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2014 Lobo Football Season Tickets Available: Lobo football season ticket prices begin at $78 for adults and $48 for youth. For more information on ticketing options click here or call (505) 925-1620.
By Richard Stevens – Senior Writer/GoLobos.com
There should be no argument that attending a football game is one of the basic fabrics of the American sporting experience. It’s as American as the proverbial slice of apple pie.
It’s a fun, exciting chance to mingle with the community of Lobos and with Lobo football you get so much in return for the investment of your entertainment dollar.
There is the outstanding New Mexico fall weather. There is tailgating, food, friends and football. It is a chance to share and bask in community and New Mexico pride. There also is a six-pack of outstanding games on New Mexico’s 2014 home slate. There will be no cream puffs on Branch Field.
The Lobos will play three Mountain West teams that have a chance to be the top three teams in the conference: Boise State, Fresno State and San Diego State. The Lobos end their home schedule with Wyoming which is being led by Coach Craig Bohl, who guided North Dakota State to three consecutive FCS national titles. The Cowboys are planning a football revival up in Laramie.
The Lobo also will play host to Arizona State, a Top 25 team out of the nasty Pac-12. UNM’s home opener is against the revenge-charged UTEP Miners. This is an I-25 rivalry with deep and honored roots.
The New Mexico home schedule is a nasty six-pack of challenges for Bob Davie’s Lobos and six outstanding reasons to join the fun at University Stadium. Here is a quick look into that six pack of reasons to buy Lobo football tickets this season:
Reason No. 1: UTEP – August 30:
The Texans are coming. The Texans are coming. And do you think maybe the UTEP Miners have revenge on their minds?
Heck yes. The Lobos cruised down to El Paso last year and escaped the Sun Bowl with a thrilling, dramatic, nail-biting win in overtime. The Miners were looking to tie the game in extra time, but were held on a fourth-down run by literally an inch. The official’s mark went to the booth in a challenge, but the chains did not move and the Lobos had the road win.
There really isn’t much needed to generate excitement for this game. It’s the Miners from El Paso. This is a game of tradition and I-25 bragging rights. This is a rivalry game. This is a geography thing as Lobos, Miners and New Mexico State Aggies have long battled to be the King of The Road.
For sure, the Miners will be looking to knock the Lobos off their I-25 throne as UNM bested both Miners and Aggies in 2014. The Lobos don’t plan to budge.
Long live the I-25 King.
Reason No. 2: Arizona State -- Sept. 6.
This is a marquee game, a must-see game and it’s possible that the Arizona State Sun Devils will be the best team the Lobos face this season. They should enter the 2014 campaign in the Top 25. They won the Pac-12 South Division last year going 8-1 in league play and 10-4 overall.
The Sun Devils’ biggest issue might be on defense where they lost a lot of talent and only return two starters. That means the Devils lost nine starters. That’s a big hit. The Lobo option will be a huge challenge for this young defense.
That ASU defense might be on the field a lot because the ASU offense often walks off the field quickly – after a quick score.
ASU has one of the nation’s best QBs in Taylor Kelly who had a hand in on 37 touchdowns and 4,243 total yards last season. Kelly isn’t considered to be a rocket arm, but with 3,635 yards passing in 2013 he must be doing something right. Kelly knows how to find holes in a defense. The Sun Devils also have a game-changer in D.J. Foster, who is explosive as a runner and as a target out of the backfield.
Reason No. 3: Fresno State -- Sept. 26
The Lobos have to play the team projected to win the Lobos’ MW division: Boise State. Fair enough. But the Lobos also have to play the team projected to win the MW’s West Division: Fresno State.
The Fresno ‘Dogs lost QB Derek Carr and that’s good – for the Lobos. Fresno State is not expected to roll out 43.4 points a game like the Bulldogs did in 2013 behind the MW MVP.
Fresno might rebuild that position using Duke transfer, Brandon Connette, who is a good catch for the Bulldogs. Connette is probably the preseason favorite to win the starting job.
Without Carr, Fresno is expected to try and ramp up its running game. The defense is expected to be improved. Remember the 62 points Fresno gave up to San Jose State last year? A key for Fresno on defense should be the play of their four returning linebackers.
The Bulldogs are 2-0 in the Mountain in the race for titles and should be favored to win the West Division. They also should be toughened up prior to their march onto Branch Field with games against USC, Utah and Nebraska.
Reason No. 4: San Diego State -- Oct. 10
Rocky is coming. Rocky is coming.
There obviously is a love-hate relationship between Lobo fans and San Diego State’s head man, Rocky Long. Long, a former Lobo and former Lobo head coach, brought a lot of success to New Mexico, returned the Lobos to postseason glory – and then left us. He now wears Aztec red instead of Lobo red and more than a few Lobo fans are seeing red over that.
That’s fine. The Lobo coaches and players look at this as another key Mountain West tilt, but for the fans in the stand a little jilted-lover emotional fuel to toss on the fire is just another reason to come out to this game.
There aren’t too many no-fault divorces when it comes to passionate Lobo fans looking back at ex-coaches. When do we get to play UCLA in basketball?
But the Aztecs are a good reason to come out, too. The Aztecs are good and have a chance to be one of the top three teams in the Mountain.
Reason No. 5: Boise State -- Nov. 8:
There isn’t yet a history between Lobos and Broncos, but there is a challenge for all teams that battle the Broncos. They traditionally are one of the top teams in the nation and this season they are projected by most prognosticators to be the bully on the Mountain West block a bump ahead of Fresno State. We’ll see.
This game is a chance for Lobo fans to see one of the nation’s top teams on Branch Field. One Bronco push for 2014 is to continue to revamp an offense that in 2012 dipped into the 54th spot in the nation in scoring (30.2 ppg) and jumped into the 19th spot in 2013 (37.5 ppg). The Lobos enter 2014 hoping to revamp a defense that gave up too many points and too many yards.
It’s fair to say the Lobos could use a whole lot of fans in the stands for this one. The Broncos could have one of the top senior QBs in the conference in Grant Hedrick and one of the top running backs in the MW in Jay Ajayi, who ran for 1,425 yards and 18 TDs in 2013.
A favorable note for UNM: Boise allowed at least 30 points in five of the Broncos’ six road games last year.
Reason No. 6: Wyoming -- Nov. 29
The Lobos have faced some harsh and tough times in Laramie on the field and with the weather. There was a game a few years back that should have been called “The Ice Bowl.” Or maybe it should have been turned into a ski meet. The Lobos likely will pay back the Cowboys with a beautiful New Mexico autumn afternoon.
There is a chance that this year’s finale could have postseason implications. The ‘Pokes and the Lobos have a chance to scratch their way into a bowl, if things go well in the previous 11 games.
The Cowboys will come to Branch Field with a lot of changes: a new head coach, a new-look offense and a new starting QB. Rumor has it the Wyoming offense might even include a tight end and a fullback for the first time in several seasons. The Cowboys don’t yet know who will be leading the huddle but senior Colby Kirkegaard (one career start) has a shot with two good candidates looking over his shoulder.
Wyoming is going to the “pro” look because it needs to run the ball in 2014. Hey, maybe the team with the most carries will get the “W.” Shaun Wick with 979 yards last year is Wyoming’s main threat going into the season and D.J. May could be good behind an experienced O-line. The ‘Pokes’ 4-3 defense returns eight starters but this also is a unit that five times lost MW games by almost 30 points.
This might be one of those old-fashioned three-yards-and-a-cloud-of-dust games. Well, without the dust.
Editor's Note: Richard Stevens is a former Associate Sports Editor and Sports Columnist for The Albuquerque Tribune. You can reach him at email@example.com.
NEED TICKETS? Lobo football season ticket prices begin at $78 for adults and $48 for youth. For more information on ticketing options click here or call (505) 925-1620.