Editor's Note: A previous version of this story said the first UNM football game is on Thursday, Sept. 4. This has since been updated to the correct date of Thursday, Sept. 2.

UNM football will begin their 2021-22 season on Thursday, Sept. 2 against Houston Baptist University, an NCAA Division I Football Championship subdivision opponent, at University Stadium.

It comes after a tough 2020 campaign, which saw the Lobos go 2-5 during a season that was shortened due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but also saw the team end the program's 14-game losing streak.

Houston Baptist, who went 1-3 last season and averaged 33.75 points per game, will give UNM football a tough first game. Moving forward, things won’t get any easier. 

The next match UNM will partake in is the traditional rivalry game against New Mexico State University on Sept. 11; after that, they will travel to College Station, Texas, to face off against Texas A&M University, who are currently ranked sixth in the nation under ESPN’s preseason college football rankings.

At home this season, the Lobos will face off against Air Force Academy; Colorado State University; University of Nevada, Las Vegas; and Utah State University. On the road, UNM will compete against University of Texas at El Paso; San Diego State University; University of Wyoming; California State University, Fresno; and Boise State University.

Currently, UNM has the 121st hardest football schedule of NCAA Division I football teams in the country, according to ESPN’s power football index, which also currently projects the Lobos to go 5-7 this season.  

Danny Gonzales, who is in his second year as head coach, said he is excited to be back and playing games again in New Mexico. This is especially due to last year's team not being able to play in the state due to COVID-19 protocols imposed by state government officials.

Gonzales said he is looking forward to watching other college football teams, adding that it might offer the coaching staff some looks at other teams that they will play this year and who their starters are. He emphasized that UNM football will be going one week at a time and won’t look past any opponent.

Spencer Butler is a beat reporter at the Daily Lobo. He can be contacted at news@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @SpencerButler48