I feel like the Aggies are going to beat UTEP on Saturday and here’s why:
This is a tough one. NMSU is three-point favorites in the game and after last week’s win over Minnesota they deserve to be. The Miners also improved last week in a 28-17 loss at SMU. Unlike past years the Miners seem to be better defensively — perhaps its even the team’s strength going into Saturday’s contest.
The Miners haven’t played well along the offensive line and haven’t been able to run the ball. Conversely, the Aggies have had trouble stopping the run. I think the Miners will try and run the ball with a redshirt freshman quarterback under center — they have to — but again they haven’t had a running game so it could cancel out one of NMSU’s deficiencies. UTEP quarterback Jay Hall’s play will obviously be a big key in this one. A lot will be on his shoulders.
Conversely, I think the Aggies will be able to get a push on UTEP’s defensive line and will be able to run. This will put the Miners in a bind — NMSU can then be balanced and use the play-action passing game to its benefit.
The lower the score, the better for UTEP. So I think the Miners would prefer to run the football and grind it out, try to make special teams a factor. If the Aggies can get up early on UTEP — similar to last week against Minnesota — it will really play into NMSU’s hands. Try to get the Miners into catchup mode.
My final score prediction: 28-24 Aggies