kentucky Transfer)

RB Bobby Cole, Sr*

WR Andrew Erickson, Soph*

WR Mannie Logan-Greene, Sr*

WR CJay Boone, Soph

TE Kyle Jarvis, Sr

LT Cade Briggs, Jr*

LG Austin Cook, Sr*

C Kyle Stapley, Sr*

RG Isaak Gutierrez, Jr*

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* Denotes returning starters

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Returning starters on Defense: 6

With very little time in 2020 to practice Rocky Long's 3-3-5 defense, things did not go well. In 2021, eliminating the big play is a priority, starting with generating more pressure on the quarterback. Safety Jerrick Reed II led the Mountain West with four interceptions. 

For 2021, the Lobos' leading defender is safety Tavian Combs with 17 tackles including 9 solo, and he also has one interception and two passes defended. 

The Lobos are allowing an average of 21 points per game and 216 yards per game total, including 166 yards per game passing and just 50 yards per game rushing.

Projected starters on Defense:

DE Joey Noble, Sr*

NT Ben Gansallo, Sr

DE Jake Saltonstall, Jr*

LB Devin Sanders, Sr*

LB Ray Leutele, Soph

LB Jeffrey Blake, Soph

CB Donte Martin, Jr*

CB Corey Hightower, Sr

S Tavian Combs, Soph*

S Patrick Peek, Sr

S Jerrick Reed II, Sr*

Top Newcomer:

QB Terry Wilson

The second he committed as a graduate transfer, he became the starter. Wilson's 17-8 record as the starter at Kentucky in the SEC offers UNM far more success and experience than the Lobos have seen at that position in a long time. Wilson is 2-0 this season.

After Texas A&M:

The Lobos face a more favorable non-conference matchup as they face UTEP in El Paso at the Sun Bowl. The Miners were last in the Conference USA West Division at 3-5 (0-4 Conference USA) in 2020. Through three games in 2021, they are 2-1 with wins over New Mexico State and Berthune-Cookman, and a loss to Boise State.

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