Rio Grande Rivalry returns: UNM and NMSU to face off in doubleheader
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The UNM Lobos and the NMSU Aggies will face off this weekend in the biggest rivalry game of the year. The Pit is expected to be extra loud Saturday because there will be a doubleheader with the women’s teams playing in the afternoon and the men’s teams playing at night.
Student tickets are already sold out, and general admission is on that track too – with 14,500 tickets already sold.
The game returns after a forced hiatus last year due to a shooting on UNM’s campus.
Police say former NMSU basketball player Mike Peake shot and killed UNM student Brandon Travis after Travis and a group of UNM students set Peake up to meet a girl on UNM’s campus the night before the game. The UNM students reportedly ambushed Peake as part of a revenge plot following a previous fight.
Since then, UNM Athletic Director Eddie Nuñez says the university has put a huge emphasis on sportsmanship to try and create a more positive environment around the rivalry.
“The Lobo way is our way of telling our fans, our student-athletes, our coaches, everybody that has an opportunity to be at our venue for one of our events – to understand it’s, it truly is about sportsmanship,” Nuñez said.
More security measures have been added to games too, with metal detectors and a clear bag policy.
Nuñez says nothing extra is in place for the Rio Grande Rivalry games, but they are preparing for The Pit to be packed.
“For us, with it being a potential, you know, potentially sold-out game, it’s going to have more individuals, more staffing when it comes to concessions, events, parking, security, all different assets,” Nuñez said.
The women’s teams will play at 1:30 p.m. Saturday and the men will play at 7 p.m. Saturday. UNM did open up more tickets for students early Friday.
Nuñez says to get there early to help avoid traffic and give you plenty of time to get through security.