Dec. 15—ALBUQUERQUE — Amid a sea of red, the preferred hue in Loboland this week is crimson.
That of course is the color of New Mexico State’s football team, which along with a growing legion of fans have swarmed enemy territory for Saturday’s nationally televised Isleta New Mexico Bowl game against Fresno State.
Kickoff is scheduled for 3:45 p.m. at University Stadium on the home field of the University of New Mexico, a school that wears crimson and, for most of its existence, has viewed itself as being on a higher plane of existence than its southern brethren.
NMSU, in the throes of one of its greatest seasons in school history, has been designated the visiting team, and its fans will occupy the east side of the stadium — fitting, since any Lobo fan forced to sit and watch the University of New Mexico’s biggest rival run out of a locker room reserved for the hometown Lobos might be too much to bear.
“It does feel weird to do it here, but it’s an Aggies town right now,” said NMSU fan Isadora Atencio as she stood near a table that held the traditional hand-crafted clay pot that goes to the New Mexico Bowl champion.
One side of the hand-painted pot has a rendition of NMSU quarterback Diego Pavia, a controversial but wildly talented Albuquerque product who made headlines in recent months when video surfaced of him urinating on the field of UNM’s indoor practice facility.
As polarizing as he may be, and as taxing as New Mexico State’s appearance is for UNM fans, he said there comes a time when differences need to be set aside for the greater good.
“As a young child, I wasn’t really a fan of New Mexico State or New Mexico,” Pavia said. “We’re going to work our tail off for the people of Las Cruces. Everyone’s hard-hat lunchpail there in the city and the state of New Mexico. You know, there’s people who come from poverty…