Bob Davie is converting quite a few believers in the desert of New Mexico. His Lobos are 2-2, which is the school's best record to start a season since 2007.
He has the team believing in his message and his playbook, which features the triple option. Davie has dusted off an American tradition and been rewarded with a suddenly relevant season in Albuquerque.
However, the Lobos have not fared well against "known" opponents. In their two games with name-recognition schools, Texas Tech and Texas have demoralized New Mexico by a combined score of 94-14.
But Appalachian State walked into the Big House and knocked off the Michigan Wolverines. Tiny James Madison handled the big, bad Virginia Tech Hokies. An upset this Saturday isn't impossible, but there are a few things that will have to be done in order to New Mexico's prayers to be answered.
Absolutely, Positively No Turnovers
Boise State is much more talented than New Mexico. The Broncos have been crashing the BCS conversation for years, while the Lobos have barely been able to crash a mixer at a senior center.
Therefore, the Lobos must take care of the football as if their lives depended on it, because for 60 minutes, they will. New Mexico cannot afford the loss of a scoring opportunity or the forfeited field position.
Limit the Total Number of Possessions
The triple-option is not an explosive offense. It's a grind-your-way-down-the-field offense that occasionally has one play break off for a long gain. This actually works in New Mexico's favor.
As stated above, New Mexico is overmatched from a talent standpoint. Limiting the number of opportunities that talent touches the ball, means there are less chances for them to make a play based solely on that advantage. It's akin to plugging leaks with your fingers, eventually you run out of digits and the water comes pouring in.
Run the Triple Option in a Disciplined, Systematic Manner
The above two points lead to this one: New Mexico cannot get sloppy with ball. When either B.R. Holbrook or Cole Gautsche is wrapped up, they need to be careful making any late pitches. While those late tosses occasionally break a big play, they're much more likely to end up on the carpet.
The most important key of keeping possession will require the quarterbacks to continuously make the right read and play. Giving to the fullback three straight times is fine so long as he is picking up yardage. They cannot be scared of consistency nor get greedy because they want the bigger play.
A Trick Play or Two
Or as it's known in Albuquerque—a "forward pass."
The Lobos will need to keep Boise State's stellar defense off kilter with the pass every now and then. They only average 60 yards through the air and will probably need at least 100 to make this one a ball game. Boise's secondary is extremely good though, so they must take care to tuck and run when nobody is open.
In all seriousness, New Mexico should come equipped with a couple gadget plays. It worked wonders for the Tennessee Titans this past week, scoring on a punt-return throw back. A well-designed play could very well prove the difference in the game.
The Defense Must Get Stops
Every key on this list is necessary, so if the Lobos offense can keep the Broncos offense on the sideline, the Lobos defense must take care of the rest. Considering the tactics involved, they should be well rested and Boise should be out of sync. Can't build any momentum on the bench.
Boise State demonstrated they can put up points against an inferior opponent when they ran roughshod over Miami of Ohio for 39 points. However, that's not their norm this year. They can be stopped.
New Mexico will need a lot to go right in order to steal this upset victory, but it can be done. Just stick to the script and hope they get lucky.