NMSU versus Nebraska Opens 2008 Season for Aggie Football
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  09/08/2008

NMSU versus Nebraska Opens 2008 Season for Aggie Football

      After Hurricane Gustav forced the cancelation of the Aggies’ original season opener on September 4th against Nicholls State, the NMSU football team quickly changed its focus to the Nebraska Cornhuskers, who is now the Aggies’ new 2008 season opener.

      The Aggies and Cornhuskers will square-off on the gridiron on Sept. 13 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb. The game is set for 5:00 p.m. (MT). This will be the third meeting between the two schools and the third trip for the Aggies to Lincoln. The Cornhuskers hold a 2-0 lead in the series.

      You can listen to all the action with the ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon and Bob Sherman on KGRT 103.9 beginning at 4:30 p.m. (MT) with the pregame show. The game will also be televised on Fox Sports Net Pay-Per-View.


Scouting Nebraska

      The Cornhuskers enter their third game of the 2008 under first year head coach Bo Pelini at 2-0, having beat Western Michigan and San Jose State. This will be their third straight home game of the season.

      As a team, Nebraska is averaging 41 points a game, while allowing just 18. On offense, the Huskers are averaging 399 yards of total offense, 280 through the air and 118 on the ground. Defensively, the Huskers are allowing just 351 yards of total offense to their opponents in two games,

      Leading the Huskers on the offensive side of the ball is quarterback Joe Ganz, who has thrown for 561 yards and four touchdowns in just two games. Nebraska’s running game is led by Roy Helu Jr. and Marlon Lucky, while Nate Swift leads the receiving corps, catching 11 passes for 191 yards and two touchdowns.

      Defensively, linebacker Cody Glenn has recorded 17 tackles on the season. The Huskers return 14 seniors to their starting line-up in 2008.


Aggies Versus Nebraska in Previous Two Games

      The Aggies and Huskers have played twice before with both games being held in Lincoln, Neb. The first game was back in 1979 as Nebraska beat NMSU 57-0 in front of 76,135 screaming fans. The powerful Cornhuskers showed the Aggies why they were ranked second in the nation by scoring the first four times they had the ball. The Aggies were led by freshmen Terry Haynes and Jamie McAlister, as Haynes rushed for 28 yards and caught three passes for 30 yards, while McAlister scrambled from his quarterback position for a team-high of 33 yards.

      In their second meeting the Aggies fared much the same, falling to Nebraska 68-0, including a third quarter where the Huskers pilled on 33 points. The Huskers tallied 883 yards of total offense, including 677 yards on the ground. NMSU’s Herbert ran for 56 yards on 12 carries, while McAlister threw for 89 yards on 10-of-23 passing.


Aggies Versus the Big 12

      The Aggies will play the Huskers for the third time in school history this weekend. NMSU holds a 0-2 record against the Cornhuskers and a 2-18 record against teams from the Big 12. The Aggies’ only wins against teams from the Big 12 came at Kansas in 1988 as NMSU won 42-29 and at Iowa State in 1983, as the Aggies beat the Cyclones 24-17. This will be the Aggies 21st game against a team from the Big 12. The only teams NMSU has not faced from the Big 12 conference are Texas A&M, Baylor and Missouri.


Aggies/ Nebraska Misc. Notes

Ř        NMSU is 14-95-2 all-time against BCS schools and are 1-18 against them since the Bowl Championship Series was implemented in 1998.

o         In its 19 games against BCS schools since 1998, the Aggies have been outscored by 28.4 points per game.

o         NMSU’s only win against a BCS school since 1998 came on Sept. 18, 1999, a 35-7 win at No. 22 Arizona State. That was also New Mexico State’s only win over a ranked opponent and it ended an 0-15 drought against Top 25 teams before that. NMSU held the Sun Devils to 234 yards of total offense and racked up 568 yards of its own, 363 of that coming on the ground thanks to a 6.3 yards per carry mark. Walter Taylor rushed for a game-high 117 yards and quarterback K.C. Enzminger passed for 205 yards and two touchdowns.

§          Two of NMSU’s coaches on that 1999 team now coach at Nebraska. Barney Cotton was NMSU’s assistant head coach/offensive coordinator and now he is Nebraska’s associate head coach/offensive line coach. Jeff Jamrog was NMSU’s defensive coordinator in 1999 and now he is the Huskers Assistant AD for Football.

Ř        Chase Holbrook has not thrown an interception in his last 55 passes.

Ř        Since New Mexico State’s first game was cancelled, its season opener is now pushed back to its Sept. 13 date at Nebraska. This is the latest the Aggies have opened the season since 1991 when NMSU had its season opener on Sept. 14, a 22-21 loss against UTEP. When NMSU’s season opener lies on Sept. 10 or later, the Aggies are 34-14 (this actually only dates back to 1921 because game dates were not recorded before then).

Ř        The Aggies are 4-2 all-time when playing on Sept. 13. NMSU has lost its last two road games on this date (2003 at Oregon St. and 1986 at UTEP) and are 1-2 all-time on the road on September 13.

Aggie Football in Season Openers

      The Aggies are 95-57-2 all-time in season openers and have won five out of their last six, including a 35-14 win over Southeastern Louisiana last season. From 1925 to 1946, the Aggies won 20-straight home openers. In years where NMSU has opened the season on the road the Aggies are 9-28-2 and have lost nine straight season openers when starting the season on the road, dating back to 1993.  

      In 2003 the Aggies opened the home schedule with a 48-3 dismantling of Western New Mexico. Aggie quarterback Paul Dombrowski got the home team on the board early as he capped off a 13-play, 71-yard drive with a 1-yard touchdown run. Dombrowski scored the second touchdown of the game, again with his legs, when he darted in from 14 yards out. In the second quarter, quarterback Buck Pierce got into the swing of things, scoring two touchdowns. Pierce’s first score came on another 1-yard touchdown run with 6:65 left in the first half. Then with 2:28 left in the second quarter, Pierce found Chris Duncan in the end zone for a 16-yard touchdown. The Aggies’ final 21 points of the game came in the third quarter via the ground game. Keith Mouton scored first on a 9-yard run. Tony Bostic then took the ball in from seven yards out. Mouton capped off the Aggies’ scoring with a 17-yard touchdown run with 44 seconds remaining in the game.

      In the 1998 home opener, New Mexico State and New Mexico took part in one of the most memorable games in Aggie Memorial Stadium history as the Aggies edged their I-25 rivals, 28-27. In the second half, with the Aggies down 7-6, receiver Matt Shaw and quarterback Ty Houghtaling went to work. Shaw was the recipient of all three second half touchdowns. After the Lobos scored on an interception return to make the score 14-6, Shaw and Houghaling connected on a 3-yard touchdown pass to bring the Aggies within one. New Mexico struck again, but the Crimson and White answered with 1:12 left in the game when Houghaling hit Shaw again with a 17-yard strike. On the ensuing kickoff, New Mexico’s Dion Marion took the ball 80 yards the other way to put the Lobos back up, 27-21. After UNM garnered an excessive celebration penalty following the touchdown, New Mexico missed extra point attempt and that was all Houghaling and Shaw needed. The Aggies drove 80 yards in four plays as Houghaling and Shaw connected on a 50-yard touchdown to tie the game at 27-27. Kicker Andy Kohl then atoned for missing the first PAT of the game by making the last and putting the Aggies up for good, 28-27.


Aggies/ Nicholls State Postponed

      New Mexico State Athletics Director Dr. McKinley Boston announced that due to Hurricane Gustav hitting Louisiana, the game against the New Mexico State Aggies and the Nicholls State Colonels on September 4, 2008 has been postponed. A date for a make-up game has not been set at this time. This would have been the first ever meeting between the two schools.

      “Obviously, we are disappointed that we won’t be playing our first football game of the season on Sept. 4,” Boston said. “With the recent history of hurricane damage in the state of Louisiana we understand their concerns for the safety of their players, coaches and administration. Our thoughts and prayers will be with them as Hurricane Gustav approaches. Myself and the Nicholls State athletics director have began discussions about a possible make-up date for the game. ”

      “First of all, our thoughts and prayers are with the people of Louisiana,” head coach Hal Mumme said. “These things are bigger than the game of football. Having lived in Louisiana I understand how scary these storms can be and how important it is to be near your families during these unsure times.”


Harris Looks for Big Year

      Senior wide receiver A.J. Harris has quietly been a steady performer for the Aggies offense since his freshman year. In 2007, Harris became the Aggies’ all-time leader in receptions with 191. This season Harris is chasing another record, this time a national record.

      Harris needs just 125 receptions in 2008 to become the NCAA’s all-time leader in receptions for a career. The record is currently held by Taylor Stubblefield (Purdue – 2001-04).

      In 2007, Harris led the team in receptions with 81, catching two touchdowns for 611 yards. For his career, Harris has tallied 1,848 yards and 13 touchdowns.


Holbrook has the Numbers

      Senior Quarterback Chase Holbrook holds 36 of New Mexico State’s 47 total offense and passing records. Some of the notable records he does not hold include total offensive yards in a game (559), most single-game passing yards (546) and most touchdown passes in a single game (five). Holbrook has recorded three games in his career with over 500 yards of total offense and passing yards, as well as six games with four touchdown passes.

      This year, Holbrook not only will be looking to take over the last remaining NMSU records, but he will try and etch his name in the NCAA record books.

      Holbrook has a chance at breaking nine total offensive records and nine passing record in the NCAA record books. Some of those records include: most plays in three years, most yards gained per game, most pass attempts per game and     most touchdowns per game. He already holds the record for highest percentage of passes completed at 70.1 percent.

      In just three years, Holbrook has passed for 8,485 yards, thrown 60 touchdowns and completed over 70 percent of his passes.


Dunn’s 3-3-5 comes to Las Cruces

      New defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn has already made his presence felt since coming to Las Cruces less then six months ago. The Aggies defense is playing with more fire, passion and intensity then ever before.

      Dunn’s 3-3-5 scheme has given opposing offensive coordinators fits for over 40 years and this year should be no different. Each member of the Aggie defense had to graduate from a preseason camp in Gallup, N.M., by completing a drill called ‘The Packer,’ which consists of 15 minutes of up-downs. No breaks, no water.

      All the defensive players on this year’s team graduated from the Packer day.


Williams on the Fast Track to Records

      Chris Williams enters his senior season as one of the best receivers in the nation. Williams has garnered that respect after two excellent years on the football field. In 2007, Williams only played in two conference games but was still selected as a second team all-conference selection.

      Last season Williams was on pace to break the Aggies’ all-time records for touchdowns and receptions in a season and a career before his shoulder injury. He tallied 56 catches for 772 yards and 11 touchdowns in just eight games.

      In 2008, Williams needs just 485 receiving yards and nine touchdowns to become the Aggies’ all-time leader in both categories. He also has an outside shot at the NCAA records for most touchdown passes caught, most games catching a touchdown pass and highest average yards per touchdown reception.

      For his career, Williams has caught 160 passes for 2,284 yards and 23 touchdowns.


Bolin and Gutierrez Anchor O-Line

      The key to a successful offense doesn’t start at quarterback, wide receiver or running back, it starts on the offensive line. In 2008, the Aggies will be anchored on the offensive line by two veteran players, both three year starters.

      Center Richie Bolin and right guard Polo Gutierrez have spent their last three years protecting the quarterback and doing it quiet well. Bolin has allowed just three sacks while Gutierrez has allowed just eight. Gutierrez has started in 24 straight games at right guard for the Aggies dating back to 2006.

      Both Bolin and Gutierrez have been vital parts of the Aggies’ nationally ranked offenses over the past seasons.


D-Boys Deep in ‘08

      The Aggies’ defensive backfield will be very deep in 2008 and with Joe Lee Dunn’s 3-3-5 defense, it needs to be. Anchoring the defensive back squad is senior safety Derrick Richardson. Richardson was the Aggies’ second leading tackler in 2007 with 108. He also grabbed one sack, an interception and four pass break-ups. Richardson has 181 tackles to his name during his career. Red shirt freshman Michael Zant will also see action at the safety spot. Zant has been on his mission for the past two years and made his return to the team over the summer.

      On the left side, the Aggies are be led by sophomore Davon House, who had a tremendous freshman season where he tallied 37 tackles and four interceptions, including an interception for a touchdown of 100 yards. Senior Brennen Baiamonte is also on the left side at the bandit position. He played in all 13 games last year, collecting 12 tackles.

      On the right side, Marvin Betts and Vincent Butler are battling for playing time at the corner position. Betts red shirted in 2007 while Butler players in 11 games and recorded 29 tackles. Alphonso Powell is leading the way for NMSU at the right bandit position, as Ben Bradley will back him up. Powell played in 12 games in 2007, recording eight tackles on the year while Bradley was a red shirt.


From Running Back to Wide Receiver

      Head coach Hal Mumme has had success in many areas of football during his coaching career, but one that might go unnoticed is his ability to take running backs and turn them into wide receivers. On the 2008 roster, the Aggies have three such players including Chris Williams, Julius Fleming and Todd Lee.

      Williams has been one of the most dominate wide receivers NMSU has ever seen. In just three seasons he has racked up 23 touchdown receptions, 160 receptions all together and 2,284 yards receiving.

      Fleming and Lee are yet to hit the field for NMSU, but are expected to make contributions in 2008. All three players are members of the Aggie return game ether on kickoffs or punts.


Summer Strength, Speed and Conditioning a Success

      Summer conditioning is an important part of college football and especially for the Aggie football team. Even though the summer workouts are voluntary, the Aggies had almost 91 percent of the student-athletes participate and all of the 15 returning starters had 100 percent participation. Overall, the Aggies broke 25 all-time team sports performance records during the 2008 summer.

      Right guard Polo Gutierrez was named the Lifter of the Year and was one of the 13 nominated for the award. Gutierrez tallied a total of 1,445 pounds combined in the squat (715), the bench press (415) and the power clean (315).

      The Position of the Year was the wide receiver corps, while offensive lineman David Norman along with defensive back Derrick Richardson were named the Most Improved Lifters. The top five pound-for-pound players on the team were linebacker Chris Nwoko, wide receiver Marcus Anderson, Richardson, fullback Brandon Perez and running back Marquell Colston. Wide receivers Chris Williams, Marcus Anderson and Julius Fleming were tabbed as the three fastest players on the Aggie squad.

      In the squat, Nwoko led the team with a lift of 725 pounds, followed by Gutierrez (715) and Perez at 705. In all, 26 Aggie football players recorded squats of over 500 pounds or more. Linebacker Ross Conner power cleaned 340 pounds to lead the team, as 22 Aggies power cleaned over 300 pounds. 51 Aggies recorded a bench press mark of over 300 pounds, as defensive lineman Oren Long and offensive lineman Chuck Taylor led the way with a bench press of 425 pounds. The Aggie football team uses an absolute strength max method, which is determined by one repetition.

      The Aggies’ top 10 fastest players were all under 4.48 in the 40-yard dash using an Olympic Electric timing system. Chris Williams is usually the fastest player on the field and now he is the fastest football player ever at NMSU, as he recorded a blistering 4.24e 40-yard dash. Anderson, Fleming, Vincent Butler, Brennan Baiamonte and LaVorick Williams all recorded time of 4.39e or faster.


Aggie Vision to Air Football Games All Season

      Aggie Vision will telecast over 40 live events in the 2008-09 academic year, including eight volleyball games and seven football games this fall. The eight volleyball games are the most ever for an NMSU volleyball squad.

      In addition to the fall events, Aggie Vision will also produce and distribute eight women’s basketball games, 14 men’s basketball games, four softball games and four baseball games, as well as football and men’s basketball coach’s shows. The games and coach’s shows are widely distributed across the region and include Comcast-Las Cruces, Comcast-Albuquerque, Comcast-Gallup, Comcast-Santa Fe, Time Warner-El Paso, Altitude Sports and Entertainment, and FSN-Arizona. In addition, many of the football and men’s basketball telecasts will be distributed by ESPN GamePlan and ESPN FullCourt.



DATE                TIME                GAME

Sept. 27                        6:00 P.M.           New Mexico at New Mexico State

Oct. 11              2:00 P.M.           New Mexico State at Nevada

Oct. 18              6:00 P.M.           San Jose State at New Mexico State

Nov. 1               5:00 P.M.           Boise State at New Mexico State

Nov. 8               2:00 P.M.           Hawaii at New Mexico State

Nov. 15             3:00 P.M.           New Mexico State at Fresno State

Nov. 29             2:00 P.M.           New Mexico State at Utah State


Training Camp was all Business

      Competition for starting spots and playing time intensified on the New Mexico State football team as the Aggies ended its 2008 training camp in Gallup, N.M.

      The competition at the offensive tackle spot was especially heated as the Aggies had to replace Mike Martinez and James Farrelly. NMSU’s line is pretty set up the middle at the center and guard positions. Sophomore Chuck Taylor (left guard) started all last season for the Aggies, but junior college transfer David Norman has moved ahead of Taylor on the depth chart. Seniors Richie Bolin (center) and Polo Gutierrez (right guard) are two-year starters and they are locked in there once again this season.

      However, the outside tackle positions are still up in the air. On the left side, sophomores Joel Buschmann and Kyle Smith are vying for that starting nod. Smith has pulled ahead of Buschmann in the lead role to care for quarterback Chase Holbrook’s blind side.

      At the right tackle spot sophomore Patrick Blount and junior college transfer Joe Suder are locked in neck-to-neck. Both players are still trying to pull ahead of the other and show assistant head coach/offensive line coach Mason Miller that they are the clear front runner.

      Behind the offensive line at running back are juniors Brandon Perez and Tonny Glynn. Perez will be used both at running back and fullback. He is the most reliable player on the team and you will also see him carrying the ball and catching numerous passes this season.

      Junior Marquell Colston and Glynn split time with the first team in camp. Glynn has two years of experience in the system while Colston, a junior college transfer, is still coming to grips with the offense. Colston however has been making big plays with the ball in his hands.

      Redshirt freshman Ronald Opetaia and true freshman Donavan Roberts have quietly been having a very consistent camp and their ability to hit the hole has impressed the coaches.

      Defensively there are several spots still up in the air, most notably in the secondary. Sophomore Davon House has locked down the left corner spot and on the right side seniors Vince Butler and Marvin Betts are currently atop the depth chart. Sophomore defensive back Michael Zant and junior Chris Buckner are both working towards earning playing time at right corner.

      Both of those players entered camp with interesting situations. Zant was away from the program for the two previous seasons while on his mission and Buckner made the move over to defensive back after previously being a wide receiver. They both adjusted quickly to the defense and Zant has the flexibility to play at safety as well.

      The most competitive position on the defense has to be at linebacker. Three junior college transfers, Justen Alford, Nick Paden and Jason Scott have all impressed defensive coordinator Joe Lee Dunn. Senior La’Auli Fonoti and junior Jamar Cotton are the two returning linebackers with the most experience while junior Ross Conner has worked with the first team all throughout camp. Clearly Dunn has some versatility to work with at this position.

      In the past couple of seasons the Aggies have struggled to find a reliable, consistent place kicker. Aggie fans will be relieved to hear that this will change this season. Redshirt sophomore Kyle Hughes and freshman recruit Jordan Davenport are the front runners to handle the kicking duties. They both have strong legs and have been consistent in camp with their PAT’s and field goal kicking.

      Both Hughes and Davenport have the ability to put the ball in the end zone on kickoffs on a consistent basis. Hughes appears to have the early advantage towards being the team’s punter.


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