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Nelly’s Free NCAA Pick

#182 Liberty -7 over New Mexico 5:00 PM CT

Liberty is 6-2 S/U at home since the start of last season as the young FBS program hasn’t been content to just be invited to the stage. They beat 2018 MAC Champion Buffalo earlier this season and the 24-0 loss to Syracuse was a much more competitive game statistically than the numbers suggest. As a young Independent squad Liberty will need seven wins to be considered for a bowl game as they play two FCS games and this is the stretch of the schedule where they need to compile wins as there are a few difficult late season games on the path for a squad sitting at 2-2.

New Mexico has faced Notre Dame and rival New Mexico State in the past two games, hanging on narrowly last week 55-52 to hold off a late comeback to reach 2-1 on the season. Bob Davie is expected back on the sidelines this week after missing the past two games with a health situation and this year’s team is much more balanced than the past rush-heavy Lobos squads. Tevaka Tuioti has thrown for nearly 500 yards but on just 54 percent completions however for the Lobos. Normally underdogs with a potential rushing edge are appealing play-on teams but New Mexico is facing cross-country travel for his contest and last season they lost at home 52-43 in this matchup despite a 211-96 edge on the ground.

New Mexico has had the rushing edge in all three games this season but is just 1-2 ATS with the lone win narrowly covering while getting out-gained overall by a FCS squad. Liberty has put up big passing numbers behind senior QB Stephen Calvert with 8.9 yards per pass attempt and the New Mexico defense ranks 127th out of 130 teams nationally in allowing 10.4 yards per pass attempt, while allowing 7.2 yards per play on the season as the Lobos aren’t catching enough points with one of the nation’s worst defenses, playing far from home after two of the bigger games of the season on the schedule.