This is any early edition of the Know the Foe, as I will be traveling up to Utah on Thursday for the game this weekend. The thing about this weekend's game is that you really shouldn't even need an introduction to the New Mexico Lobos. I mean who is there to introduce? At least the Colorado St. Rams had Sisson to watch, even if the team is terrible (and man what a game Sisson had against the Cougars). But for the Lobos, it's been more of the same since losing Rocky Long.
It's really hard to believe that 4 seasons ago this was a 9 win team. They haven't won 9 games in all the following seasons combined. In fact they won't reach the combined 9 wins until next season at the earliest (they have won 6 games since 2007).
So what do Cougar fans have to look forward to this week?
BYU's Rookie Offense
I don't know what Coach Anae put in the Training Table food during the bye week, but his boys on the offensive side of the ball are on a roll. Granted it is easy to gain confidence against the UNLV Rebels and CSU Rams, but it hasn't all been easy. The Offense has rolled up big scores by making big plays. Receivers who have ben blanketed, have been making great catches. RB's have been breaking tackles and breaking ankles as they hit big runs. And my favorite of all is what seems to be the true emergence of Jake Heaps. I have begun to see him be more relaxed in the pocket, and step up when pressured. He has also learned that it doesn't take a 100mph fastball every time to get the job done. He is starting to show more touch in the passing game, and wouldn't you know it, people are actually able to catch the ball. Jake has broken the century mark for the year in his passer rating, which is drastic considering where he started the year.
BYU's or should I say, Bronco's Defense
I never stop thinking about what might have been when I watch this defense play under Coach Mendenhall. Once again, another stellar performance. They held Colorado St. to half their average rush yards. To me that is always the key statistic, because 99% of time if a team can't rush, they can't win the game. The only exception I have ever seen on this was our 2005 game against Notre Dame, where they didn't even bother running the ball because our pass defense was so weak, that they knew they could eat us alive without even trying to run. I think that team averaged over 150 rush yards/game, and against us they ran like 15 times for 30 yards or something ridiculously low.
What you need to know about New Mexico
They are the worst of the worst. They are ranked in the 100's in every category. There is really no part of their team that makes you think they even have a chance. I mean I feel like I am beating a dead horse, but I went the the NCAA website to try and find some kind of stats on the Lobos, and they are so bad as a team and as individuals that there is nothing to be found.
New Mexico is going to try and control a power run game in my mind if they want to stay in the game. Much like BYU's approach to SDSU, they have to control the clock. They love the power game with pulling guards and lead blockers that hit between the tackles and then try and stretch the field on play action. The key to a Cougar victory will be to stop the run early and often and then play with discipline in the back end on the play action to not give up the big pass (see TCU Horned Frogs v San Diego St. Aztecs). Big plays, even if they are the only success of the game, will keep a team hanging around, and the longer a bad team hangs around, the more they start to believe they are actually good.
Don't worry Cougar Fans, I don't see any problems here.
BYU 45, New Mexico 9