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Arizona State hosts New Mexico Friday night
By Brian Graham
NEW MEXICO LOBOS (1-1) at ARIZONA STATE SUN DEVILS (1-1)
Sun Devil Stadium – Tempe, AZ
Kickoff: Friday, 10:00 p.m. ET
Line: Arizona State -28, Total: 65.5
After two lackluster weeks to start the season, Arizona State will try to put it all together on Friday night as huge favorites over visiting New Mexico.
The Lobos started the season with a 66-0 rout of Mississippi Valley State, but they struggled mightily last Saturday in an embarrassing 40-21 home loss to 6.5-point underdog Tulsa. The Sun Devils are 0-2 ATS after a brutal 38-17 loss to Texas A&M followed by an unimpressive 35-21 home win versus 35-point underdog Cal Poly. When these teams met last season at New Mexico, 25-point favorite ASU led by only 11 points at halftime, but outscored its opponent by a score of 26-2 in the final two quarters and finished with a decisive 432-207 advantage on the ground in an eventual 58-23 win-and-cover. The Lobos are an impressive 11-2 ATS off an upset loss as a home favorite since 1992, but Todd Graham of the Sun Devils is 13-3 ATS at home after outgaining an opponent by 125+ yards in the previous game as a collegiate head coach. Both schools have a slew of injuries to deal with on Friday night. For new Mexico, the front line is thin with C Toye Adewon (undisclosed) and OT Johnny Vizcaino (concussion) out for the season and OL Garrett Adcock (knee) questionable for Friday. RB Teriyon Gipson (knee), who had a team-high 73 rushing yards in last year’s meeting of these schools, is also questionable for the Lobos. Arizona State had four players get hurt with undisclosed ailments last week in RB De’Chavon Hayes, OL William McGehee, LB Alani Latu and DB Armand Perry, while three other offensive players are questionable in TE Dan Vear (undisclosed) and WRs Frederick Gammage (undisclosed) and Jalen Harvey (collarbone).
New Mexico has done a nice job rushing so far this season with 292 YPG on 5.8 YPC, but the team has possessed the football for only 28:12. The passing offense has been minimal with a mere 158 YPG, but the efficiency has been strong with 8.1 YPA. Sophomore QB Lamar Jordan (14-20, 205 yards, 10.3 YPA) has been much more productive than junior QB Austin Apodaca (9-20, 133 yards, 6.7 YPA) in this young season, and will likely get the start in this matchup. Jordan also threw the ball well in last season’s meeting with Arizona State, completing 7-of-11 throws for 130 yards (11.8 YPA), 1 TD and 0 INT. RB Teriyon Gipson caught that TD pass and totaled 138 yards from scrimmage, but may not be able to go on Friday. The team’s main pass catcher has been senior WR Dameon Gamblin, who has 11 of New Mexico’s 23 receptions and 176 of the 338 receiving yards this season. The Lobos are much more balanced with their running attack, as 12 different players have multiple carries this season. Sophomore RB Daryl Chestnut has produced a team-high 103 yards (12.9 YPC) and senior RB Jhurell Pressley has the most carries (21) for 89 yards (4.2 YPC) and 1 TD. The UNM defense was awful last week, surrendering 321 passing yards and 279 rushing yards to Tulsa. That doesn’t bode well facing a top-flight Sun Devils offense on Friday.
Arizona State has been able to move the football with 411 total YPG, but has also committed two turnovers in each of the two contests. Senior QB Mike Bercovici has been solid with 482 passing yards on 6.3 YPA with 4 TD and 1 INT, but he has also been sacked 10 times, which is one more than all of 2014 when he attempted 186 passes. When Bercovici has stayed upright, he’s been doing a nice job of spreading the wealth, as seven different receivers already have four receptions this season, led by RB D.J. Foster (106 rec yds, 1 TD) and senior WR Devin Lucien (9 rec, 104 yds). Foster has also been solid on the ground with 15 rushes for 89 yards (5.9 YPC), while sophomore RB Demario Richard has carried the mail with 41 totes for 194 yards (4.7 YPC) and 2 TD. Defensively, the Sun Devils need to improve quickly, especially against the run where they have surrendered 231 rushing YPG. They have been better against the pass though, holding opposing quarterbacks to a 54% completion rate and 146 passing YPG