Gildan New Mexico Bowl
UTSA (6-6) vs. New Mexico (8-4), Albuquerque, 2 p.m., ESPN
New Mexico -8.5 – O/U 54
It’s always difficult to predict how a bowl game will play out when a team has never been to a bowl, especially when it’s playing against a team with a spotty bowl history. UTSA has a fledgling program and will be playing in its first-ever bowl game. New Mexico has only been in eight bowls since 1997 and is 1-7 in those games. New Mexico’s last three bowls have all been played on their home field, and they’re even just 1-2 in those three. The Roadrunners can throw the ball a little, but they’re not going to win if they have to depend on the pass. They’ll do best if they can establish a dominant ground game behind RBs Jarveon Williams and Jalen Rhodes. New Mexico is all about the run and runs the triple-option with a lot of success, with RBs Teriyon Gipson and Tyrone Owens both eclipsing 1,000 yards this season. On the surface, New Mexico’s superior talent on both sides of the ball, plus its clear home-field advantage, should give the Lobos a better path to victory. Still, don’t count out the potential for an upset from the bowl game first-timers.
Prediction: New Mexico, 34-24
Copyright © 2016 by Doug DeBolt.