Lobo football mulls schedule change, may open at New Mexico State

The University of New Mexico football team is finalizing a change in its schedule, moving its Aug. 29 home game against Idaho State to Sept. 19, UNM athletic director Eddie Nuñez said on Wednesday.

Nuñez said UNM may open the season on Aug. 29 anyway, possibly at rival New Mexico State.

“We’re still working with state officials regarding fall sports,” Nuñez said. “We haven’t finalized any contracts or dates.”

The Aggies had a cancellation of their Week 0 (Aug. 29) game in Los Angeles vs. UCLA, which is in the Pac-12 and has decided to play conference opponents only this season because of COVID-19 public health concerns.

“We have definitely been talking to different schools about filling that game on the schedule,” Moccia said of Aug. 29. “Certainly I’ve had conversations with Eddie. I’d rather have a schedule and then deal with whatever happens tomorrow or the next day, than not have the schedule on the books. We are certainly looking to fill that game.”

In the original schedule, UNM was to play at NMSU on Sept. 19.

All of this, meanwhile, is in the context of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham recommending last week in a letter to the leadership of the state’s public universities that no contact sports be played in the fall. Two of the state’s NCAA Division II schools announced this week they are postponing fall sports — Eastern New Mexico has suspended all fall sports, while Western New Mexico postponed its football and volleyball seasons with a decision pending on cross country.

Nuñez said he is working toward finalizing the Lobos to play against Idaho State on Sept. 19 at home. It could be a different date, but UNM will play Idaho State if there is college football to be played, he said.

UNM football coach Danny Gonzales decided Tuesday to delay the start of preseason camp that had been scheduled to begin on Friday. He said he wants to continue with small groups and 20-hour week training because that’s what is best for his team. He hopes to begin preseason camp next week.

“I told Eddie: This year, I don’t care who we play or in what order,” Gonzales said. “I will prepare our football team to play whoever, whenever, wherever if the decision makers determine it’s safe to play.”

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