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ASU football heads 2 ABQ: Final tune-up game

The #17 Arizona State Sun Devils travel to Albuquerque this week to take on the New Mexico Lobos on what will be a very warm September afternoon. Coming off their week one drubbing of Weber State, the Sun Devils face their first FBS opponent of the 2014 season.

Gary Chamber #81 celebrates his first Sun Devil touchdown with Taylor Kelly #10
Gary Chamber #81 celebrates his first Sun Devil touchdown with Taylor Kelly #10
Christian Petersen

Before we get started, I have to admit I have a secret hatred in my heart for the New Mexico Heisenbergs Lobos. Any rival school of Sim Bhullar, the 8th Wonder of the Basketball World, is a rival of mine. But that love affair was from a March Madness long, long ago and this is September football; the same beast and a different animal. Ladies and gentleman, it's preview time.

  • Expect the Biletnikstrong Bandwagon to make a stop in Albuquerque. The Lobos were 101st against the pass last season and despite looking better against UTEP, I mean that's UTEP. I like to think we're a hop, skip and a jump better than that.
  • There's being a run-first ball club, then there's running the ball 52 times and throwing it 9. And when you get 410 yards on those 52 carries, don't expect them to change their tune anytime soon (rhyme intended).
  • Plus, this isn't your grandfather's 3 yards and a cloud of dust power run squad. Picture if Nevada's pistol spread had a illegitimate love child with Navy's triple option. UNM will stick with their pistol read option on Saturday, meaning the Sun Devils D will have to stay in their lanes, keep contain, and play disciplined, all of which is hard for a young defense... especially against a sub par opponent on the road. If you need a cause for concern, you got it.
  • Former Notre Dame and current UNM coach Bob Davie's son played football at Arizona State. Naturally he coaches under his father now, but somewhere deep down inside, I know he's still rooting for us. Once a Devil, always a Devil. I mean, I'm not suggesting sabotage kid, but if you're not with us, you're against us.
  • The fact neither New Mexico or New Mexico State has a Heisenberg themed sports uniform is mind bottling. Arizona has copper, New Mexico has blue meth; just play the hand your dealt ABQ.
  • Did someone say uniforms? Arizona State will rock the classic away uni's this week (gold helmet with matching pants). No word if Sun Devil Equipment will man up and slap Sparky on there for old time sake.
  • Starting UNM QB Cole Gautsche won't play against Sparky & Co. The signal caller was their top rusher last week and his loss may will be too much for the Lobos to overcome. Senior Clayton Mitchem will start instead, who despite having a much better arm, had zero rushing yards last week. Don't expect a team who makes their living of the option to suddenly start slinging the rock around, even if their QB is a sub par runner.
  • With Cole Gautsche out, expect backs Jhurell Pressley and Teriyon Gipson to at least try and pick up his slack. The key defensively will be stopping these two to try and make Mitchem beat us with his legs. Got a good feeling that's not gonna happen...
  • Speaking of running backs, New Mexico was 120th against the run last year which means two things: 1. Coach Davie may not be clear on what exactly a defense is and 2. DJ Foster is in line for an obscene ballgame. It shouldn't shock anyone if TK10 scampers for a TD or eight as well.
  • Opponent Fun Fact: "Red Rally is a large bonfire and rally held on the Thursday before the football match with UNM's rival New Mexico State University. During Red Rally, a large effigy of an Aggie, the mascot of NMSU, is burned to the ground." With a 67-31 record over your rival, I can see how pseudo-voodoo practices could seem a lot less strange.
  • Bovada has ASU as 25 point favorites which means Bovada is handing out free money this Saturday. No one knows if New Mexico offense can even move the ball without Cole Gautsche at the helm and apparently, those milk carton photos still haven't helped the Lobos find their defense. Cover City.
CBS Sports Network will have your coverage of all things Lobos v. Devil Saturday at 4 pm Pacific Standard Time and make sure to follow us on Twitter @PacificTakes to get live analysis from one member of Team ASU. Have a good Friday everyone!

Update: Our thoughts and prayers go out to UNM Linebacker Donnie White, who lost his father on Thursday. Stay strong kid. Hopefully we'll see you on the field soon, doing your Dad proud. (h/t Josh Estes)