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Rutgers vs New Mexico: Complete opponent preview

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New Mexico v Arizona State Photo by Norm Hall/Getty Images

Fresh off of their first win of the season, the Rutgers Scarlet Knights have their sights set on the New Mexico Lobos. The Lobos are fresh off a 32-31 loss to in-state rival and underdog New Mexico State.

Brief Overview

Ranking: N/A

Head Coach: Bob Davie (19-33)

2016 Record: 1-1

Current Streak: L1

SB Nation Site: Mountain West Connection

One Big Thing

Last week, New Mexico dropped a close game to New Mexico State, a game in which they were favored by 11 points. It is important to note that not only are they coming off a big upset loss, but a big upset loss in a big rivalry game. It will be interesting to see how the Lobos respond against Rutgers.

Key Offensive Players

Teriyon Gipson/Tyrone Owens

These two are the running backs that make the Lobos triple option attack move. However, Rutgers really dodges a bullet here, as Gipson is injured and out for the game. Gipson is their do-it-all runner/receiver/returner and has a style of play that Rutgers has struggled to defend in the past. Owens lead the team with 76 yards against NM State and will be the primary runner against Rutgers with Gipson out.

Austin Apodaca

Throwing the ball, Austin Apodaca is nothing special. Even though it is a triple option offense, they throw it a lot more than Army or Navy does. The reason I put Apodaca on here is because he runs the ball and orchestrates a tough offense to defend. Apodaca had 4 carries for 58 yards and a TD in their last game. Last week, the Rutgers d-line, the supposed strongest unit on the team, was horrific when it came to setting the edge and stopping the QB run. It was painful to see Howard run that offense like they were Marcus Mariota and the Oregon Ducks offense and Apodaca could help expose the Rutgers defense.

Key Defensive Players

Dakota Cox

Cox is the best defensive player and the only one that stands out to me. However, he is injured and will not play against Rutgers. Cox is a senior linebacker who already has some really good stats on the season. He has 20 total tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, and an interception. That is a lot of stat boxes filled through only two games. You can tell Cox is a gritty player who does all of the little things right. He reminds me of Temple’s Tyler Matakevich in terms of production and as an overall player and tough, gritty linebacker. The Lobos will definitely miss him.

The pass rush

It is hard to single out any more single players, but it is worth noting that the lobos have 8 sacks already as well as 15 TFLs. Even more impressive is that these numbers are evenly distributed throughout multiple players. The Rutgers offensive line really struggled with the depth of the Washington d-line so this could be a matchup to look forward to.

UPDATE: 12:30PM Teriyon Gipson & Dakota Cox Out For Rutgers Game

Why they are better than you think

When I researched New Mexico, I found a sneaky good team that is without a doubt capable of upsetting the Scarlet Knights. Yes, they are coming off of a tough loss, but Washington State stunned Rutgers last year coming off a loss to an FCS school. New Mexico has plenty of running options on offense as well as a very strong front 7. This may be a game that Chris Laviano will have to win and not rely on the defense and special teams.

One more thing

  • This has trap-game written all over it with a ranked team in Iowa on the schedule for next week. Rutgers CAN NOT look ahead or they will lose