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Friday, November 19, 2010

Game Preview: Brigham Young Cougars vs. New Mexico Lobos

The Brigham Young Cougars face the New Mexico Lobos in the 10th Anniversary game of LaVell Edwards Stadium. When these two teams played a year ago, the Lobos were winless, while the Cougars were 7-2. Although the win-loss records were lopsided, the game wasn’t. It took three missed field goals by New Mexico and a late fourth quarter defensive stand by BYU to secure the 24-19 win.

This year, BYU is just 5-5, while New Mexico has made a one game improvement (1-9). The record differential is smaller this year, but the final score probably won’t be so close. BYU is playing at home. A bowl game is at stake for the Cougars as well. The Lobos already have a win. They still want to beat BYU in the worst way, but they don’t have the fear or finishing the season winless.

The only thing that I see stopping BYU from winning this game is if the offense does a major choke job. The BYU defense should control that side of the game from start to finish. The New Mexico offense has been abysmal. It has averaged just 170 yards passing per game, 110 yards rushing per game, and 16.6 points per game. In all three categories the Lobos rank 98th or worse nationally. The defense is allowing over 42 points per game, including 45 to UNLV and 38 to Colorado State. New Mexico has used four quarterbacks this year. None has thrown for more than 600 yards. No Lobo running back has rushed for over 300 yards.

Things to watch for:
  1. Will BYU become bowl eligible? All BYU needs is a win and what seemed impossible a little over a month ago will become a reality. As eluded to above, this should be a motivating factor that gets BYU to come out and play on edge like the last two weeks.
  2. What will Jake Heaps do for an encore? The freshman has left everyone awestruck the last few weeks. How will he follow up the eighth most efficient game by a BYU quarterback, ever? Will he continue to solidify himself as the best quarterback option for 2011?
  3. Shutout? The defense was seconds away from a shutout against UNLV. The were less than 8 minutes away from a shutout last week. Will the Cougars get it this week?
  4. Cody Hoff-return-man. Cody Hoffman has been electrifying since he started returning kickoffs. His only return against UNLV was a 50 yarder. He was the MWC special teams player of the week after his first game. He had an 80+ yard return called back on a penalty. What will be his longest return this week? Can he end the drought of a kick off return touchdown? Will he give BYU another huge field position advantage?
  5. Sensational Seniors. With it being senior day, you can be assured that each senior will be trying a little bit harder. We all know that guys like Andrew Rich and Brian Logan will play well, but what about the less heralded seniors? Will one of them play out of his mind and be a difference maker?
All-time Series: BYU leads 44-14-1
Last: BYU won 24-19 (2009)
Streak: BYU won 5

KICKOFF: 4:00 PM (MDT)
TV: The Mtn.
RADIO: 1160 AM, 102.7 FM, http://www.ksl.com/

Other recent posts on BYU FOOTBALL TALK:
Thursday Trivia: Last Shutout of New Mexico
Flashback: Cougar Stadium is Renamed LaVell Edwards Stadium
Poll Results: Which TD Pass Was More Important?
Should BYU Cougars Head Coach Bronco Mendenhall Be the Mountain West Conference Coach of the Year?
Game Recap: Brigham Young Cougars 49, Colorado State Rams 10

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