2022 New Mexico Lobos Preview

by Matt Fargo

New Mexico Lobos

2021-22 Season Record 3-9 (1-7 MWC Mountain) - 1-11-0 ATS - 3-9-0 O/U

Returning Starters

Offense - 5
Defense - 8

Overview

Since entering the MWC in 1999, New Mexico has had its share of good seasons only to be followed up by a long string of bad seasons and it is entrenched in the latter right now. The Lobos had a run of five bowl games in six years between 2002 and 2007 then came seven straight losing seasons with a combined record of 18-67 then went to the New Mexico bowl two straight years and now is in the midst of five losing campaigns in a row and a 13-42 record. Third year head coach Danny Gonzales has been given one more try to form some sort of semblance of a football team after what was an utter disaster last season. New Mexico went 3-9 which is not the worst of records but being outscored by an average of 28-12 including 31-8 over the final eight games tells the story. There is not much help in returning players or incoming players so the writing is on the wall.

Offense

The worst offense in the country will be getting a full makeover this season with just five starters coming back. The Lobos were ranked No. 130 in both total offense and scoring offense, averaging 235.3 ypg and 12.2 ppg respectively and those were not even close to second to last. The quarterback situation was an absolute mess as eight different players threw a pass and it is likely none of them will be the starter this season as Kansas transfer Miles Kendrick has the job to lose. Who he throws to is the question as leading receiver Luke Wysong is back but he had just 224 yards on 9.3 yards per completion and no touchdowns. The running game was better but the two top rushers are gone and taking over will likely be Nathaniel Jones who missed all of last season. The offensive line is another work in progress with two starters back after their top guy transferred out.

Defense

The defense was not half bad as the Lobos were No. 47 overall but that should include an asterisk as opposing teams knew they did not have to do much on offense as two touchdowns were likely enough to win so they went vanilla. But still, it was something and New Mexico brings back eight starters and has a solid No. 48 ranking in returning production. The strength is in the secondary where the top three returning tacklers are back led by safety Jerrick Redd II who had 88 tackles that led the Lobos. They had only nine interceptions which was tied for No. 80 in the nation and that should improve based on their talent and an increased pass rush as they had 25 sacks but nearly a third of those are gone so the experience up front will need to step up. The linebacking crew is nothing special but all three projected starters have a ton of experience and will be better as well.

2022 Season Outlook

13 wins over the last five years is not going to bring a lot of excitement from fans, alumni and anyone else vested into this program but it has to get better at some point. Maybe? The good news is that the offense cannot be any worse and more returning starters might have stalled them even more so some fresh faces could be exactly what they need. The defense has a lot of experience coming back and while last season could have been a façade because no one needed to challenge them, the guess is they will be better. They started 2-0 last season but no repeat of that this year as they host Maine to open and then have Boise St. at home six days later. After that, there are a couple of home and road win possibilities but it will not be easy. The O/U win total is 2.5 and there are likely only four other winnable games after Maine so all it takes is two but is far from a guarantee. 

All photographic images used for editorial content have been licensed from the Associated Press.

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