Colorado State (5-5) at New Mexico (3-6)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 16, 7 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: University Stadium (39,224) -- Albuquerque, New Mexico. Television: ROOT Sports. Home Record: CSU 3-2, UNM 2-3. Away Record: CSU 2-2, UNM 1-3. Neutral Record: CSU 0-1, UNM 0-0. Conference Record: CSU 3-2, UNM 1-4. Series Record: Colorado State leads, 35-25.
GAME NOTES: Once again the New Mexico Lobos shoot for back-to-back wins for the first time since October of last season as they clash with the Colorado State Rams in a Mountain West Conference showdown at University Stadium on Saturday.
The last time UNM registered consecutive wins was last season when it defeated Texas State (35-14) and Hawaii (35-23), and since then the team has been unable to generate any real momentum. Last week, the team did manage to bring an end to a three-game slide with a 45-37 victory over Air Force, but given that the Falcons are winless in MWC play this year in six tries, the Lobos have to be careful not to take too much from that shootout.
As for the Rams, they are an even 5-5 on the campaign and while most teams are eligible for postseason consideration with a sixth victory, CSU has to come up with two more wins in order to be available for bowl season. Last week, the Rams took a step in the right direction when they picked up their third win in the last four outings as they crushed Nevada at home, 38-17.
Colorado State owns a 35-25 edge in the all-time series after recording a 24-20 win over the Lobos last season.
It took some time for the Rams to get into gear last Saturday, but after knocking through just a pair of field goals in the first half the team erupted for 32 points in the final 30 minutes to blow away Nevada at home by three touchdowns. Kapri Bibbs was easily the star of the show for the hosts as he set a single-game school rushing record with a staggering 312 yards on 30 carries.
Bibbs, who was named the Walter Camp National Offensive Player of the Week, also scored four rushing touchdowns to match a Colorado State single-game record as well. The effort by Bibbs was the second-best performance in the FBS this season, just four yards shy of the 316 produced by Northern Illinois quarterback Jordan Lynch.
While Bibbs was lighting it up on the offensive side of the ball, the Rams were counting on Shaquil Barrett to help slow down the Wolf Pack as he recorded a pair of sacks and a forced fumble for the hosts. Shaq Bell added another three tackles for loss as well.
As well as the defense has the potential to play for the Rams, the fact remains that after 10 games the team ranks last in the MWC and is 118th in the country in passing yards allowed per game (303.3), and that's simply not good enough in a pass-happy league such as the MWC.
Grayson has slowly turned into one of the more reliable passers in the MWC, one who has completed 62.4 percent of his pass attempts for 15 TDs and eight INTs, and while the latter may sound like a sizeable number, consider that he has attempted 327 passes to this point. Doing quite a bit of damage down the field is Kivon Cartwright who, even though he has just 21 catches, has ended up crossing the goal line with the ball six times.
Bibbs has become the talk of the MWC, at least from a rushing standpoint, from averaging 6.3 yards per carry to scoring 19 touchdowns and averaging more than 18 carries per contest.
The Lobos focused their attack versus Air Force on the ground last week, running the ball 65 times for a staggering 451 yards and five touchdowns as they pulled out the eight-point victory in order to snap a three-game slide. Kasey Carrier was first on the unit with a game-high 179 yards on 27 attempts, but he was held out of the end zone. Instead, it was quarterback Cole Gautsche with two TDs and 140 rushing yards, while Jhurell Pressley carried the ball a mere four times for 87 yards and two TDs as well. Gautsche completed only one of his three passes, but it went for a 28-yard touchdown to Jeric Magnant early in the first quarter to kick off the night's scoring.
New Mexico, which ran 58 straight running plays last week, registered its third 400-yard rushing effort of the season and because of that the squad ranks second in the country with 328.9 ypg on the ground. As great as that may be, clearly the Lobos are one-dimensional because the passing attack is accounting for a mere 99.7 ypg and that figures out to be 121st in the country this week.
One would think that, for as much time as the Lobos focus on running the ball in practice, the defense might pick up a few pointers on how to slow down such an attack, but the truth is UNM is 120th in the country in stopping the run, allowing 253.3 ypg.
Against one of the weakest run defenses in the nation, Bibbs and the Rams figure to have a field day in Albuquerque. Maybe he won't put up record- setting numbers in consecutive games, but you better believe Bibbs will be aiming to do just that.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Colorado State 45, New Mexico 27
11/14 15:06:28 ET