College Football action on Saturday afternoon and the New Mexico Lobos of the Mountain West Conference will pay a visit to Notre Dame Stadium South Bend, Indiana to grapple with the Independent Notre Dame Fighting Irish. These teams have never met on the college gridiron.
The Lobos are off a 39-31 home win over Sam Houston State, while the Irish are off a 35-17 road win over Louisville.
Lobos Look For Major Up0set
THis was expected to be an intriguing game as Bob Davie was going to make his return to South Bend, but health issues will not allow that to happen. Davie coached the Irish from 1997 to 2001 and he took to three bowl games in that time, but they lost all three games and was eventually fired. Davie has been with the Lobos since 2012 and they have been to two bowls over that stretch, but New Mexico is off back-to-back 3-9 seasons and that has the seat underneath Davie a tad warm. The Lobos did start the year with a 39-31 win, but it was over an FCS foe in Sam Houston State and they will be facing a much tougher opponent this week.
However, after New Mexico’s last game, Davie had a “serious medical situation” that took place on Aug. 31.
“There was no permanent damage,” Davie said. “The immediate situation was very serious but, hopefully, as I said, there’s no permanent damage and I will be able to go on to live a nice, healthy life.”
“I’m smart enough to know when I’m right and when I’m not,” Davie said. “So I’m not going to go charging back down that hill right away until I’m 100%. I’m going to take this slow and I’m going to do this right.”
The Lobos had a great offensive showing against Sam Houston State as they piled up 485 yards of total offense, including 340 yards through the air. The Lobos have been known as an option team, but last year new OC Calvin McGee switched them to a spread offense. The Lobos threw the ball 95 more times last year than they did in 2017, but still threw for just 177 yards. Now they are in the 2nd year of McGee’s system and the passing game looked very good in game one, but we note that was against an FCS team and not the 7th ranked team in the nation. Brandt Hughes hit just 12/29 passes, but he did so for 218 yards, while Sheriron was 6/11 for 122 yards. Hughes will be out for this game so Sheririon will have his work cut out for him as Phil Steele has the Irish secondary rated as 8th best in the nation.
— New Mexico Football (@UNMLoboFB) September 5, 2019
The Lobo defense was atrocious last year as they allowed 36.2 ppg and 473 ypg and it will be taking its lump this year as well as just two starters are back from that group The Irish offense did not look as good as was expected in game one, but it could very well get on track in this one, especially with an extra week to prepare. Ian Book should be licking chops at the thought of facing a defense that allowed 443 yards passing to an FCS team two weeks ago. The Lobos allowed 558 yards of total offense in this game, so it is clear the defense will struggle again. The Lobos will take a breather after this game as they face New Mexico State at home, followed by road games against Liberty and San Jose State.
Irish Look For Consistency On Both Sides Of The Ball
The Notre DameFighting Irish rolled through the regular season unscathed last year, but then fell to Clemson in the first round of the college playoffs. Notre Dame lost some key pieces from that team, but one big piece is back in QB Ian Book and the Irish are still ranked in the top 10. Still, the Irish did not look dominant at all in their 35-17 opening win over Louisville on the road. The game was tied at 14 all after one, so it was a slow start for Notre Dame, but they outscored the Cardinals 21-3 the rest of the way. Notre Dame outgained the Cardinals by just 31 yards and they allowed them to pile up 258 yards on the ground, so ND had plenty to work on during their bye week.
Ian Book hit 14/23 passes for 193 yards with a TD and no INTs. Irish fans are hoping to get more from him as the season wears on and he has the talent to do so. Book could have a big game in this one as the Lobos have one of the worst secondaries in the nation. The ground game is a big part of the Irish offense and they rumbled for 230 yards against Louisville and at 5.5 yards per pop. Tony Jones Jr. led the way with 110 yards and a TD on 15 carries, while Book was 2nd with 81 yards and a TD on 14 carries. Notre Dame will look to establish the run and then hit the Lobos with a very good assault from the air. The Irish offense will have some fun in this one.
— The Fighting Irish (@FightingIrish) September 9, 2019
As I stated above, the Notre Dame run defense was weak as the Cardinals put up 258 yards on the ground and at 5.6 yards per pop. The good news in this one is that the Irish will not be facing the triple option as the Lobos have switched to a spread offense It did look strong last week, but the Lobos will now be facing one of the best secondaries in the nation and not an FCS secondary. This will be a good test for the Notre Dame secondary as they prepare for the passing attack of the Georgia Bulldogs, who are next on the docket for the Irish. The Irish are huge favorites in this game, but the Lobos could make it interesting if Notre Dame is caught peeking ahead to the monster showdown with Georgia on the road. We will see, though.
New Mexico is:
- 7-2 ATS in their last 9 games after allowing more than 280 yards passing in their previous game.
- 5-2 ATS in their last 7 games in September
Notre Dame is:
- 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 games after allowing more than 200 yards rushing in their previous game