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University of New Mexico coach Danny Gonzales is not a betting man, and knows he can’t bet anyway, but that doesn’t stop him from looking at the lines, mainly for the Lobos.
He says he looks at it out of curiosity, and sometimes for motivation, if UNM is the underdog. He’s surprised that 0-4 New Mexico is a 6 1/2-point favorite at Utah State (0-4) on Thanksgiving. The number started at 4 1/2 points.
“I think (the odds makers are) crazy,” Gonzales said. “Why would a team that has lost 19 conference games in a row, 13 games in a row, be a favorite to win anything other than getting your tail whooped week after week? I hope they’re right.”
The Lobos’ 13-game losing streak is the second longest in the country. Their losing streak in the Mountain West Conference is the longest current conference losing streak in the nation.
Utah State’s last win came against the Lobos in the season finale last year in Albuquerque, where quarterback Trae Hall made his first start for UNM. Hall then led the team in rushing with 115 yards on 22 carries and two touchdowns. He also threw for two touchdowns on 10-of-21 passing for 107 yards to go with two interceptions in a 38-25 loss to close out a 2-10 season,
Hall, a 6-foot-2, 195-pound redshirt sophomore, is set to start his third straight game this season.
Tevaka Tuioti, a 6-2, 195-pound redshirt junior who started the first two games of the season, has not been cleared after sustaining a concussion late in the Lobos’ 39-33 loss at Hawaii on Nov. 7. It was his third concussion while at UNM, as he sustained one in September 2017 and another in September 2018.
Meanwhile, the Aggies will have a QB making his first start of the season. Andrew Peasley, who returned to the team this week after sitting out for two weeks after testing positive for COVID-19, is set to start. He was the backup to Jason Shelley, who was dismissed from the team Nov. 15 after violating team rules.
In addition, the Aggies will be without their top receiver, Deven Thompkins, who entered the transfer portal after USU dropped to 0-4.
Utah State’s scheduled game last week against Wyoming was canceled due to an upward trend of COVID-19 cases within the Aggies’ program.
The Aggies are under the direction of interim head coach Frank Maile, who took over for Gary Andersen after Andersen was fired Nov. 15.
Asked what the Lobos’ goal is Thursday, after losing 28-0 last Friday at Air Force, Gonzales said, “To get our pride back. I thought it was taken. That’s a terrible performance by everybody involved, both coaching and playing (against Air Force). I don’t think we did a good enough job of coaching to give them the right opportunities to be successful.”
CALLED OFF: Thursday’s other scheduled game, between Colorado State and Air Force, has been called off because of “an upward trend of COVID-19 cases” with the Rams. There is no plan to make up the game, but the Mountain West said it is exploring “alternative game options” for Air Force this weekend.
TIME CHANGE: UNM’s Dec. 5 kickoff for its “home” game vs. Wyoming at Sam Boyd Stadium in Las Vegas, Nevada, has been changed from 5 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. MT, the Mountain West announced Wednesday. The game will air on CBS Sports Network.