CSU Rams vs. New Mexico football: 4 things to know, key matchups and predictions

New Mexico (2-9, 0-7) vs. CSU Rams (2-9, 2-5 Mountain West)

When/where: 1:30 p.m., Friday, Canvas Stadium

TV/Radio: CBS Sports Network/1600 AM, 98.1 FM

Line: CSU -7.5, 35.0 over/under

Weather: 56 degrees, sunny, clear

What to know

Millen on point: Barring a crazy performance by the Lobos defense, freshman QB Clay Millen is expected to finish the game as the Rams’ new single-season leader in completion percentage. The Washington native enters the game at a 71.4% clip on 210 attempts, nearly seven percentage points better than the current mark of 64.7% set by Pete Thomas in 2010 (391 attempts).

Ball security: In its past 19 games without a takeaway on defense, New Mexico is 0-19. Don’t beat yourselves, Rammies, and the Lobos probably won’t beat you, either.

Dequan Watch: With 1.5 tackles for loss in this game, fifth-year senior Dequan Jackson, who’s playing in his home finale at Canvas Stadium, can tie former Rams great Joey Porter for No. 10 on the program’s all-time career TFL list, with 28.0. Jackson enters the weekend with 26.5 TFLs to his name.

Like last time? This is only the Lobos’ second-ever visit to Canvas Stadium. The first was a doozy, as New Mexico clung to an 18-17 lead until the final seconds. The Rams marched 65 yards on 11 plays to set up a game-winning 26-yard Wyatt Bryan field goal as time expired, cinching a 20-18 CSU victory. With two teams this similar on paper, could we be in for an encore?

Key matchups

CSU S Henry Blackburn vs. New Mexico QB C.J. Montes. Montes’ first collegiate start came last fall vs. CSU in Albuquerque. The Rams’ D held the Lobos’ quarterback to a 3-of-19 passing day and sacked him four times.

CSU RB Avery Morrow vs. New Mexico LB Cody Moon. The Rams are 2-1 this season when Morrow touches the rock at least 25 times in a game. The Lobos’ stopper leads his unit in tackles (97) and TFLs (7.5).

Predictions

Sean Keeler, sports columnist: CSU 18, New Mexico 14

Avery Morrow and a defense that deserves better should be enough, especially when you’ve got two of the country’s worst offenses swinging pillows at one another. New Rammies’ math: Six field goals > two touchdowns. Although you’d really, really, really, really, really, really prefer the touchdowns.

Matt Schubert, deputy sports editor: CSU 20, New Mexico 13

The first year of the Jay Norvell era did not go as well as expected in FoCo, but a win to close out the season at least provides a little momentum going into the offseason. (Heavy emphasis on “a little.”)

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