BOISE, Idaho--The New Mexico football team has a date with Boise State this Saturday, and the 14-13 win last Saturday over Utah State has put the Lobos in position to win their first conference championship since 1964.
New Mexico, winners of four of their last six games, is 5-4 overall and 3-2 in Mountain West Conference play, sitting just one game back of Boise State and Air Force in the Mountain Division. However, with games this week against the Broncos and November 28 vs. the Falcons, New Mexico can reach the conference championship game with wins against those two contenders and a win over Colorado State next Saturday.
New Mexico defeated Wyoming (38-28), New Mexico State (38-29) and Hawaii (28-27) before knocking off the Aggies last Saturday. In between those four wins, the Lobos lost 35-17 to Nevada and 31-21 to San Jose State. But the way the schedule is set up, New Mexico would win the division with three wins.
If New Mexico takes care of its opponents on the field, the worst they would finish is in a tie for the division lead with wins over all five Mountain Division teams and would win every tiebreaker they could be up against. The Lobos have never won a Mountain West championship since the conference was established in 1999, and the last time the school captured a league title was in 1964 when they were a member of the Western Athletic Conference.
New Mexico is averaging 365.2 yards per game and features a triple option attack, the kind that historically has given the Broncos fits. Last year, the Lobos rang up 505 yards on the ground against Boise State, an all-time school record for the most rushing yards allowed by a Bronco team. When Rice ran the triple option against the Broncos in 2001, it resulted in 430 rushing yards in a 45-14 Owl win, a performance which ranks as the third-most rushing yards given up by a Boise State team.
By upsetting Utah State last weekend, the Lobos are now in control of their postseason hopes, an advantage they haven't had this late in November in a long time.
With title implications for both teams, New Mexico and Boise State collide Saturday at 8:15 p.m. Mountain Time in Albertsons Stadium.