Alright, the Falcons are back on track.
They made short work of a Florida Atlantic squad en route to a 31-7 victory. Haaziq Daniels looked his best all season, and the defense came up with stop after stop against an Owls team that had been scoring 40 points in each of its wins.
Now, it’s time for Air Force to sink its talons back into the meat of its Mountain West slate. Luckily for the Falcons, they start back up against the Lobos of New Mexico. The Lobos only boast a 2-2 record with wins over FCS squad Houston Baptist and currently 1-4 New Mexico State. As for losses, New Mexico has come up short at UTEP and Texas A&M.
The Lobos are currently led by Danny Gonzales, one of Albuquerque’s favorite sons. He played football for New Mexico before serving as an assistant coach and ultimately returning in time for the 2020 season. Gonzales guided New Mexico to a 2-5 record last season with wins over Wyoming and Fresno State, as well as a 28-0 loss to Air Force.
It’s time for the Falcons to head to Albuquerque with their eyes set on taking a 24-14 series lead. Here’s what to look out for:
Air Force offense vs New Mexico defense
The Falcons should have plenty of chances to rack up yards on Saturday against a Lobos squad that’s sacrificing 326 yards per contest. While New Mexico tends to allow more passing yards than rushing yards, this is an Air Force offense that currently leads the nation on the ground.
It’s safe to assume that Haaziq Daniels will try to improve on his remarkable stat line from last week. He may not set a new record for the longest touchdown run, however — 94 yards is tough to top. Given New Mexico’s shaky pass defense, there’s a good chance that Air Force lets Daniels see what he can do with his arm.
Brad Roberts is Air Force’s leading rusher at the moment with 398 yards and a trio of scores, but Daniels is right behind him. The signal-caller has 389 yards and seven touchdowns, the most on the team.
As for New Mexico, a pair of defensive backs is currently atop the tackle charts. Tavian Combs and Jerrick Reed have had little trouble packing the box score, with 32 stops from Combs alone. Reed is hot on his tail with 28 tackles, a sack, and an interception for good measure.
Air Force defense vs New Mexico offense
No Falcon has racked up as many tackles as the Lobos defensive backs, but some of that may be down to the time of possession. Air Force holds onto the ball with the best of them, which has limited the total number of defensive opportunities.
When the defense has been on the field, Demonte Meeks and Vince Sanford have been on top of the stops. Meeks counts 19 total tackles with 2.5 tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks, while Sanford has 17 total tackles with three sacks and two tackles for loss. Of course, we can’t ignore the impact of Corvan Taylor either. Taylor has three interceptions through four games and should have ample opportunity for another takeaway against the Lobos.
New Mexico’s Terry Wilson Jr. has attempted more than 120 passes already on the season — over four times the number of Air Force attempts. He has six touchdowns and just two interceptions given up, with Luke Wysong leading the team in yardage. Wysong has just 101 yards on the year, which suggests that New Mexico will hope to spread the ball around and get running back Aaron Dumas involved early.
How to Watch
- When: Saturday, Oct. 2 — 6:30 p.m. ET
- Where: Dreamstyle Stadium — Albuquerque, New Mexico
- Watch: Jim Arthur and Jesse Kurtz will have the call for FS2.
- Spread: Air Force is currently a 10.5-point favorite with the over-under set at 46.