UNLV Rebels vs. New Mexico Lobos
Date and Time: Friday, November 17, 2017, 9:30 p.m. ET
Location: Dreamstyle Stadium, Albuquerque, NM
Opening College Football Odds: New Mexico -2
UNLV vs. New Mexico TV Coverage: ESPN2
There was a point that this season looked rather promising for New Mexico. The Lobos had no business losing to New Mexico State in Week 2, but after a close game at Boise State, a huge upset at Tulsa and a mild upset against Air Force, this was a 3-2 team that looked good for a bowl game.
Since that point, the Lobos have forgotten how to play offense, scoring just a total of 54 points in their last five games, all of which ended in losses.
Of course, it doesn't help that this team doesn't have a legitimate quarterback. The Lobos are pretty much guaranteed to not have a 1,000-yard passer this season considering the fact that the two leaders in that department, Lamar Jordan and Tevaka Tuioti have 593 and 549 yards respectively.
UNLV still has a shot at improbably making a bowl game this year, but those chances took a huge hit last week when the Rebs lost their final home game of the season against BYU 31-21. It wasn't quite as bad as the 43-40 defeat against Howard that kicked off the campaign, but the results will still feel the same. That was a game the Rebels really had to win if they realistically wanted a shot at playing December football, and they punted the performance on national television.
The nation's No. 121-ranked rush defense was a horrible nightmare against BYU. Squally Canada, a man who had been bottled up all season long, had over 200 yards on the ground against the Rebels, and that could be bad news against a New Mexico team that really only knows how to run the football.
What in the world happened to Richard McQuarley and Tyrone Owens in the New Mexico backfield over the course of these last few games?
McQuarley was thought to be a 1,000-yard back this season after rumbling for 656 yards as a junior, And Owens already was coming off of a 1,000-yard campaign last year and has been a complete dud this season.
The trouble really has stemmed from these last three games, though. These two men have combined to rush for just 85, 81 and 57 yards in the Lobos' last three combined. With as poor as the passing game has been every step of the way this year, it shouldn't be a huge surprise that New Mexico has scored a total of just 27 points in those three games.
If the Lobos are getting back in the win column, both of their featured tailbacks will need to be proficient.
UNLV vs. New Mexico Free Picks
This is going to be one of those games that is really hard to handicap. The Rebels are coming off of a game most didn't expect them to lose to BYU, and New Mexico looks like a team that has checked out for the season.
That said, let's remember that the Lobos have had some good performances here in Albuquerque this season, including the 56-point outburst against Air Force and a near miss in a 27-24 loss to a really good Colorado State outfit.
This is a close spread for sure with New Mexico lined at -2 at all of the top college football sportsbooks, but the matchup between the Lobos' running attack and the UNLV defensive front should be an advantage to the hosts.
College Football ATS Pick: New Mexico -2 at BookMaker.eu
College Football Score Prediction: New Mexico 24, UNLV 17