The 2022 season did not go the way New Mexico wanted it to.
The Lobos won two of their first three games against Maine and UTEP. But they didn’t win a single contest for the rest of the year, going 0-8 in Mountain West play.
The Lobos hope 2023 will be drastically different.
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New Mexico Football’s Mountain West Title Odds
New Mexico’s odds to win the Mountain West are +15000, via BetMGM.
New Mexico Football’s Over/Under Win Total
New Mexico’s win total Over/Under is 3.5, with Under 3.5 at -145 and Over 3.5 at +120.
New Mexico Football’s Schedule
9/2 at Texas A&M
9/9 vs Tennessee Tech
9/16 vs New Mexico State
9/23 at UMass
9/30 at Wyoming
10/14 vs San Jose State
10/21 vs Hawaii
10/28 at Nevada
11/4 vs UNLV
11/11 at Boise State
11/18 at Fresno State
11/25 vs Utah State
Bold indicates Mountain West contests.
Key New Mexico Football Returners
2022 All-Mountain West 2nd Team
KR Christian Washington
P Aaron Rodriguez
New Mexico’s Offense Adds Quarterback Dylan Hopkins
After losing their leading passer from last year, the Lobos addressed the quarterback position in the transfer portal.
Dylan Hopkins arrives after playing at UAB and is one of the best Mountain West quarterbacks immediately. He went to New Mexico after Bryant Vincent, UAB’s former offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach, also joined the Lobos.
Hopkins spent the last five years at UAB and played in 32 games. He was on the Conference USA All-Freshman team in 2019 and ended his time at UAB with 4,472 yards, 31 touchdowns, and 16 interceptions while completing 63% of his passes.
D.C. Tabscott, a transfer QB from App State, also joined the program.
At running back, Christian Washington returns after rushing for 310 yards and earning all-conference honors as a kick returner a season ago. New Mexico also picked up ULM transfer Andrew Henry.
Luke Wysong, New Mexico’s leading receiver last year with 34 catches, 291 yards, and one touchdown, returns. Austin Erickson, who added 110 yards on 12 catches, also is back.
New Mexico also heavily emphasized its skill positions in the transfer portal. Wide receivers Caleb Medford (TCU), Ryan Davis (UAB), and Jeremiah Hixon (Alabama State) as well as tight end Magnus Geers (Temple) are among those new to the team.
Compared to the rest of the Mountain West, New Mexico ranked ninth in rushing yards per game (124.4) while allowing the second-most sacks (43). Left tackle J.C. Davis, center C.J. James, and guards Shancco Matautia and Isaiah Sillemon are among the O-linemen who started multiple games and are back for the team this year. The Lobos also added former Georgetown O-lineman Sam Telesa via the transfer portal.
New Mexico’s Defense Going Through Turnover
After ranking seventh in the Mountain West for scoring defense (26 points per game allowed) and total defense (360.3 yards per game allowed), the Lobos are seeking to take a step forward on that side of the ball.
And whether it means improvement or not, New Mexico has seen plenty of turnover on defense. The Lobos’ top seven tacklers from last season are all gone.
That includes UNM’s leading tackler Cody Moon, an All-Mountain West honorable mention linebacker who went to San Diego State. He paced New Mexico with 105 tackles, 9.5 tackles for loss, and 4.5 sacks a year ago.
Syaire Riley is among UNM’s returners on defense. The senior linebacker totaled 36 tackles and three TFLs in eight games last year.
The Lobos also added other Division I defenders this offseason. At safety, TCU transfers Marvin Covington and D’Arco Perkins-McAllister are new to the team. UNM also picked up former Washington State defensive lineman Gabriel Lopez.
New Mexico Football Season Prediction
New Mexico won’t be the Mountain West champion but will double its win total from 2022.
The Lobos should be able to show more promise than they did last season. And that will begin with their non-conference slate.
While I don’t think they’ll beat Texas A&M or even New Mexico State, the Lobos should be victorious when they host Tennessee Tech and play at UMass two weeks later.
And I don’t believe two Mountain West wins is too hard to imagine for New Mexico. And that’s after accounting for losses to Wyoming, UNLV, Boise State, and Fresno State.
New Mexico gets to play San Jose State, Hawaii, and Utah State all at home and takes on Nevada on the road. The Lobos should be able to pull off a couple victories among those four matchups.
Which would mean New Mexico would go over that 3.5-game threshold.