Daniel Hansen, @thegranddanny: I’m nervous. This is not the same New Mexico State that Utah State became so familiar with in the WAC. NMSU fields a 1,200-yard rusher, 1,000-yard receiver, and a QB who will most likely surpass 4,000 yards passing in this game. They also rank fourth in the country with 3.3 sacks per game. New Mexico State could easily win this game. BUT. USU is not the typical fodder that NMSU has encountered this season. Jalen Davis & Co. pose the best secondary that NMSU will have faced this season. A revitalized running game has fueled an offense that has gotten on a roll over the past month of the season. And USU holds a major advantage on special teams. Utah State doesn’t have many holes for NMSU to exploit in this game. Over 60 minutes, that will show.
Utah State 44, New Mexico State 25
Thomas Sorenson, @tomcat340: My guess is this is going to be an overconfident roundtable, but Utah State has given us reason to be. All three units (offense, defense, special teams) found their groove at different points this season and each showed the ability to be flat-out dominating. Despite some impressive ability for NMSU at the skill positions on offense, USU should have a clear talent advantage in this game. Because of that, I expect the playmakers to show up. Jalen Davis will lock down his side of the field (and don’t be surprised if he picks up a sack to go with the interception I’m sure he’ll get), Dallin Leavitt will wreak havoc in the middle of the field, LaJuan Hunt will continue building on his impressive stretch, and we’ll get some more of that sweet, sweet Love-Tarver connection. We’ll even get happy coach Wells, which is the best coach Wells. My official prediction is Utah State turns a close game into a blowout in the second half.
Utah State 38, New Mexico State 17
Logan Jones, @Logantj:
This is the best team New Mexico State will face all season. USU’s front seven will prove too fast for QB Tyler Rogers, who is not enough of a scrambler to escape pressure consistently. Rogers will force throws into windows that aren’t there, and Jalen Davis will live up to his All-American billing. Expect NMSU to come out and play on pure emotion in the first quarter, but cough up turnovers and allow a humming USU offense to lead by halftime. Look for LaJuan Hunt to rush for 100+ yards and two touchdowns. Davis is scoring a touchdown too, by the way.
Utah State 41, New Mexico State 17
Jaden Johnson, @jadenjohns0n
I’m going to go ahead and predict the the Aggies win this game. Has anyone mad that joke yet? Okay but really. A lot of times bowl games come down to which team wants to be there more, which makes me believe that New Mexico State (the team which hasn’t been to a bowl game in the entire time my dad has been alive) will be quite competitive in this one. I don’t think there’s a ton of question that Utah State has more talent on each side of the ball, but New Mexico State has kept practically every game competitive, including a six-point loss to Arizona State and a two-point win over New Mexico. Look for a lot of points to be scored, and for the TRUE Aggies to come out on top.
Utah State 38, New Mexico State 28