The New Mexico State Aggies (0-3) travel to Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, Sept. 21 to face the No. 13/15 UCLA Bruins (2-0) for the first meeting between the two schools. Kickoff is set for 8:30 p.m. (MT)
The game will be televised live on the PAC-12 Network, as Ted Robinson (Play-by-Play), Glenn Parker (Analyst) and Drea Avent (Sideline) bring you all the action from the television booth.
You can listen to all the action with the ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon and color analyst Preston Williams beginning at 7:30 p.m. (MT) on KGRT 104 FM. Also catch the action in Spanish with Bob Sherman and Sal Betancourt on Vista 98.7 FM.
NM State versus the PAC-12
The Aggies have played six teams during the history of their football program that are currently members of the PAC-12. (Arizona, Arizona State, California, Colorado, Oregon and Oregon State) NM State has played Colorado once, back in 2005, when the Buffaloes were a member of the Big XII. Also in 2005, the Aggies hosted No. 13 California on national television in Aggie Memorial Stadium (Sept. 23)
NM State holds a 12-59 record against teams in the current PAC-12, including one of the program’s biggest wins in school history, a 35-7 win over then No. 22 Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., back in 1999. The Aggies have faced Arizona State 28 times in school history, while Arizona and NM State have faced each other 36 times, the most of any other PAC-12 team. That series dates back to 1909.
In fact, all of NM State’s 12 wins against PAC-12 team have come against either Arizona or Arizona State.
The No. 13/15 UCLA Bruins are 2-0 on the season after an exciting win on the road at Nebraska this past weekend. The Bruins opened the season against Nevada, winning, 58-20.
Offensively, UCLA is averaging 49.5 points per game, while allowing 20.5 points a contest. The team is averaging 575.5 total yards a game, while holding their opponents to just 342 yards a game.
Quarterback Brett Hundley has thrown for 568 yards and five scores, while running back Jordan James leads the rushing attack, averaging 130 yards per game. Wide receiver Shaquell Evans has caught nine passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns to lead the receiving corps.
Defensively, Eric Kendricks leads the Bruins with 19 tackles and a tackles for a loss, while Keenan Graham has three sacks of the season.
NM State Recent History against Ranked Opponents
The Aggies have locked up with nationally ranked opponents 20 times since 1999. The Aggies lone win in those games came back in 1999 when the Aggies stunned No. 22 Arizona State in Tempe, Ariz., 35-7.
The Aggies have faced at least one ranked opponent each season since 1999, (except for 2011) competing against three in 2001 (No. 5 Texas, No. 22 Oregon State, No. 12 Kansas State). NM State faced No. 6 Boise State and No. 17 Ohio State in 2009.
Five of the Aggies’ 18 games against ranked opponents have been played in Aggie Memorial Stadium, while NM State has been outscored by their ranked opponents by an average of 27.25 points per game.
The Aggies last ranked opponent was No. 15 Texas in the first game of the 2013 season. The Aggies lost 56-7. The highest ranked opponent NM State has faced at home was No. 3 Boise State back in the 2010 season in Las Cruces.
Long Plays Make Record Book
Against UTEP this past weekend, the Aggies recorded two separate plays that now sit firmly in the NM State football record books. Quarterback Andrew McDonald threw an 81-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Jerrel Brown on the Aggies’ first offensive play of the game against UTEP, marking the ninth longest pass play from scrimmage in school history. It was also Brown’s longest touchdown reception of his career as well.
Then running back Brandon Betancourt caught 72-yard pass from quarterback King Davis III in the third quarter, marking the 30th longest pass play in school history. It was Betancourt first career touchdown reception and Davis III first career passing touchdown.
Betancourt Records a First
Running back Brandon Betancourt had a career day against I-10 rival UTEP with three receptions for 72 yards and a touchdown. Betancourt’s 72-yard touchdown reception was the first of his career and marks the second longest passing play in school history by a running back. The first was a 94-yard touchdown pass from Jamie McAlister to Kim Locklin in 1994.
On the season, Betancourt has eight receptions for 98 yards, averaging 12.2 yards per catch and a touchdown.
Cazares among the Best Since 2000
Safety Davis Cazares’ style of flying around the field has landed him in the top-10 for most unassisted tackles with 94. He needs just eight more to take over the eighth spot on the list. Former linebacker Jimmy Cottrell (2001-05) ranks No. 1 with 210 unassisted tackles since 2000.
Cazares has 170 tackles to his credit during his career.
Scoggins a Weapon
Tight end Perris Scoggins caught his second career touchdown reception against UTEP this past week, a 20-yard completion from McDonald. In the game, Scoggins had two catches for 30 yards.
On the season, Scoggins has caught seven passes for 67 yards and a score.
Nixon Getting in the Backfield
Linebacker Trashaun Nixon leads his team in tackles for a loss this season with four and half for a loss of 13 yards. He has also recorded one sack and is third on the team in tackles with 23. Nixon also has a forced fumble on the year.
For his career, Nixon has 14 tackles for a loss, including 9.5 in 2012. He also has 3.5 sacks during his time at NM State.
Kickoff Return Defense
The New Mexico State kickoff return coverage team is allowing opponents just 16 yards per return in the first three games of the season. This ranked seventh in the nation and first among FBS Independent football teams.
Taking the Ball Away
The Aggie defense combined for a total of nine turnovers in 2012 and going into the 2013 season taking the ball away was atop the defense’s goals. Against No. 15 Texas, the Aggies did just that causing three turnovers with two interceptions and a fumble recovery. Versus Minnesota, the Aggies recorded one interception, then against UTEP, NM State had a fumble recovery and an interception. On the season, the Aggies have six take-a-ways.
Shapiro in the Return Game
Wide receiver Adam Shapiro made his impact not on the offensive side of the ball against No. 15 Texas but on special teams as a kick returner. Shapiro ran five kick returners back for an average of 24.4 yards per return, including a long of 29 yards. He tallied 122 yards on kick returns. He also caught one pass for seven yards on the night. Against Minnesota, Shapiro recorded a career-high six returns for 95 yards, then tallied two returns for 45 yards versus UTEP.
On the season, Shapiro has 13 returns for 262 yards, with a long of 29, averaging 20.2 yards a return.
For his career, Shapiro has five receptions for 48 yards.
Johnson at 18 Straight
Place kicker Maxwell Johnson continued his streak of consecutive PAT’s made with 18, after hitting his lone attempt against No. 15 Texas and three PAT’s against Minnesota and UTEP. His streak dates back to the 2012 season.
Johnson played in eight games for the Aggies in 2012 as the team’s kickoff specialist and field goal kicker. Johnson was a perfect 11-for-11 on the season in PATs, while recording 16 kickoffs for 1,016 yards, averaging 63.5 yards a kick with five touchbacks. Johnson was named an Academic All-WAC selection for his efforts in the classroom.
Barnard Named FBS Independent Defensive Players of the Week
New Mexico State linebacker Clint Barnard has been named FBS Independent Players of the Week, for games played through Saturday, Sept. 14.
A junior from Melrose, N.M., Barnard recorded a career-high 20 tackles in New Mexico State’s 42-21 home loss to cross-border rival UTEP. A tackle for loss was included in Barnard’s stat line. It is only the fifth time in Aggie football history that a player has registered 20 or more tackles in a single game.
On the season, Barnard 32 total tackles, a tackle for a loss and an interception.
The FBS Independent Players of the Week are selected by members of a nationwide media panel, which includes equal representation from each of the independent institutions’ coverage markets.
New Mexico State is just one of two schools in the country that have a left-footed kicker at both its starting punter (Cayle Chapman-Brown) and starting field goal kicker (Maxwell Johnson). Tennessee is the only other school to have this combination however Michael Palardy handles both positions for the Vols.
Wallace and the Streak
Offensive left tackle Davonte Wallace returns for his senior season, anchoring the Aggies’ offensive line. He has started in 39 straight games for the Aggies on the offensive line. Against No. 15 Texas Wallace recorded four knockdowns. He followed that with three knockdowns against Minnesota. Against UTEP, Wallace had
In 2012, Wallace earned second team All-WAC honors for the second straight season. He became the first offensive lineman since the 2003 and 2004 season to earn back-to-back all-conference awards. He was a vital part of the Aggies pass protection that allowed wide receiver Austin Franklin to earn All-America honors.
Wallace also helped quarterback Andrew Manley throw for 2,764 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2012, as he ranked 47th in the nation in passing. The 2,764 passing yards by Manley is sixth all-time in a single season, while the 18 touchdown passes rank tied for seventh in a single season.
NM State Football Fans Encouraged to join the ‘Aggie Walk’
This season the New Mexico State football team, along with the Pride Marching Band, NM State Cheerleaders and Sundancers will begin a new tradition called the ‘Aggie Walk’. This tradition will be in similar fashion to a short parade.
Before every home football game, the football team will walk starting at the Saratoga room (across the street from the Pan American Center) at 3:10 p.m. after finishing their pregame meal. They will be escorted across University Avenue to the North Pan American Center parking lot. From there, the team will meet the Pride Band, Sundancers and NM State Cheerleaders.
This group led by the Pride Band will start marching in the two south bound lanes of Arrowhead Street towards Aggie Memorial Stadium at 3:15 p.m. At the intersection of Stewart and Arrowhead the group will turn right on to Stewart Street and head towards the football field house. The ‘Aggie Walk’ will end at approximately 3:30 p.m. outside the football field house. These times are set to coordinate with a 6:00 p.m. kickoff.
Aggie fans are encouraged to line the streets on Arrowhead and Stewart to show support for the team before the game.
Local New Mexicans Heavily Represented on 2013 Roster
The 2013 New Mexico State football team is well represented with players from the Land of Enchantment. The roster features 20 players in all from New Mexico, including six from Las Cruces and 10 from the surrounding Albuquerque area.
Local players expected to contribute to the squad this season include wide receivers Joshua Bowen and Adam Shapiro, running backs Brandon Betancourt and Xavier Hall, kicker Brock Baca, offensive lineman Abram Holland and defensive lineman Matt Ramondo.
NM State joins Sun Belt in Football Only Starting 2014
New Mexico State University and its athletics department announced in the spring of 2013 that an invitation has been extended and accepted to join the Sun Belt Conference as a football-only member. This move is pending NM State Board of Regents approval. NM State will begin competition in the Sun Belt in the fall of 2014.
There is no question that the Sun Belt Conference is a league on the rise in football. The conference finished with its most non-conference wins in league history in 2012 and also sent a record four teams to bowl games. The conference also finished the 2012 season with its best ever average computer ranking – finishing ahead of Conference USA and the Mountain West. The league also had two wins over top-25 ranked opponents and Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State won their respective bowl games.
Having reached the 12-team mark, the Sun Belt Conference can now play a football championship game should it choose to do so. Both New Mexico State and Idaho will be immediately eligible to compete for the Sun Belt football championship and also for a spot in postseason bowl games.
NM State, which was most recently a member of the Sun Belt Conference from 2001-2005, will also renew several historic rivalries with former conference foes Arkansas State, Louisiana, and Louisiana-Monroe.
The Aggies began conference affiliation in athletics in 1932 when they joined the Border Conference. The Aggies left that league at the end of the 1961-62 academic year and became independent for the next nine years. NM State rejoined conference play in 1971 when the school joined the Missouri Valley Conference. The Aggies left the MVC at the end of the 1982-83 academic year and joined the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, which became the Big West Conference in 1989.
The Aggies left the Big West at the end of the 1999-2000 academic year and joined the Sun Belt, where they were members from 2000 until the summer of 2005. Most recently, NM State was a member of the Western Athletic Conference starting in the 2005-06 academic year and will remain as members in all sports, except for football. The Aggies’ women’s athletic teams were also members of the Intermountain Conference of the AIAW from 1973 through 1982 and the High Country Athletic Conference from 1982 through 1990.
Best Home Schedule in School History
The NM State Football team will play an Independent football schedule in 2013, perhaps the greatest home schedule in school history. NM State will face four teams from BCS conferences in 2013, including two of them at home. The Aggies will be one of six schools in 2013 to play an Independent football schedule.
The home schedule includes several high points:
- Seven homes game, tied for the most to ever be held in Aggie Memorial Stadium
- NM State will host two schools from a BCS conference, the first time in program history
- For the first time, a Big 10 opponent will play in Aggie Memorial Stadium (Minnesota)
- For the first time, an ACC team will play in Aggie Memorial Stadium (Boston College)
- Two Conference USA teams in rival UTEP and Houston-based Rice
· Mountain West stalwart San Diego State
Chapman-Brown named to Ray Guy Watch List
Punter Cayle Chapman-Brown was named to the Ray Guy Award Preseason Watch list for the best punter in the nation.
In the first game of the 2013 season, Chapman-Brown punted the ball nine times for an average 39.3 yards per punt with a long of 47 yards. Against Minnesota in game two, Chapman-Brown booted the ball five times for an average of 48.8 with a long of 73 yards. His 73-yard punt is the fifth longest punt in school history. Versus UTEP, Chapman-Brown booted the ball five times for 225 yards, averaging 45 yards a punt, with a long of 66.
On the season, Chapman-Brown is averaging 42.8 yards a punt, ranking him 35th in the nation and second among Independent football schools.
Chapman-Brown played in all 12 games for the Aggies as a punter in the 2012 season. He was named a second team all-WAC selection in 2012, while being named the WAC Special Teams Player of the Week once during the season. He had a record-setting year as well as he found his way into the record books in several categories. Chapman-Brown had 70 punts on the season, which ties him for eighth with Cliff Olander in number of punts in a season. He totaled 3,099 yards punting which put him at fifth in punting yards in a season. He also averaged 44.3 yards per punt, which ranks first in punting average in a season. He had 19 punts go over 50 yards in 2012. Chapman-Brown had 22 of his punts land inside the opponent’s 20 yard-line while only punting four touchbacks.
Ume-Ezeoke named to 2013 Rimington Trophy Watch List
Junior center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke has been named to the Rimington Trophy 2013 Spring Watch List. The list includes 17 returning players from the 2012 Watch List. In all, there are 44 players on the Watch List.
Ume-Ezeoke recorded six knockdowns against No. 15 Texas to open the 2013 season. He followed that with five knockdowns against Minnesota.
Ume-Ezeoke played in all 12 games for the Aggies in 2012, starting at the center position. He recorded 44 knockdowns and allowed no sacks during the season. He was a vital part of the Aggies pass protection that allowed wide receiver Austin Franklin to earn All-America honors. Ume-Ezeoke also helped quarterback Andrew Manley throw for 2,764 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2012, as he ranked 47th in the nation in passing. The 2,764 passing yards by Manley is sixth all-time in a single season, while the 18 touchdown passes rank tied for seventh in a single season. Ume-Ezeoke was named an Academic All-WAC selection and a 2012 Capital One Academic All-District VII first team member for his work in the classroom.
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 three of the season:
Guard Andy Cunningham led the Aggies with seven knockdowns against UTEP. The offensive line has allowed just one sack this entire season.
House, Green, Rogers and Harris Playing in the NFL
The Aggies currently have five 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. In 2013, Jeremy Harris was selected in the seventh round of the draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
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.