FIU vs. New Mexico State Week 6 college football prediction and preview

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Week 6 Wednesday games feature Conference USA matchup FIU vs. New Mexico State

We’re used to seeing MACtion on Wednesdays, but we’re going to need a special name for midweek Conference USA games. The conference started last week with Thursday games, but has now moved into playing on Wednesdays. Tuesday games come next week as well!

 

The first of two kickoffs on Wednesday features Jacksonville State vs. Middle Tennessee, as the Gamecocks head to Murfreesboro in search of their fifth win of the season. The other game between Florida International and New Mexico State is on CBS Sports Network, but this one draws ESPNU billing.

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The new look of Conference USA is in the spotlight on Wednesday, especially in this game, as the FIU Panthers take the long trek out to Las Cruces, New Mexico to take on the Aggies. Both teams are on some extended rest, having last played on September 23, but New Mexico State certainly has the advantage with where this game is taking place. Not only is this a trip for FIU, but Las Cruces is at 3,900 feet in elevation compared to sea level in Miami.

This is the second of two games on Wednesday, as Jacksonville State vs. Middle Tennessee serves as Game 1 of the doubleheader on ESPNU, while this one is on CBS Sports Network.

FIU Panthers at New Mexico State Aggies (-6.5, 51)

A lot of scheduling factors seem to work in NMSU’s favor here. The travel and elevation are part of it, but this will also be the first Aggies home game since September 2. The players have to be expected to get back on the field at home and in front of whatever fans show up for this one.

The fans may see some excitement as well. New Mexico State actually ranks fifth in the nation in yards per play on offense with 8.07. The Aggies have played the 170th-ranked schedule in the country, but Florida International ranks 163rd, so this isn’t that far off from what they’ve seen to this point. It has been a “YOLO” sort of season for Aggies QB Diego Pavia, who has a 10/4 TD/INT ratio with a 63.9% completion rate. He’s also the team’s leading rusher with 268 yards on 50 tries.

Tim D. Beck, not to be confused with the Tim Beck at Coastal Carolina, is in Year 2 as the offensive coordinator for head coach Jerry Kill and the offense jumped by nearly a yard per play from 2021 to 2022. The Aggies haven’t been able to translate a lot of their big gains into points thus far, but that could change against a really bad FIU defense.

FIU has allowed over six yards per play to FBS foes to this point in the season and has allowed 29 points per game in those four games. The offense has improved a bit, though, as QB Keyone Jenkins and WR Kris Mitchell have found a nice connection. Mitchell had 459 of Jenkins’ 1,000 passing yards and four of his five touchdown tosses.

The better play here may be to wait for a second-half opportunity on New Mexico State as the elevation takes hold. The Aggies have averaged 17.6 yards per reception, so they should generate some big plays here and may find them easier to come by after halftime.

Look for a New Mexico State 2H bet