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New Mexico at Wyoming: Storylines

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Long's streak on line when Lobos face No. 25 SDSU

New Mexico's Trae Hall scores a touchdown against Air Force during their game Oct. 2 in Albuquerque, N.M.

Chambers or Williams?

Wyoming head coach Craig Bohl reopened the quarterback competition following last week’s 17-0 loss to Fresno State, the program’s first shutout in 11 years. Sean Chambers continued his slump since the Ball State game, finishing 8-for-23 for 111 yards with three interceptions and a lost fumble. Levi Williams also struggled in relief, finishing 1-for-7 for 32 yards with an interception after the Bulldogs had the game well in hand. Bohl doesn’t plan to announce whether Chambers or Williams will be taking the snaps before the homecoming kickoff on Saturday at War Memorial Stadium.

Lobos have their own offensive woes

New Mexico’s quarterback situation might be even worse. Starter Terry Wilson missed last week’s 36-7 loss to Colorado State due to injury and is questionable for Saturday. The Kentucky graduate transfer is ranked seventh in the conference in passer rating (117.9), one spot ahead of Chambers (112.9), after completing 57.6% of his passes for 1,055 yards with seven touchdowns and four interceptions through six games. Freshman CJ Montes was 3-for-19 for 11 yards and two interceptions against the Rams. New Mexico set a MWC game record for offensive futility with 69 total yards of offense.

Pokes in for a Long afternoon

Former New Mexico and San Diego State head coach Rocky Long is in his second season as the Lobos’ defensive coordinator. Long’s Aztecs defeated UW in the 2016 MWC championship game in Laramie and he posted a 3-1 record against Craig Bohl as SDSU’s head coach. New Mexico ended a 14-game losing streak and a 20-game MWC losing streak with a 17-16 victory over the Cowboys last season in Las Vegas. Long, a UW assistant from 1981-85 under Al Kincaid, will be licking his chops to take advantage of UW’s shaky quarterback play with his aggressive and unpredictable 3-3-5 defense.

Turning the table

The headlines from last Saturday’s loss to Fresno State were about UW’s bumbling offense, which turned the ball over five times to set up all 17 of the Bulldogs’ points. But Jay Sawvel’s defense played exceptionally well, limiting Jake Haener to 96 yards passing. The Pokes actually had more total yards (271) than Fresno State (259). This week UW’s defense will have a realistic chance of pitching a shutout against a New Mexico offense that is tied with Arizona for last in the FBS in scoring at 14.0 points per game.

Homecoming momentum

After dropping their first two MWC games to contenders Air Force and Fresno State, the Pokes get an ideal homecoming opponent in the struggling Lobos (2-5, 0-3). UW’s veteran team, regardless which quarterback takes the snaps, needs to get on track with a lopsided victory before next week’s manageable road trip to San Jose State and the looming Nov. 6 Border War against Colorado State. The Cowboys are 20-point favorites for a reason. New Mexico is rebuilding. This is a chance for Bohl and the boys to gain some momentum and perhaps some confidence at QB to begin the second half of the season that began with championship dreams.


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