The Texas Longhorns (1-0) are hosting the New Mexico Lobos (1-0) for another tune-up game.
Both teams looked solid but unspectacular in their debuts last week and have a lot to improve upon.
The Lobos might be a major underdog, but they proved that they could score last week—piling in exactly half of their touchdown total from 2011 against Southern—and will look to carry that momentum into Austin.
It’s doubtful the Longhorns will have a problem dispatching the upstart Mountain West squad, but anything could happen on Saturday.
Keep reading to find out everything you need to know about this matchup, including where to watch it, key players to watch and a prediction on the final score.
Where: Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium, Austin, Texas
When: Saturday, Sept. 8 at 8 p.m. ET
Watch: Longhorn Network
Listen: The Sports Animal 610 AM—New Mexico, The Zone 1300 AM—Texas
Live Stream: Longhorn Network
Betting Line: Texas -37.5 (via ScoresandOdds.com)
Lean toward New Mexico if you are betting this game.
It covered a 23.5-point spread last week against Southern, while Texas didn’t even come close to beating the 31 points it was spotting Wyoming in the opener.
Key Storyline: Defense
It seems that both of these teams can score this year, but they had trouble stopping the opposition from doing the same in Week 1.
New Mexico piled in nine total touchdowns but also gave up 21 points to Southern, a school with a much weaker offense than the Longhorns possess.
However, Texas’ defense didn’t live up to the preseason hype, allowing Wyoming to score 17 points against it.
Both D’s will have to tighten up in this contest, but Texas is especially under pressure. It faces Ole Miss next week before a brutal stretch of Big 12 powerhouses and must be ready.
Who Might Not Play for New Mexico (via CollegeInjuryReport.com)
DB Devonta Tabannah—PRB—SUSPENSION
Who Might Not Play for Texas (via CollegeInjuryReport.com)
PK Anthony Fera—QST—GROIN
BCS/Top 25 Implications
Texas didn’t slap together a convincing, big win against the Wyoming Cowboys, but it’s not going to hurt the team's preseason Top 25 ranking of No. 15.
However, another mediocre performance like that against New Mexico will start to drop the Longhorns in the minds of the voters.
This team is supposed to have one of the best defenses in the country and a solid rushing game, so it had better figure things out soon.
What They’re Saying
Carter Strickland of HornsNation took a look at the small bit of history between these two these teams:
The Longhorns won 47-0 in Austin in 1988. (Oddly enough, in the only other meeting between the schools, the Longhorns also won 47-0 in 1948.) Eric Metcalf stole the show in the 1988 meeting as he went for 133 yard rushing, 86 receiving and 66 in return yards. He also had three touchdowns.
New Mexico Player to Watch: Cole Gautsche
The Longhorns struggled to contain Brett Smith in the season opener, largely because of his running ability.
Gautsche is a better rusher and much more instinctive with the rock in his hands, although he’s got to learn how to pass the thing.
Against Southern, he only completed one of his two pass attempts for 13 yards, although he used his legs to gain 88 yards on eight attempts and scored two touchdowns.
Texas Player to Watch: David Ash
Ash did what it took to win in Week 1. He compiled some solid stats, connecting on 20 of his 27 pass attempts, which helped earn 156 yards and a touchdown via the air.
If he can continue to steadily improve and just do what it takes to win the game without making mistakes, the Longhorns defense and rushing attack should be more than enough to carry this team to a Big 12 title.
Prediction: Texas 45, New Mexico 13
Who Will Win?
Texas won’t have a problem winning in this game, but unless it proves that its defense is drastically better than it was against Wyoming, the Lobos are going to find pay dirt at least once.
It’ll be a blowout victory, but Texas coach Mack Brown has never been one for dismantling opponents and running up the score, so expect it to stay manageable as long as UNM is trying.