New Mexico vs. San Jose State Prediction, Game Preview

    New Mexico vs. San Jose State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday's matchup between the Lobos and Spartans.

    September 29, 2016

    New Mexico vs. San Jose State prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday’s matchup between the Lobos and Spartans.


    When: Saturday, Oct. 1 – 4:00 p.m. ET
    Where: University Stadium, Albuquerque, New Mexico

    This matchup is a tale of one-win programs. New Mexico comes into this game at 1-2. After beating up on South Dakota, 48-21, the Lobos ran into New Mexico State on the road and took a close loss 32-31. A week later, Bob Davie’s team was back on the road at Rutgers and fell to the Scarlet Knights, 37-28. Now, New Mexico is back at home for the first time since the season began and will welcome San Jose State.

    Unlike the Lobos, the Spartans were unable to start their 2016 campaign with a win. San Jose State fell on the road at Tulsa, 45-10, but it was able to bounce back with a 66-35 victory over Portland State a week later. One 34-17 loss to Utah and a 44-10 loss at Iowa State later, the Spartans find themselves at 1-3 with a road trip to Albuquerque before back-to-back home games against Hawaii and Nevada.

    The all-time series between New Mexico and San Jose State has been heavily in favor of head coach Ron Caragher’s team. The Spartans lead it, 12-4-1, and they’re currently riding a three-game winning streak versus the Lobos. New Mexico hasn’t beaten San Jose State since 1976.

    What To Know About New Mexico

    It’s never a good thing when your starting quarterback goes down. Austin Apodaca suffered a collarbone injury against Rutgers, so he’s out without a timetable for a return. That means Lamar Jordan will be the guy. He’s seen action in two of the Lobos’ three games this year, but he played in 12 games last season and completed 51.3 percent of his passes for 1,006 yards and five touchdowns with eight interceptions. It’s clear Jordan is more of a runner than a passer. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry last year and racked up 807 rushing yards with 9 touchdowns.

    Teriyon Gipson is facing a possible suspension, but he’s likely to play against San Jose State. With him on the field, combined with Tyrone Owens, Richard McQuarley and Jordan, New Mexico has a list of ballcarriers they can pound the rock with.

    What to Know About San Jose State

    Quarterback Kenny Potter’s birthday was Thursday, but he might not be celebrating it in the end zone on Saturday. Coach Caragher said Potter is uncertain to play against New Mexico because he’s dealing with a leg injury. That means freshman Josh Love will be called upon to orchestrate the offense. So far this season, Love has completed 49 percent of his passes for 339 yards with two touchdowns and five picks. That means the Spartans could rely a lot more on tailbacks Deontae Cooper and Zamore Zigler, who have combined for 498 rushing yards and three touchdowns.

    Advantages

    Offense: New Mexico – Both starting quarterbacks are banged up. This one is basically a toss up, but the Lobos get it for the stable of runners they have.

    Defense: New Mexico – The Spartans are giving up 39.5 points per game. That’s not a typo. They’re toward the bottom of the FBS rankings at No. 115. The Lobos, meanwhile, have Dakota Cox coming back from a concussion, but he’s expected to play — edge goes to New Mexico.

    Special Teams: San Jose State – Bryce Crawford has yet to miss a kick this season, and both Rahshead Johnson and Bailey Gaither are capable of busting a big return.

    Coaching: New Mexico – Davie has the experience with Notre Dame and led the Lobos to their first winning season last year since 2007. Caragher has yet to lead the Spartans to a winning season, and he’s now in his fourth year. The nod goes to New Mexico.

    Matchup To Watch

    New Mexico running game vs. San Jose State running game

    Once again, both quarterbacks are banged up, and both offenses will probably pound the rock as much as they can. If Gipson, Owens and McQuarley can get loose early, that should take some pressure off Jordan. But the same thing can be said for the Spartans. If Cooper and Zigler can pick up some chunks of yards, that could make it a much smoother transition for Love in the pocket. Whichever running game gets going quicker, the better the game will flow for that team. This should be a control the clock matchup.

    Betting Odds

    Spread: New Mexico – 9
    Over/Under: 56

    New Mexico vs. San Jose State Prediction

    Davie will feed the tailbacks. Then he’ll feed them again, and again. When New Mexico gets the Spartans crowding the box, Jordan will be asked to air it out a little bit. But he won’t stretch the field vertically that much. Jordan will look for Patrick Reed and Dameon Gamblin to get San Jose State on its heels. The Lobos will go into halftime with a lead, but the Spartans will hang around the entire time in a grueling battle of ground games. In the end, Jordan will perform better than Love, and New Mexico will take the win.

    New Mexico vs. San Jose State Score Prediction: New Mexico 30, San Jose State 24

    MORE: 1-128 College Football Rankings – Week 5

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