Seventh-ranked Texas A&M will not have its starting quarterback available for its home non-conference matchup against New Mexico on Saturday. Which way to lean at SBR’s top-rated sportsbooks?
New Mexico Lobos vs. Texas A&M Aggies
Saturday, September 18, 2021 – 12:00 PM EDT at Kyle Field
It could be a bit of a trap game for No. 7 Texas A&M ahead of starting SEC play as the Aggies host New Mexico on Saturday. It’s the fourth all-time meeting between the schools and the Aggies lead 3-0. They last met in 2017 in College State and A&M rolled 55-14.
New Mexico undoubtedly is cashing a big check to simply be a sacrificial lamb on Saturday. The Lobos, a Mountain West school, have only played two SEC opponents in the past 10 years: That A&M matchup four years ago and a 52-3 loss at Arkansas in 2011. It’s the first time that A&M is facing a Mountain West opponent since beating the Lobos in 2017. The Aggies are 4-1 ATS on NCAAF picks in their past five vs. the Mountain West overall.
Lobos off to Rare Strong Start
New Mexico started last season 0-5 but hasn’t lost since, ending 2020 on a two-game winning streak and winning its first two this year, albeit against cupcakes Houston Baptist and New Mexico State. Still, it’s UNM’s first 2-0 start in 16 years. The four-game winning streak is the school’s longest since winning five in a row in 2016. Probably the best-known former New Mexico football player is ex-Bears linebacker great Brian Urlacher, a Pro Football Hall of Famer.
Quarterback Terry Wilson, a transfer from Kentucky, was named the Mountain West Offensive Player of the Week after going 26-for-37 for a career-high 382 yards (most by a New Mexico QB since 2003) and three scores in Saturday’s 34-25 win over rival New Mexico State. Wilson’s season rating of 181.5 is 16th nationally.
The Lobos’ 559 yards of offense on Saturday were their highest under second-year coach Danny Gonzales. Bobby Cole had 107 yards rushing, his third 100-yard game in the past four. Mannie Logan-Greene had 254 all-purpose yards with 106 yards receiving and his first career touchdown, to go with 95 kickoff return yards and 53 punt return yards.
“I feel like we all put it together,” Wilson said. “But at some points it felt like we were shooting ourselves in the foot. Penalties (12 for 112 yards for the game), that’s something we can’t do as an offense. You guys have seen how explosive we are. It stops us a little bit. We have to reboot. We need to get past that and stop hurting ourselves.”
UNM’s last win over a current SEC team was in 2005 over Missouri. The Lobos recruit the state of Texas heavily and have 23 players on the roster from there. They are 4-1 on NCAAF best bets in their past five as underdogs.
Aggies Lose Starting QB King
This game shouldn’t be close if the Aggies (2-0) are focused, but they might be looking ahead a bit to their SEC opener Sept. 25 against ranked Arkansas. A&M was nearly upset this past Saturday, escaping 10-7 vs. Colorado in Denver. That close call dropped the Aggies from No. 5 to No. 7 in the AP Top 25.
Sophomore QB Zach Calzada threw an 18-yard touchdown pass to running back Isaiah Spiller with 2:41 remaining. Calzada had lost a QB competition to redshirt freshman Haynes King, but King hobbled off the field favoring his right leg after a 2-yard keeper on the Aggies' second possession.
He would not play the rest of the way and will miss a handful of games with a “crack in his lower leg.” Coach Jimbo Fisher declined to give a timetable, but King probably won’t be back until mid-October at the earliest. King was ranked by ESPN as the No. 3 dual-threat quarterback in the 2020 recruiting class.
Fisher said they "feel comfortable" moving forward with Calzada at quarterback. He completed 18 of 39 passes for 183 yards, one touchdown and one interception and ran for 28 yards on seven carries in relief of King against the Buffs. A&M held Colorado to just four third-down conversions.
Defensively, the star against Colorado was lineman Jayden Peevy, who had seven tackles, two for loss, and his first career interception. Peevy was named SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week.
A&M is on a 10-game winning streak, which is its longest since winning 12 in a row in 1992. The Aggies have never started 3-0 under Fisher. Receiver Ainias Smith, Spiller and fellow running back Devon Achane are responsible for all five of A&M’s touchdowns so far this year, and they combined to score 24 of A&M’s 41 total touchdowns last season. Junior Jalen Wydermyer is one of the country’s top tight ends. His 12 career TD receptions are the most in program history by a tight end.
Various computer models have the Aggies winning by around 25 points, so we’ll take all those points. A&M is 1-4 ATS on the NCAAF odds in its past five as a home favorite.
*The pick reflects the line at the moment the writer made the play, the odds at the beginning of this article show the live line movement. Since the lines might vary, don’t forget to refer back to our live odds.