New Mexico State vs. Idaho prediction and game preview. Projecting who wins Saturday’s matchup between the Aggies and Vandals at Kibbie Dome in Moscow, Idaho.
New Mexico State vs. Idaho Game Preview
When: Saturday, October 15 – 5:00 p.m. ET
Where: Kibbie Dome, Moscow, ID
The Aggies and Vandals meet this week in Moscow, both looking to ride wins over the Sun Belt’s Louisiana schools. Before its Week 6 bye, New Mexico State defeated Louisiana-Lafayette, 37-31, to pull within a game of break-even. The Aggies are 2-0 at home, but now need to show they can win outside of Las Cruces. For the second time this year, Idaho won a road game, a sign of undeniable progress for fourth-year coach Paul Petrino. The Vandals survived Louisiana-Monroe on a walk-off field goal, and can now move above .500 this late in a season for the first time since 2010.
What To Know About New Mexico State
The Aggies are a porous defensive team, allowing almost 6.5 yards a play. In five games, they’ve yet to hold an opponent below 31 points. It’s on offense that Doug Martin’s squad has a glimmer of hope. New Mexico State leads the league in passing at almost 300 yards per game, but it’s the healthy return of star RB Larry Rose III that has the program feeling bullish. Rose, a Pac-12-caliber back with four 200-yard games on his resume, is back after missing the first three games to an injury.
What To Know About Idaho
The Vandals are a pretty typical, middling Sun Belt team—they’ve got defensive shortcomings to go along with enough offensive potential to compete with average opponents. Idaho was almost perfectly balanced in last week’s win over the Warhawks, generating 211 yards from QB Matt Linehan and 203 yards on the ground. Aaron Duckworth, who led the way with a career-high 121 rushing yards and a score Saturday, has a low center of gravity, which will force New Mexico State to wrap him up in space.
Offense: New Mexico State. The Aggies harbor the more potent passing attack, as well as the game’s best offensive weapon, Rose.
Defense: Idaho. This is not a celebration of the Vandal D, rather an indictment of the Aggies, which rank 125th or lower in the country in sacks, total defense and third-down stops.
Special Teams: Idaho. Vandal Austin Rehkow has a next-level leg, averaging 44 yards a punt while hitting 12-of-14 field goals, capped by last week’s game-winner.
Coaching: Idaho. In the battle of the fourth-year head coaches, Petrino carries a slight edge over Martin for his defensive acumen.
Intangibles: Idaho. The Aggies made the most of last week’s bye, but they’ve been a different team this fall away from home.
Matchup To Watch
Rose vs. Idaho DT Tueni Lupeamanu
Rose more than anyone else is capable of taking this game over with his speed, quick cuts and balance after contact. The key will be to wrap up tightly in space and initiate contact near the line. Lupeamanu is an atypical interior lineman, ranking second on the Vandals with 37 tackles, 25 of which are solos.
Spread: Idaho -4
Over/Under: No line (as of posting)
New Mexico State vs. Idaho Prediction
The Aggies have Rose … and a lot of question marks, especially on defense and with the erratic play of QB Tyler Rogers. Plus, New Mexico State must first prove it can win games on the road. The Vandals are home and confident, with enough offensive balance and quality boots from Rehkow to offset the heroics of Rose, who’s liable to post the fifth 200-yard game of his underrated career.
New Mexico State vs. Idaho Score Prediction: Idaho 37, New Mexico State 34