For the second time in three years, the Boise State football team’s game against New Mexico in Albuquerque will be a special day for junior tailback Jay Ajayi.
Two years ago, Ajayi busted out with the first 100-yard game of his career.
On Saturday, he’ll play against some close friends.
New Mexico junior defensive back Tayo Adewon, who played at a junior college before joining the Lobos, is Ajayi’s best friend and former high school teammate. Adewon’s younger brother, offensive lineman Toye, also plays for the Lobos.
In addition, New Mexico redshirt freshman quarterback Lamar Jordan — who will make his first start in Saturday’s game — is from Ajayi’s rival high school in Frisco, Texas, and another friend.
“We train together, so this is probably going to be my most fun game of the whole season,” Ajayi said. “I’ve kind of been looking forward to this one. I circled it up. And we’ve been talking about it, so we’re excited to actually play against each other at D-I, which was always our dream growing up.”
Tayo Adewon is not on the Lobos’ defensive depth chart. Toye is the backup left guard.
There’s little chance of an actual collision between friends, but that hasn’t stopped them from talking about the possibility.
“(Tayo) told me he’s going to try to mess me up and I told him if push comes to shove I might not try to make him miss, I might try to go right through him,” Ajayi said. “He likes to disagree and we have fun with that, but it’s just going to be great.
“When it’s game time, I don’t have friends at that point. It’s game time. But after the game, I’m definitely going to cherish the moment for sure.”
University Stadium in Albuquerque already holds a special place for Ajayi. He carried six times for 118 yards and his first college touchdown on Sept. 29, 2012 — including a 71-yard scamper on his first carry of the game and second carry of his career.
“I didn’t know how much I was going to get in. My number was called. The first play, I broke,” said Ajayi, who plays at 216 pounds now. “I laugh a lot with my friends and teammates because I was like 230 (pounds), had a knee brace on, and I was just rumbling down the sideline. And I was able to score my first collegiate touchdown that game. It’s a game I’ll never forget because it kind of sparked off my college career.”
More from Ajayi:
— On Jordan: “He’s an electric guy with the football. With that option offense, he’s got a lot of smoke and mirrors, so when he actually gets the chance to carry the ball, he does a lot of good stuff out there making guys miss. He’s a fast dude and he throws the ball well as well.”
— On his own season: “I’m excited for the fact that I’m able to be more efficient in the pass game. I’ve been able to show that facet of my game. It’s been really cool that the coaches have let me do that. At the same time, though, I still have a lot that I need to do better in the run game, making more big runs for our team. Those game-breaking runs and being more consistent as well. That’s really what I’m going to be focusing on in these last four games.”
— On the last four games: “This bye week came at a perfect time because it really made us focus on what we have left. We have four crucial games left. Each game is basically a championship game. It’s going to be really exciting to see how focused we are each time we step on the field and just how motivated we are to prove we’re ready to win a championship.”
— On the offense: “We were very efficient in October. Now the challenge is we did that in October, can we still be consistent and can we still bring that along in November?”
BOISE STATE AT NEW MEXICO
When: 5:04 p.m. Saturday
Where: University Stadium (39,224, FieldTurf)
TV: CBS Sports Network (Rich Waltz, Adam Archuleta, Cassie Gallo)
Radio: KBOI (670AM), KKGL (96.9 FM); Bob Behler, Pete Cavender
Records: Boise State is 6-2 overall, 3-1 Mountain West; New Mexico is 3-5, 1-3.
Series: Boise State leads 5-0 (Boise State won 45-17 last year in Boise)
Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.