It's time for the Rio Grande Rivalry game between the Aggies and Lobos. New Mexico State owns a two-game win streak in the series and is looking to make it three in a row when they face the Lobos in Albuquerque on Saturday. We've enlisted the help of the Sports Editor at UNM's student paper, The Daily Lobo (no relation to The Daily Aggie) to give Aggie fans an idea of what to expect from the Lobos on Saturday and what, if any, impact the firing of Mike Locksley might have on the Lobos on Saturday.
Obviously the biggest news out of Albuquerque was the firing of Mike Locksley. Have you noticed any difference in the mood around the team with the change at the top and what changes if any do you expect to see from the new interim head coach?
The team actually seems a but down at the moment from what I can tell even though Locksley seemed to be a pretty bad coach the players really cared about him and respected him.
Have you noticed any change in the attitude towards the football team coming from the student body and fans in general with the firing of Locksley? Are students and fans more/less excited about the team now?
I think the firing could not have come at a better time. Everyone is pretty fired up with the game against NMSU on Saturday and I expect the biggest turnout of the year. There have been a lot of Facebook events made to get students and residents of ABQ to the game.
The big question for fans seems to be whether or not the coaching change will "ignite" the Lobos in this game. What are your thoughts on this? Do you think the Lobos will gain some extra motivation with Locksley now gone and is it your feeling that maybe the team had "quit" on Locksley?
I personally don't think the coaching change will have much of a positive effect on the team. Morale is already low and our defensive coordinator is the one taking over. All you have to do is look at the defensive stats this season to see he has not done his job too well either. I don't think the team quit on Locksley at all, maybe some players, but as a whole they all played hard for him we just aren't a very good team.
The Lobos have switched between Taurean Austin and BR Holbrook at quarterback with both playing last week but Holbrook playing the second half and throwing for 289 yards and a pair of touchdowns, all in the second half. Do you think Holbrook's second half performance is an indication that he's ready to take over the starting role the rest of the season and that this could be the spark the team needed offensively?
I think that both of our quarterbacks need a lot of work. Austin played quite well in his first game against CSU but just made some dumb mistakes. As for Holbrook he played good but the team we played was the worst on paper we will play this season. Its hit or miss if either of them will show up because both are very inconsistent.
Defensively things have been a struggle with the Lobos giving up 52, 59 and 48 points in the last three games. What's been the issue for the team (aside from the first two games being against very very good opposing teams)
We are just an undersized team that can't make tackles. Offensive lines push us around and give the opposing quarterback way too much time to pick us apart. We also give up too many big plays and it seems that we will do well for a few drives then just collapse, like the rest of the team just very inconsistent.
What player(s) on offense should the Aggies be worried out on Saturday?
Wide Receiver Deon Long has been one of the few bright spots this season and Tight End Lucas Reed always performs well.
What player(s) on defense should the Aggies be worried about on Saturday?
Carmen Messina is a solid linebacker and has a chance to play at the next level.
Who are a player on offense and defense that could have a breakout game against the Aggies on Saturday?
Deon Long set a record last week for most yards from scrimmage for a Lobo last week so look for him to have a big game on offense and special teams.
The Lobos will win this game if…
Our offensive line can protect our quarterback and our defense can hold the Aggies offense to under 17 points.
The Aggies will win this game if…
They exploit our weaknesses on the defensive side of the ball and dont make too many mistakes.
Your prediction for the game:
Sad to say but I think a high scoring Aggie win is in the cards. 45-24 NMSU.