College students, on average, tend to have pretty decent vision.
But Matt Wells, Utah State’s football coach, may think an eye test might just be in order for some of his players.
Only, in place of eye charts this week, it’ll be Lobos of New Mexico.
“They do a lot of stuff,” said Wells of the option attack of New Mexico, who the Aggies will play on Saturday. “They do a lot of eye-candy stuff. They jack with your linebackers’ and your safeties’ eyes. So we’ll have to be very disciplined.”
The Lobos and Aggies have similar resumes at this point of the season — and both are in need of a victory to stay on track for bowl eligibility.
Last week, New Mexico floundered at Wyoming in a 42-3 loss. The Lobos turned the ball over seven times and trailed 42-0 at half.
That was the third straight defeat for the Lobos, whose normally highly-productive rushing attack on offense isn’t at the same level as past years. Although still churning out 231 yards per game on the ground, that’s down over a hundred yards from a nation-best 343 yards average in 2016.
“We’ve not developed on offense like we normally have each year,” said New Mexico football coach Bob Davie said during his weekly press conference earlier this week. “We do have to continue to throw the ball to a degree. It’s not realistic right now to line up and say we’re just going to come out and run the ball on Utah State.”
Wells, though, is wary of the Lobos’ ability to turn big plays offensively.
And one top priority for the Aggies will be to get off to a better start. USU offered little in the way of early defensive resistance to Boise State last Saturday as the visiting Broncos easily drove down the field for touchdowns on their first two possessions.
For Wells, the eyes have it here too. Or didn’t, in last week’s case.
“You get guys in the back end that get lazy eyes and undisciplined eyes,” Wells said. “I mean, the first play of the game isn’t anything we hadn’t seen.
“It’s one-two switch. We need to have a corner fall off on it and a safety tried to rally and make it right,” he added. “And it’s 40 yards later.”
The Aggies and Lobos have something in common offensively as both have gone between a senior veteran and a redshirt freshman at quarterback.
The Aggies last week started freshman Jordan Love for a second straight time over Kent Myers. Davie this week said that he’ll likely go with senior Lamar Jordan against the Aggies after experimenting with frosh Tevaka Tuioti.
“Utah State’s very similar [to us]. They’ve had a great quarterback in Kent Myers that’s played every game — a lot like Lamar (Jordan),” Davie said. “Now they’re going with Jordan Love, a redshirt freshman. That’s what teams that are 4-5, 3-5 and trying to win a game, do.”
Utah State at New Mexico
At University Stadium, Albuquerque
Kickoff • 3:30 p.m. MDT
TV • AT&T Sportsnet
Radio • 1280 AM
Records • USU 4-5, 2-3 in MWC; UNM 3-5, 1-4
Series history • New Mexico leads 13-10
Last meeting • New Mexico 24, Utah State 21 (2016)
About the Lobos • Siti Tamaivena is the twin brother of Utah State starting linebacker Suli Tamaivena. Siti, also a linebacker, had a personal-best three solo tackles against Wyoming last week...Punter Corey Bojorquez has the second highest average in the nation with a 48.7 average per kick... Of the seven turnovers against the Cowboys, five were interceptions while the other two were muffed punt returns.
About the Aggies • Kicker Dominik Eberle has the nation’s top field goalpercentage (.922) as he’s connected on 14 of his 15 tries; Eberle this week was announced as one of 20 semifinal candidates for the Lou Groza award... Matt Wells had two stints as an assistant coach for New Mexico, one during the ’07 and ’08 seasons and then a one-year stay with the Lobos in 2010... Tight end Dax Raymond is the top receiving threat statistically for the Aggies with 356 yards on 31 catches.