#87 New Mexico Football 2017 Preview

New Mexico Lobos
Overall Rank: #87
#6 Mountain West
Bob Davie has done a nice job in resurrecting the New Mexico Lobos football program in the past five seasons. After a nine win season and another New Mexico Bowl appearance things are definitely looking up across the board for this program. Thanks to the triple option offense that is a pain in the neck for opposing teams to prepare for on a weekly basis, look for New Mexico to be a tough out every week.
2016 Record: 9-4, 6-2
2016 Bowl: New Mexico Bowl vs. UT San-Antonio (W 23-20)
Coach: Bob Davie (27-36 at New Mexico, 62-61 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Bob DeBesse
Defensive Coordinator: Kevin Cosgrove
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Tyrone Owens, RB, 1,097 yards
Passing: Lamar Jordan, QB, 681 yards
Receiving: Patrick Reed, WR, 237 yards
Tackles: Kimmie Carson, LB, 58
Sacks: Garrett Hughes, DL, 6.5
Interceptions: Austin Ocasio, LB, 4
Other Key Returnees: C Blaise Fountain, LT Avery Jordan, RG Aaron Jenkins, RT Charlie Grammel, RB Richard McQuarley, WR Delane Hart-Johnson, K Jason Sanders, P Corey Bojornquez, WR Matt Quarrels
Key Losses: RB Teriyon Gipson, WR Q’ Drennan, WR Dameon Gamblin, LB Dakota Cox, S Daniel Henry, DL Nik D’Avanzo
Lamar Jordan will be the primary quarterback in 2017 and Jordan has done a very nice job of leading the Lobos as part of a very run heavy offense. Tyrone Owens leads a deep group of running backs and will look to pick up the slack for the loss of Teriyon Gipson at running back. Richard McQuarley ran for 671 yards and racked up 18 touchdowns and he will be a nice complement to Owens. Delane Hart-Johnson and Patrick Reed will anchor a wide receiving corps that is talented and does a nice job of maximizing their limited opportunities to catch passes. The offensive line is going to be another fantastic area of strength for New Mexico as center Blaise Fountain leads a group of four returning starters and they will be looking to once again lead the nation in running the football.
Rebuilding will be the theme for 2017 as the Lobos will only return three starters from a defensive unit that was pretty solid for the most part last season. Garrett Hughes is the leading returner along the defensive line after collecting 6.5 sacks last season. Cody Baker will need to add some additional pressure off the edge as opponents will be keying on Hughes this season. Kimmie Carson and Austin Ocasio will provide invaluable senior leadership at linebacker and they will be called upon to carry the defense. In the secondary, Jake Rothschiller and Jadon Boatright have experience, but there is not a ton of experienced talent to back these guys up. Thus, staying healthy all year long in the back end is going to be crucial. Taking the ball away will also help New Mexico a lot defensively this season.
The Bottom Line:
The schedule starts out pretty favorably with two winnable home games against Abilene Christian and New Mexico State. Then the schedule gets tougher with trips to Boise State and Tulsa. So a 2-2 start is to be expected heading into a four game portion of the schedule that will be the difference between making a bowl or not. If New Mexico can get wins over Air Force, Fresno State and split the Colorado State and Wyoming games, then they will be in great position to go back to a bowl game. Winning consistently in Albuquerque is not easy, but the Lobos have found a nice niche with the triple option and that alone should keep in the mix to be a bowl team on a regular basis.
Projected Bowl: None
2016 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 350.0 (1st in nation, 1st in conference)
Passing Offense: 106.8 (127, 12)
Total Offense: 456.8 (33, 3)
Scoring Offense: 36.7 (23, 1)
Rushing Defense: 172.5 (65, 3)
Pass Defense: 222.3 (59, 8)
Total Defense: 394.8 (56, 5)
Scoring Defense: 31.5 (89, 8)
Turnover Margin: -0.08 (73, 6)
Sacks: 2.08 (65, 6)
Sacks Allowed: 0.92 (6, 2)

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