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Friday, November 28, 2014

Rushing may be key vs. BSU

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By Adria Malcolm / New Mexico Daily Lobo

Senior cornerback Destry Berry (11) and redshirt freshman safety Brandon Branch maul an NMSU player in a 27-14 win at Aggie Memorial Stadium last week. The Lobos host No. 24 Boise State at University Stadium on Saturday.

sports@dailylobo.com

The Lobo football team looks to rip another monkey off its back when it takes on No. 24 Boise State in both teams’ MWC opener on Saturday.

Last weekend, New Mexico snapped a 24 road-game losing streak with a 27-14 victory at in-state rival NMSU.

UNM head football coach Bob Davie said the win over the Aggies was an important stepping stone for the team.

“There’s nothing like winning, and to get it going you have to win,” he said.

Now the Lobos turn their attention to a losing streak against ranked opponents. UNM hasn’t defeated a ranked foe since 2003, when the Lobos defeated No. 23 Utah 47-35 in Salt Lake City.
The Broncos don’t lose often, with three losses in the last three years.

Davie said the Broncos (2-1) have been a pillar of success since head coach Chris Peterson made his way to Idaho.

“You really appreciate the Boise States of the world for what they’ve done,” Davie said. “You get a little bit of a misconception of Boise; you kind of associate them with the trick play, the smartest kid in the class. They have all that. But what they are is they are tough, and they are well-coached. My hat goes off to what they have done there.”

The statistics support Davie: Since 2006, when Peterson became head coach of Boise State, the Broncos have gone 75-7 and have been the highest scoring team in the nation since 2000, with a 41.3 average.

But these aren’t the same Broncos who beat down UNM 45-0 in last season’s finale at Bronco Stadium. Boise State lost four-year starting quarterback Kellen Moore, who is now a backup for the Detroit Lions in the NFL, and with Moore gone the Broncos’ offensive attack has fallen off.

Boise State ranks 116th in total offense and 92nd in passing yards with redshirt junior quarterback Joe Southwick at the helm. Last year with Moore, the Broncos were 12th in total offense and 10th in passing yards.

Davie said he’s more concerned about the Boise State defense, which ranks 10th in the nation in scoring defense and 18th in total defense.

“They’ve got a great combination of some really stout guys and some really athletic guys,” he said. “On defense they’re not going to be in the wrong gap, bust a coverage or lineup wrong. They’re going to make you earn every single thing you get.”

UNM redshirt freshman running back Jhurell Pressley, who rushed for 71 yards and two touchdowns against the Aggies, said the team has a chance to pull the upset against Boise State.

“If we play our keys right we can get a big hole,” he said. “I don’t think we’re going to struggle — we have to get a feel for the game first.”

Davie said if the Lobos control the time of possession with their No. 21 rushing attack and make no mental mistakes, UNM might have a shot.

“There’s not a lot of margin of error for us,” he said. “It doesn’t matter who we play — for us to win it has to be a total team effort.”