The New Mexico State (1-5, 0-2) football team will host the Utah State Aggies (5-2, 1-0) this Saturday, Oct. 20, at Romney Stadium. Game time is set for 1:00 p.m., for the 36th meeting between the two schools.
You can listen to all the action with the 'Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon and color analyst Jason Scott beginning at 12:00 p.m. on KRGT 104 FM. Also catch the action in Spanish with Martin Cortez and Bob Sherman on Vista 98.7 FM
The game will be televised by locally in Utah but will be brought back to Las Cruces and distributed by Aggie Vision live around the state of New Mexico on Comcast, on My50 in Albuquerque, ESPN3 and ESPN GamePlan. Play-by-play man Mychal Clanton and color analyst Kevin White bring you all the action.
New Mexico State-Utah State Rivalry
The Utah State Aggies hold a 28-7 advantage over the New Mexico State Aggies, but NM State holds an important victory over Utah State in 1960, beating USU in the Sun Bowl, 20-13. Since that win, NM State has won just six games in the series, three at home and three in Logan, Utah, including a 20-17 win in 2009 in Las Cruces. It was the Aggies' second win in the series since the 2003 season. At one point in the series, Utah State held a 19-game winning streak from 1968 to 1998.
Five of the seven NM State wins have been by eight points or less with the biggest margin of victory of 22 points coming in 2007. Since 1985, NM State and Utah State have been conference members in four different conferences (Pacific Coast, Big West, Sun Belt and WAC).
Scouting Utah State
Fourth-year head coach in Gary Anderson leads the 2012 edition of the Utah State Aggies football team. The Aggies have faced a very tough non-conference schedule in 2012 with games against Utah, Colorado State, Southern Utah, Wisconsin, UNLV and BYU. Utah State stands at 5-2, 1-0 coming into the game with NM State. Utah State is 3-0 at home this season.
The Aggies are scoring 27.6 points per game and are racking up 428.4 yards of total offense. Utah State has also scored 80 percent of the time in the red-zone. The Aggies' defense is allowing its opponents to score 14.9 points per game and 322.1 yards of total offense a game.
Individually, the Aggies are led by quarterback Chuckie Keeton. He leads the way with 1,758 passing yards in seven games with 14 touchdown passes. Kerwy Williams leads the running backs with 713 yards rushing, averaging 6.0 yards per carry with six touchdowns, while Matt Austin has caught 28 passes for 403 yards and four touchdowns to lead the receivers.
Defensively, McKade Brady has 63 tackles on the season, including one tackles for a loss to lead the Aggies, followed by Zach Vigil with 59 tackles.
MN State's 1960 Sun Bowl Win over Utah State
New Mexico State, making its second consecutive appearance in the Sun Bowl, rallied from a 13-7 halftime deficit to defeat Utah State, 20-13.
NM State quarterback Charley Johnson threw for 190 yards and was tabbed the Sun Bowl's MVP for the second straight year. Johnson is the only player to earn the Sun Bowl's MVP honor twice.
The NM State defense held the nation's top offense to just 268 total yards.
Utah State's defense was equally as impressive. USU, led by future Hall of Famer Merlin Olsen, held the NM State offense to only 224 yards, including just 44 rushing yards on 32 carries.
Utah State took a 7-0 lead in the first quarter, but Johnson connected with Pervis Atkins on a 3-yard pass to tie the game. Trailing 13-7, Aggie Bob Gaiters scampered 32 yards for a TD and Johnson hit E.A. Sims on a 7-yard pass for the final score.
Last Time against Utah State
The New Mexico State football team fought visiting Utah State to the wire 24-21 in the Aggies' final game of the season at Memorial Stadium.
A late scoring drive by Utah State put the visiting Aggies up by three with 35 seconds to go. NM State recovered a USU on-side kick at its own 36-yard line. But on the next play from scrimmage, NM State quarterback Matt Christian was picked off on a long pass by Utah State's Nevin Lawson at the USU 30-yard line. Utah State ran out the rest of the clock to secure the win.
Christian finished the game 17-of-40 for 252 yards and a touchdown against two interceptions for the Aggies. He also rushed for 48 yards including a 17-yard score. Taveon Rogers led the receiving corps with six receptions for 73 yards. Running back Kenny Turner gained 65 yards to lead the ground attack and scored a three-yard touchdown in the second half.
In his last home game, strong safety Donyae Coleman led the five NM State seniors with double-digit tackling efforts in their final game. Coleman compiled 23 stops, one shy of his career high set against Nevada. Fellow seniors David Niumatalolo (17) and Ben Bradley (14) also posted career highs in tackles. Classmate Boyblue Aoelua notched a season-high 12 stops and senior Courtney Viney added 11.
Utah State opened the second half on offense but a hit by Bradley jostled the ball loose from USU's Kennedy at midfield. Niumatalolo recovered the ball at the Aggies' 49-yard line with 13:32 left in the third.
On the next play, Christian launched a 51-yard touchdown pass to Kemonte' Bateman to tie the score at 14-14 with 13:22 left in the third.
Utah State ate up the first 5:14 of the clock in the fourth on a 15-play, 75-yard drive that resulted in a 23-yard field goal by Josh Thompson to put USU up 17-14 with 9:46 left in the game.
Turner later scored his first touchdown in three games on a three-yard rush up the gut of the Utah State defense to give NM State its first lead of the game at 21-17 with 8:29 remaining.
On Utah State's final scoring drive of the game quarterback Kennedy then threw a touchdown pass to Matt Austin from eight yards out for its second scoring connection of the game at the 35-second mark.
After a scoreless first quarter, NM State cornerback Jonte Green snagged his second career interception to open the second stanza. Green picking off a long pass attempt by Kennedy at the NM State 11-yard line.
Utah State capitalized on a Turner turnover, driving 68 yards for a score. Kennedy hit running back Robert Turbin on a 21-yard touchdown pass to give USU the lead, 7-0, with 8:52 left before halftime.
Soon after, Christian scrambled 17 yards on a keeper to tie the game at 7-7 with 6:43 left in the half.
The scoring drives continued as Utah State used almost five minutes of game clock to drive 68 yards in 11 plays. Kennedy's pass to Austin accounted for the score to put USU up 14-7 with 1:34 remaining.
The home Aggies had a chance to score on their final drive of the half. The NM State offense drove 70 yards to the Utah State one-yard line, but Christian was picked off near the goal line by USU's Kyle Gallagher to keep the score at 14-7 at the half.
Franklin Continues to Be the Aggies' Top Receiver
Wide receiver Austin Franklin recorded his fifth 100-yard receiving game of the season against Idaho with a team-leading nine catches for 115 yards. He has five 100-yard receiving games in his career, including four this season (Sac State - 236; UTEP - 107; New Mexico - 107; UTSA - 105; Idaho - 115)
Franklin also leads the team in scoring with 42 points on seven touchdown receptions. He is tied for fifth in the conference in scoring with 7.3 points per game.
Nationally, Franklin ranks seventh in receiving yards per game, is 29th in receptions per game and 48th in all-purpose yards. He ranks second in the WAC in two categories (receptions per game and receiving yards per game).
Franklin saw action in all 13 games for NM State in 2011 at wide receiver and as a returner of kickoffs and punts. He grabbed 34 receptions for 524 yards and three touchdowns on the season, including 22 yards rushing on four carries. Franklin also returned three kicks for 103 yards including a long of 54. He registered a career-high eight receptions for 66 yards and a touchdown at BYU.
For his career, Franklin has caught 76 passes for 1,266 yards and nine touchdowns, averaging 16.7 yards per catch.
Franklin's Award List Grows
New Mexico State wide receiver Austin Franklin was added to the 2012 Biletnikoff Watch List in late September and most recently was named a fourth team Mid-Season All-American by Phil Steele Magazine.
The award is named for Fred Biletnikoff, the Florida State University All-America receiver and a Pro-Football Hall of Famer. The award has been given out for the past 17 years. This is the second straight season an Aggie wide receiver has been named to the watch list. (Taveon Rogers - 2011)
Franklin has caught 42 passes for 742 yards and seven touchdowns, leading the Aggies. He has also tallied 755 all-purpose yards.
The recipient of the 2012 Biletnikoff Award will be announced live on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards in early December. The Biletnikoff Award Presentation Banquet will be held at the University Center Club at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday, Feb. 9, 2013.
Nixon the Man in the Middle
Linebacker Trashaun Nixon had a career game against Idaho. On the first play of the game, Nixon recorded his first career interception. He also a team-high eight tackles, two tackles for a loss, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and two quarterback hurries.
Nixon is tied for third in the WAC with 8.5 tackles a game, ranking 70th in the country. He is also tied for sixth in the WAC in tackles for a loss.
On the season, Nixon is second on the team in tackles with 51, with six tackles for a loss, a sack, three quarterback hurries, a pass break up, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery and an interception.
Bateman Coming on as of Late
Wide receiver Kemonte Bateman has been quietly putting up numbers over the last three games for NM State. He has recorded at least five receptions in each of those four games, including a season-high seven against UTEP and UTSA. He also had a career-high 115 yards versus UTEP. Bateman has two touchdowns in the last four games.
Since the UTEP game, Bateman has 24 receptions, which is second on the team, 327 yards receiving, averaging 13.6 yards a catch and two touchdowns, averaging 81.8 yards a contest.
On the season, Bateman has caught 30 passes for 405 yards and two scores. He ranks fourth in the WAC in receiving yards per game and fifth in receptions per game.
Tight Ends Get in the Mix
Over the last three games, tight ends Trevor Walls and Perris Scoggins have made some big plays for the Aggie offense. Scoggins is fourth on the team is receptions over the last three games with seven catches for 82 yards, averaging 11.7 yards per catch.
Walls has caught three passes for 29 yards, averaging 9.7 yards a catch. He also caught his first career touchdown pass against UTSA on an 8-yard pass from Manley.
In the Aggies first two games, the tight ends had no receptions.
Harris Quietly putting Up Numbers this Season
Cornerback Jeremy Harris recorded a career-high two pass break ups against Idaho. On the season he leads the team in pass break ups with five, ranking him tied for fourth in the WAC. He also ranks tied for third in the conference in forced fumbles with two, which also leads the Aggies.
On the season, Harris has 27 tackles, an interception, five pass break ups and two forced fumbles.
Cazares Leads Team in Tackles
Safety Davis Cazares currently leads the team in tackles with 56 thru six games. He also leads the WAC in tackles per game and is 40th in the nation. Cazares had a career day against New Mexico with 19 tackles and a forced fumble. He had eight solo tackles and 11 assisted. Cazares' previous high was 10 tackles against Sacramento State to start the season. He then followed that performance with a 10 tackles against UTSA.
In 2011, Cazares played in 13 games for the Aggies on special teams and at safety. He tallied 12 tackles on the season. Cazares recorded a season-high three tackles against Fresno State (Nov. 12) and two tackles versus Ohio (Sept. 3), New Mexico (Oct. 1) and Nevada (Oct. 29).
For his career, Cazares has 76 tackles and a forced fumble.
Manley Stacking up to Last Year's Numbers
Quarterback Andrew Manley's productivity this season is similar to his numbers in his only three games last season. This season, Manley has thrown for 1,630 yards and 11 touchdowns, completing 55.2 percent of his passes.
Against UTEP, Manley surpassed the 2,000-yard passing mark with 290 yards on 20-of-47 passing. Manley has thrown for over 200 yards in a game nine times in his career and has now thrown a touchdown pass in nine straight games. Against Idaho, Manley recorded his third 300-yard passing game, with 309 yards on 28-of-45 passing and a touchdown. He broke the 3,000-yard passing mark for his career in that game as well.
Manley is currently third in the WAC in passing yards per game (271.7) and fourth in total offense per game (256.8).
For his career, Manley has thrown for 3,126 yards and 18 touchdowns, while completing 54.8 percent of his pass attempts.
Chapman-Brown Bootin' the Ball
Punter Cayle Chapman-Brown debuted in the Crimson and White with a splash. Chapman-Brown kicked six punts for 303 yards, averaging 50.5 yards a punt, with a long of 63. He also recorded three punts over 50 yards and had three punts downed inside the Sacramento State 20-yard line.
On the season, Chapman-Brown has 32 punts for 1,379 yards, averaging 43.1 yards a punt, with nine punts over 50 yards. He was named an honorable mention Punter of the Week by College Football Performance following his five punt performance, which averaged 50.8 yards per punt against New Mexico.
Chapman-Brown currently ranks third in punting averaging in the WAC and 29th in the nation.
Chapman-Brown played one season at Snow College as the team's starting punter. He played in 12 games for Snow College, booting 53 punts for 2,296 yards, while averaging 43.3 yards a punt. Chapman-Brown's season-long was 68 yards. He was named a first team All-Western States Football League and an honorable mention NJCAA All-American. He ranked as the No. 3 punter in the country by Chris Sailer Kicking.
Touchdown Catches over 50 Yards
The Aggies had three touchdown catches for 50-plus yards against Sacramento State. Wide receiver Austin Franklin caught touchdown passes for 53 and 84 yards, while Jerrel Brown caught his second career touchdown on a 50-yard pass.
All last season, the Aggies recorded a total of three touchdown passes over 50 yards.
Savage's Return is an Immediate Impact
Senior defensive end Donte Savage is back for his final year as an Aggie after sitting the 2011 season. In the Aggies' first game of the 2012 season, Savage had three tackles, a tackle for a loss, a fumble recovery and a blocked PAT. He then followed that performance with three tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and his first sack of the season against Ohio. Savage was hard to handle at UTEP with six tackles, a quarterback hurry and a pass break-up. Versus UNM, Savage had five tackles and a tackle for a loss.
As a junior, Savage played in 12 games for NM State in 2010, recording 36 tackles, 19 solo efforts, three sacks, two forced fumbles, two pass break-ups and a quarterback hurry. His best game of the season came against in-state rival New Mexico, when he recorded a season-high nine tackles, four for a loss, two forced fumbles, two pass break-ups and two sacks. He was named WAC Defensive Player of the Week.
For his career, Savage has 121 tackles, 24.5 for a loss, four forced fumbles, three recovered fumbles, a blocked PAT and a blocked punt. Savage looks to make his mark on the sack record book. He currently has 12 for his career and needs four to break into the top five all-time at NM State.
Walk-on Anaya a Valuable Player
Walk-on Desmond Anaya has worked his way into playing time for the Aggies. Anaya opened his Aggie career with six tackles, a tackle for a loss and a forced fumble against Sacramento State. Then against Ohio, Anaya intercepted a pass to go with his two tackles in the game. Versus UTEP, Anaya had five tackles, his first career sack, a tackle for a loss, a blocked PAT and a quarterback hurry.
He is the cousin of former Aggie Raul Anaya, who played for the Crimson and White from 1998-2000.
Head Coach DeWayne Walker reached a few milestones with the 49-19 win over Sacramento State to open the 2012 season. It was the first season-opening win for the Aggies in the Walker era and the largest margin of victory under Walker.
Stampler Looks to Move up Record Books
Place kicker Tyler Stampler has already etched his name in the record books at NM State but this season could be a record-breaking year for him. He currently ranks seventh in field goals made (25) and attempted (34), sixth in PATs made (68), sixth attempted (73) and eighth in PAT percentage (.929).
To start the 2012 season, Stampler has nailed 19 of 19 PATs this season and has hit his last 25 straight. He is also 2-of-3 on the season in field goal attempts including a long of 42 against Idaho.
Stampler handled the field goal and extra point duties for the Aggies in 2011. On the season, Stampler was 34-of-38 on point after attempts, hitting his first 25 of the season and 7-of-12 on field goal attempts, with a long of 39 yards. He also scored 55 points on the season and has eclipsed the 100 point mark for his career.
The Lineman Chart
The offensive line is a position in the game of football that has no stats or glory but could possibly be one of the most important positions on the field. Let's take a look at the grade sheet for the NM State offensive line in week six of the season.
Guard Andy Cunningham led the Aggies with 9.5 knockdowns against Idaho.
NM State Ranked Fourth by Coaches and Fifth by Media
The Aggie football team was selected to finish fourth in the 2012 Western Athletic Conference (WAC) football coaches poll and fifth in the media polls, released at the WAC Football Media Days. The Aggies received 22 points in the coaches' poll and 95 points in the media poll.
In 2011, the Aggies were picked to finish eighth by the coaches and in the media poll; NM State finished the 2011 campaign with a 4-9 overall record and 2-5 conference record. This year's ranking is the highest preseason ranking in both polls for NM State since joining the WAC in 2005.
In the media poll, Louisiana Tech received 193 points and 25 first-place votes from media members from around the nation. Utah State was picked second after garnering 164 points and the remaining three first-place votes. San Jose State finished third with 130 points while Idaho was selected fourth with 102 points followed by New Mexico State (95), Texas State (57) and UTSA (43).
In the coaches' poll, Louisiana Tech received 36 points from the seven WAC coaches. Utah State was in second with 31 points followed by San Jose State with 24. New Mexico State was selected fourth with 22 points followed by Idaho with 17 points. Newcomers Texas State (10) and UTSA (7) were sixth and seventh, respectively.
Additions to the Staff in 2012
The Aggies welcome four new coaches to the staff in 2012. Jerry McManus takes over as offensive coordinator for the departed Doug Martin, while David Elson will handle the defensive coordinator duties after the retirement of Dale Lindsey. Both McManus and Elson have several years at the college level as top assistants, while Elson holds head coaching experience.
Brad Bedell comes to NM State as the new offensive line coach, while Romeo Bandison will oversee the defensive line. Bedell and Bandison each have professional football playing experience, while Bandison has coached at top programs like Boise State and Colorado.
Honors in 2011
The New Mexico State football team received several honors after the 2011 football season both for on-the-field accomplishments and in the classroom. Taveon Rogers was selected as a third team Yahoo Sports and honorable mention Pro Football Weekly All-American teams. Five players including Rogers, Donyae Coleman, Davonte Wallace, Jonte Green and Kenny Turner all garnered All-WAC honors the most all-conference picks since joining the WAC. Valerian Ume-Ezeoke was also named to the Rivals.com Freshman All-WAC team. Defensive lineman David Niumatalolo was selected as CoSIDA Academic All-American, the team's first Academic All-American since 1999. The Aggies also landed 16 players on the Academic All-WAC list.
House, Green and Rogers Playing in the NFL
The Aggies currently have three players in the NFL. Defensive back Davon House who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, becoming the first Aggies to be drafted since 2003. In 2012, defensive back Jonte Green was selected in the sixth round by the Detroit Lions, while wide receiver/kick returner Taveon Rogers was signed as a free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals. Rogers has since moved to defensive back.
Aggies on Twitter
The Aggie Athletics department has a Twitter account where media and fans can get all your in-game scores at www.twitter.com/nmstateaggies. Head Coach DeWayne Walker also has a twitter account for all the latest football news, as media and fans can go to www.twitter.com/dwalkerfootball.