Air Force (6-3, 2-3 Mountain West) hosts New Mexico (2-7, 0-5) at 1:30 p.m. Saturday.
SUBPLOTS WE'LL WATCH
Air Force’s running power
The Falcons lead the nation in rushing and have shown that in roughly half their games they can simply overwhelm opponents in that regard. In wins over Northern Iowa, Colorado, Nevada and UNLV they have averaged 471 rushing yards and won in blowouts. They ran for 408 yards against New Mexico last year, winning 38-10. If that happens again, nothing else will really matter. Of course, take that away and the games have more or less been a toss-up.
New Mexico’s quarterback play
The Lobos have been lost on offense this year, ranking 131st nationally in total yards (247 per game), and 127th in scoring offense. They fired their offensive coordinator last month and have recently turned to junior college transfer Justin Holaday at quarterback. He has yet to have a breakout game, completing 42.1 percent of his passes for 94 yards on 38 attempts with no touchdowns. The Falcons’ challenge will be to prevent him from turning the corner.
New Mexico’s strongest point has been its kickoff return unit, where Christian Washington is averaging 27.7 yards per return and brought one back 100 yards for a touchdown. Punter Aaron Rodriguez ranks third in average (43.9 yards per punt) in New Mexico history. If the Lobos can remain in the game, they have ways of manipulating field position to their advantage with these guys.
BY THE NUMBERS
Field goal attempts for New Mexico in a 28-0 loss at Air Force in 2020, its last trip to the academy. The Lobos are the only team since 2000 to miss four kicks in a shutout loss. The misses were from 50 (blocked), 51, 37 and 40 yards.
Air Force ranks in the top five nationally in time of possession (first at 35:37), rushing offense (first at 324.4 yards per game), yards per completion (first at 22.6), passing defense (second at 153.9 yards per game), fewest penalt yards (third at 30.11 yards per game) and fourth-down percentage (fourth at 76.9%).
Consecutive losses for New Mexico at Air Force. The Lobos haven’t won in Colorado Springs since 2000 and are 2-13 all-time at Falcon Stadium.
Rushing yards for Air Force’s Brad Roberts, who is averaging 119.8 yards per game.