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GAME PREVIEW: BYU vs. New Mexico

GAME PREVIEW: BYU vs. New Mexico


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(KSL Sports) After an uneven showing in Logan against Utah State, the 8th/9th ranked BYU Cougars are back home to face the New Mexico Lobos.

Even with a 20 point win, the Cougar offense struggled with consistency and maintaining drives. After going up 24-0 in the first half, BYU was outscored by the Aggies 14-10 the rest of the way.

This weekend the Cougars take on a confident New Mexico team that has won two straight games without much production from their quarterback. Since replacing starter Donovan Porterie, Brad Gruner has gone 15-35 for just 88 yards, one touchdown and one interception. The Lobos, however, have dominated on the ground rushing for 297 yards against New Mexico State and 317 yards against Wyoming.

KSL takes a look back and a look ahead as we prep for game day.

What did we learn about BYU vs. Utah St.?

- The Cougars have to avoid getting complacent - The Cougars have to maintain their offensive timing to be effective - BYU's opportunistic defense is effective at creating turnovers/scores. (14 turnovers, 3 touchdowns last three games)

What questions do we have about BYU?

- Special teams. The Cougars missed one FG, had another blocked against Utah St. - How big of a factor will WR Michael Reed be returning from injury? - Can the Cougars cut down on penalties? (21 penalties for 223 last two games)

What can BYU expect from New Mexico?

- A heavy dose of rushing (614 yards in last two games) as UNM tries to control the clock. - a steady dose of UNM's 3-3-5/3-2-6 defense. - A physical game on both sides of the ball

What can we expect from BYU vs. New Mexico?

- A quick start (BYU has scored "first-touch" touchdowns (offensive or defensive) in 13 of the last 16 games). - A balanced offensive attack as BYU fine tunes for TCU. - The defense to get after UNM redshirt freshman QB Brad Gruner.

Miscellaneous:

- BYU's 5-0 record this season marks its best start since 2001. - BYU has won 15 straight games (last loss: 55-47 at Tulsa, Sept. 15, 2007), 15 consecutive games at home and 17 straight conference games - The combined score of BYU's three home games this season is 144-17 - Under Mendenhall BYU is 31-4 when leading at halftime and 30-1 when taking a lead into the fourth quarter - Mendenhall has never lost to his former team (3-0) since taking over at BYU - BYU won in Albuquerque last season, 31-24 - New Mexico has won 7 straight games in the month of October (last loss: 14-10 to Wyoming in 2006) - UNM coach Rocky Long has never beaten BYU in Albuquerque, but is 2-3 in Provo. - BYU scored 137 unanswered points over its past three games (UCLA, Wyoming, Utah St.) before the Aggies scored a touchdown in the fourth quarter - After only two FG attempts in the first four games, BYU attempted four against Utah St. However, Mitch Payne missed a ??-yarder and had another attempt blocked. - WR Austin Collie has a dislocated finger, but will play against New Mexico - LB David Nixon (leg/ankle) and DB Scott Johnson (thigh), injured against Utah St., are expected to play against New Mexico - BYU is 10th nationally in scoring offense (41.2 points/game). UNM is 77th nationally in scoring defense (27 points/game) - BYU is 8th nationally in scoring defense (11.6 points/game). UNM is 85th nationally in scoring offense (22.33 points/game) - BYU is 2nd in the country and first in theMWC in third down coversions (64%). UNM coverts 31% (8th MWC).

Conclusion:

BYU wants to improve upon its effort at Utah State and come out firing on all cylinders. We see the Cougars starting strong, racing out to a lead, but instead of fading like they did in Logan they'll maintain their composure and dominance on both sides of the ball as they gear up for their showdown against TCU next week.

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