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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 6, 6:00 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Branch Field (39,224) -- Albuquerque, New Mexico. Television: ProView Networks. Home Record: Texas State 1-2, New Mexico 1-1. Away Record: Texas State 1-0, New Mexico 1-2. Neutral Record: Texas State 0-0, New Mexico 0-0. Conference Record: Texas State 0-0, New Mexico 0-1. Series Record: New Mexico leads, 1-0.
GAME NOTES: The Texas State Bobcats hit the road for the first time in over a month this weekend when they visit Branch Field for non-conference action against the New Mexico Lobos.
This will be just the second meeting in history between these programs. New Mexico ran away to a 72-8 victory in the only previous meeting in 2003. The Bobcats should present a much tougher challenge now that they have made the transition to the FBS. Texas State's head coach, Dennis Franchione, held the same position at New Mexico from 1992-1997.
The Bobcats, a team which has moved to the Western Athletic Conference, is facing a team that resides outside of the Lone Star State for the second straight week after facing three Texas opponents to start the season. The team began with a stunning 30-13 victory over Houston in the opener and also picked up a narrow 41-37 triumph versus Stephen F. Austin at home two weeks ago. However, the Bobcats did drop a game in between, a 58-10 setback versus Texas Tech, and added a 34-21 loss at Nevada last week.
In 2009, 2010 and 2011 the Lobos finished 1-11, so already the team has made it past that single win under the direction of new head coach Bob Davie. The Lobos came up short of an upset last week, falling 32-29 to the nationally ranked Boise State Broncos, despite a spirited effort in the final 30 minutes. The loss dropped New Mexico to 2-3 overall.
The Bobcats have been outscored by an average of 10 points per game this season and have gained 40 less first downs than their opposition.
The rushing attack has been decent with Marcus Curry starring as the team's feature back. Curry has gained 193 yards and four touchdowns while averaging 5.1 yards per carry in three games.
Shaun Rutherford keeps opposing defensive coordinators from stacking up against the run. Rutherford is completing 68.3 percent of his passes and has tossed six touchdowns with only one interception.
Isaiah Battle is making a name for himself as the team's home run threat. On just 12 receptions, Battle leads the team with 222 yards.
Texas State is allowing its opponents to rack up nearly 500 yards per game this season. The Bobcats seemed helpless last week against the Wolf Pack, as it ended up surrendering 559 yards to Nevada.
Jason McLean is an impact player for the Bobcats and has a team-best 25 solo stops (34 total). Craig Mager also stands out with two interceptions this season.
In 2011, New Mexico averaged 113.2 rushing yards per game. Davie has clearly changed the culture as the Lobos are now producing 253.8 rushing yards per contest, which is the 10th best average in the FBS.
The Lobos have a loaded backfield with Kasey Carrier, Cole Gautshe, and Jhurell Pressley all seeing significant action. Carrier has been the most frequent ball carrier with 55 carries for a team-high 278 yards. Gautshe and Pressley are tied for the team lead with four rushing touchdowns each.
Although New Mexico is one of the best in the nation at pounding away with the run, it rarely elects to air it out. Quarterback B.R. Holbrook has thrown for only 268 yards in five games. He completed 7-of-12 attempts for 44 yards in last week's loss to Boise State.
The Lobos have allowed 32.2 points per game so far, which is skewed by the fact they have already faced Texas, Texas Tech, and Boise State. New Mexico gave up 514 yards to the Broncos last week, but it did manage to stop Boise State twice in the red zone to keep it close.
Dallas Bollema and Joe Stoner each recovered fumbles versus Boise State, while DeShawn Mills recorded a team-high 10 tackles and added two pass break-ups. Rashad Rainey is starting to make an impact as a blitzing linebacker.
Texas State is clearly not going to be as easy an opponent as it was the last time it visited the Lobos. New Mexico's commitment to the run makes it predictable, but it has not made it ineffective. The Bobcats could win this game if they force enough three-and-outs to keep their defense fresh.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico 31, Texas State 27
10/04 08:04:14 ET