(KSL Sports) The 8th/9th ranked BYU Cougars face off against the New Mexico Lobos this weekend at LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo.
The Cougars haven't lost to New Mexico since 2004, when the Lobos beat BYU 21-14 in Provo.
New Mexico comes into the game 3-3 (1-1 MWC), having shutout Wyoming in its last game. Redshirt freshman James Wright became the third running back in as many games to gain 100 yards. He ran for 120 yards and a touchdown on just 15 carries.
"We have pretty good running backs in our program and I guess it's lucky that we do because we've had some that have beaten up and banged up," said New Mexico coach Rocky Long. "Some of the other guys have had to step up and they've proved that they are worthy of the task and hopefully we can run the ball this game." Seniors Rodney Ferguson and Paul Baker are the other two running backs that make up the potent trio New Mexico has in its backfield.
But while the Lobos are dangerous on the ground, Long admits their air attack is struggling.
"The last two games we've won because we've run the ball really well when we haven't thrown it or caught it very well," Long says. "When you start playing teams of BYU's caliber, they're so strong and physical up front it's going to be hard to run the ball. So, you have to loosen them up with the pass. Brad [Gruner]'s going to have to do a lot better if we expect to stay in the game."
Since replacing starter Donovan Porterie, Gruner has gone 15-35 for just 88 yards, one touchdown and one interception in two starts.
Long says every Lobo is going to have to step up and his team is going to have to play its best game of the year if they are to have any shot at beating BYU.
"We're playing the best team we've played so far this year in BYU and we're going to have to play extremely well on both sides of the ball. We're going to have to control it by running it some to keep it away from the potent offense BYU has, but we're going to have to play our best game and if we play our best game we've got a shot," Long says. "I think BYU has the best defense this year than they've had in a long, long time. They're explosive on offense like they always are, but the key to anybody having a chance to beat BYU is to control the ball on offense."
You can hear more from Coach Long this Saturday during pregame coverage on KSL Newsradio 102.7FM/1160AM beginning at 2 p.m. You can listen to and watch Greg Wrubell call the game on KSL.com by clicking on the Radio tab and clicking chat below the Now Live picture in the upper right hand corner. Kick-off from Provo is set for 4 p.m.