The UTEP Miners will host the New Mexico Lobos in a non-conference match-up on Saturday night. Both teams are 2-1 overall on the season. According to CBS Sports, New Mexico is ranked No. 103rd and 0-3 against the spread this year. UTEP is 1-2 against the spread, and No. 106th ranked.
Last season, UTEP went 3-5 overall and 0-4 in Conference USA. This year UTEP returned 14 starters, eight on offense and six on defense. New Mexico went 2-5 playing a Mountain West only schedule in 2020 and returned 14 starters, seven on each side of the ball.
New Mexico offense couldn't do much right in loss to Texas A&MThe Lobos started the season with two home wins, beating Houston Baptist 27-17 as a 25.5-point favorite and New Mexico State 34-25 as a 19.5-point favorite. Last Saturday, New Mexico faced the No. 7 Texas A&M Aggies and lost 34-0, failing to cover as a 30.5-point underdog. The Aggies outgained the Lobos 429 to 122 in total yards and 24 to 9 in First Downs; Texas A&M also did not even score in the fourth quarter. New Mexico has no success on offense, being held to 89 yards on 36 carries, and quarterback Terry Wilson went 10 for 23 with just 33 passing yards and an interception.
On the season, New Mexico is averaging 329.7 yards per game, 199 passing, and 130.7 rushing. Prior to the horrible game against Texas A&M, Terry Wilson threw for three touchdowns and 381 yards against New Mexico State and 178 yards and three touchdowns against Houston Baptist. Defensively, the Lobos are only allowing 85.7 yards per game and 234.7 passing yards. Texas A&M however picked up 275 passing and 154 rushing yards last week.
UTEP off to best start since 2005After only going 5-27 over the past three seasons under head coach Dana Dimel, UTEP began this season 2-0 for the first time since 2005. UTEP picked up a road win to start the season on August 28, bearing New Mexico State 30-3 as a 9.5 point favorite, followed by a 38-28 win as a 20.5-point home favorite against Bethune-Cookman. UTEP last played on September 10, when they traveled to Boise State, and was dominated in a 54-13 loss as a 25-point underdog to the Broncos. UTEP was outgained by Boise State 461 to 336 in total yardage but lost the turnover battle 6 to 1, with three lost fumbles and three interceptions thrown by quarterback Gavin Hardison.
UTEP is averaging 419.3 yards per game, led by Hardison, who has thrown for 655 yards with five touchdowns and four interceptions this season. The rushing attack has picked up 198 yards per contest but only could manage 104 yards on 40 attempts in the loss to Boise State.
The @UTEPFB unveiled the Texas Western Throwback Jerseys the team will be wearing Saturday night at the Sun Bowl as they face off against University of New Mexico. #losphotogs #texasWestern #LiveLikeLuke #epsportsnet @ConferenceUSA @epsportsnet pic.twitter.com/pqHnA9dpwo— Photos By Ace (@Photos_ByAce) September 20, 2021
Defensively UETP is allowing just 329 yards per game, 2145 passing, and 113.3 rushing. The Miners rush defense was solid in Saturday's loss holding the Broncos to 3.3 yards per attempt and 121 yards, but they were lit up by Boise State quarterback Hank Bachmeier who threw for 340 yards with two touchdowns and no interceptions.
- New Mexico is 1-6 ATS in their last 7 games in September.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
This game isn't one of the more marquee match-ups on Saturday's schedule, and the odds markers have these teams close to dead-even. UTEP has only won seven games since 2017, but with two of those wins coming this season, the program seems to be headed in a better direction. Both teams did face a common opponent in New Mexico State, with the Miners being most impressive in their victory. Overall, this match-up- isn't highly appealing, but I will take UTEP behind tough rushing defense at home.
Full-Game Total Pick
It is hard to trust the under in a game like this. Neither New Mexico nor UTEP has an elite defense, and there is also a possibility that this game could go into overtime. Dating back to last season, five of the previous six games involving the UETP Miners has gone over the total, and New Mexico has seen eight of its previous nine games go over when they have been favored. After getting manhandled by a top-notch opponent in their last contest, I expect both teams to come out looking to make a statement on offense. I will take the over.