New Mexico State vs Bowling Green Odds
Monday afternoon’s Quick Lane Bowl features two teams making surprise bowl appearances.
Vegas set both Bowling Green and New Mexico State’s win totals below 5 at the start of the season, so I don’t think this will be a game where a team is not enthusiastic to be in a bowl game. Look for both of these squads to bring their A-game.
They’ll want to finish the season on a high note since these bowl games are certainly not guaranteed.
New Mexico State hasn’t made a bowl game since 2017 and has been the picture of a dismal program since then. Former TCU interim head coach Jerry Kill has done an astounding job in his first season as the Aggies’ head coach, taking a program that had not finished better than 3-10 since 2018 to a bowl appearance.
New Mexico State introduced him as a well-respected program builder, and he has been living up to expectations this season.
Not to be outdone, Bowling Green hasn’t had a winning record since the 2015 season, where it got blown out of the GoDaddy Bowl by Georgia Southern.
Scot Loeffler took over the program in 2019 and is making his first bowl appearance with the Falcons this season. While his turnaround has not been as rapid, he has done a great job starting to rebuild this Falcons program.
Not to be outdone, the Aggies come in ranked 126th in our Action Network power ratings.
How are they bowl-eligible? Ending the season against two FCS teams and UMass certainly helps the record. However, give credit where credit is due — the Aggies upset highly-favored Liberty and secured a waiver from the NCAA to secure a bowl berth.
While the Falcons run a fast-paced offense, the Aggies like to slow things down, ranking 96th in seconds per play.
They are also a pretty brutal offense, ranking in the bottom 30 of Offensive Success Rate and Havoc Allowed, which could be a big problem with Brooks on the other side of the line.
However, they do have one bright spot: their Points per Opportunity, where they rank 37th nationally.
When they get the ball inside the 40 against Bowling Green, they should cash in for touchdowns instead of settling for field goals.
The big question is, how many trips inside the 40-yard line will the Aggies get? With Brooks living in their backfield, it may not be many.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Aggies rank slightly below average but respectable as a whole. They rank just below average in Success Rate Allowed, Points per Opportunity Allowed and Havoc.
However, a below-average defense may just be enough to shut down a potentially anemic Bowling Green offense.
If the Aggies can pressure Bowling Green quarterback Matt McDonald enough to rattle him, they should be able to hold the Falcons to field goals. However, New Mexico State struggles to rush the passer, ranking 122nd in pass rush.
McDonald has excelled in spots in which he has been under duress, and with a clean pocket, he should be able to play at a high level. Without that pressure, this Aggies defense will have problems getting off the field.
The Falcons come into this game ranked 117th in our Action Network Power Ratings. They made this bowl game by pulling off some big upsets over Marshall, Central Michigan and Toledo — all of which were favorites of 6.5 points or more.
BGSU runs a fast offense, clocking in at 25.19 seconds per play (34th in the country). Unfortunately, that’s about all it ranks above average in. This Falcons team finishes in the bottom 10 regarding Offensive Success Rate, Offensive Points per Opportunity and Havoc Allowed.
However, despite these horrible advanced metrics, this offense has still found ways to put points on the board with a 42-point outing vs. Toledo and a 34-point outing against Central Michigan.
McDonald played the best football of his career in both of those games, particularly against Toledo (not counting FCS competition).
Keeping him clean will be crucial to the Falcons’ offensive hopes, as he has been sacked three times or more in each of their last seven games. Bowling Green’s last game of the season against Ohio was also the worst game of his career, as he threw three interceptions and finished with a PFF grade of 37.9.
If McDonald can stay off the turf, he generally takes care of the ball, and this offense should be able to make its way downfield. The big question is whether or not it can score touchdowns.
Based on the offense’s performance this season, I would lean towards settling for field goals.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Falcons are much more respectable, where they particularly excel at creating Havoc for opposing offenses.
The reason for this is PFF All-American defensive lineman Karl Brooks, who ranks in the top 10 nationally for solo sacks. Brooks will be playing in the bowl game and will likely be living in the Aggies’ backfield, looking to cement his status as one of the most productive defensive linemen in this draft class.
Outside of this Havoc creation, the Bowling Green State defense has struggled in other aspects — particularly when opposing offenses get inside its 40. The Falcons allow 4.1 points per opportunity, placing them 100th nationally.
This could be an area where the Aggies exploit the Falcons.
New Mexico State vs Bowling Green Matchup Analysis
Toggle the dropdowns below to hide or show how New Mexico State and Bowling Green match up statistically:
Bowling Green Offense vs. New Mexico State Defense
New Mexico State Offense vs. Bowling Green Defense
Pace of Play / Other
|SP+ Special Teams||113||96|
|Seconds per Play||26.4 (63)||28.8 (111)|
|Rush Rate||48.8% (99)||59.9% (20)|
Data via CollegeFootballData.com (CFBD), FootballOutsiders, SP+, Pro Football Focus and SportSource Analytics
New Mexico State vs Bowling Green Picks & Prediction
Despite these two teams ranking below average in many key categories, I think this will have enough chaos to be an extremely fun watch.
However, I’m going to give the edge to this Bowling Green team.
Brooks has been the X-factor all season, and I think he will cement his status as one of the best defensive linemen in this draft with an All-American performance against New Mexico State.
If Bowling Green can get ahead early and force the Aggies to put the ball in the air, I think it’ll rack up points in a hurry off of three-and-outs and turnovers.
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