Gildan New Mexico Bowl: Arizona vs. New Mexico Preview

This year's Gildan New Mexico Bowl offers a contrast of offensive styles between New Mexico and Arizona. Photo Courtesy: Gildan New Mexico Bowl Facebook Page
This year’s Gildan New Mexico Bowl offers a contrast of offensive styles between New Mexico and Arizona. Photo Courtesy: Gildan New Mexico Bowl Facebook Page

By Darius Williams

Game Info
Arizona Wildcats vs. New Mexico Lobos
Saturday – December 19 – 1:00 pm CT
TV: ESPN
University Stadium – Albuquerque, New Mexico

Records Before the Game
Arizona Wildcats (6-6, 3-6 Pac-12)
New Mexico Lobos (7-5, 5-3 Mountain West)

New Mexico head coach Bob Davie left the “cushy comfort” world of college football commentating back in 2011 to take on the responsibility of restoring some respectability back into the Lobo program. Coming off 35 losses in 38 games, a change in direction was needed. In walks Davie and the Lobos (7-5) are going to their first bowl game since 2007.

The task of coming away with a victory won’t be an easy one for the Lobos. Standing in their way are the Arizona Wildcats (6-6). A familiar foe of Davie will don a headset across the field. Former West Virginia coach Rich Rodriquez is in his 4th season as the Wildcats head coach. Almost 15 years ago, when Davie was at Notre Dame, his Fighting Irish lost to Rodriguez’s Mountaineer squad in the Fiesta Bowl.

When both teams arrive at University Stadium in Albuquerque, New Mexico for the kickoff, they can expect a packed house of 40,000 fans or so. It will be a contrast in styles as the Arizona Wildcats like to speed up the tempo and strike quickly (53% of their touchdown drives come in 2 minutes or less). New Mexico takes a much slower pace offensively to the field as their triple option attack will come at you in waves…4 yards at a time.

Arizona will have sophomore Anu Soloman under center. Missing time earlier this season from a concussion, he will be looking to redeem himself for what was anticipated as a “break-out” year, yet proved to be one of major inconsistency. The Wildcat defense will get a boost from the return of stud linebacker Scooby Wright. The preseason All American candidate had his junior season interrupted with injuries. He may enter the 2016 NFL Draft, so you can expect him to use this game as proof to scouts that he is back and ready to play at an elite level again.

The balance in overall talent in this game favors the Wildcats drastically. Through scheme and belief in Coach Davie, the Lobos will play hard and smart. In the end, the more talented team will prevail to victory.

Prediction: Arizona 45 – New Mexico 27