I-25 In-State Rivalry Continues Saturday
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  10/01/2013


        Saturday’s game between New Mexico State (0-5) and the University of New Mexico (1-3, 0-1) is the 105th meeting between the I-25 rivals. The game is scheduled for a 5 p.m. (MT) start on Branch Field at University Stadium in Albuquerque, N.M.

        You can listen to all the action with the ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon and color analyst Preston Williams beginning at 4 p.m. on KRGT 104 FM. The game will be televised on ROOTS Sports, as Mark Neely and Sed Bonner bring you the action from the TV booth.

        The Lobos have a 67-32-5 lead in the series that began in 1893. The 105 games make the NM State-UNM series the 35th-longest in the NCAA record book.

        NM State has won three of the last four meetings in the series.

Aggies and Lobos Meet For the 105th Time

    The Aggies and Lobos met for the first time in 1893 with the Lobos coming out on top, 25-5. NM State’s first win in the series came in 1894, an 18-6 win for the Aggies. The overall series record is 67-32-5 (Lobos), but the Aggies did defeat the Lobos in three straight years in 2009, 2010 and 2011 for the first time since 1966-68. The Aggies snapped the Lobos’ six-game winning streak in the series in 2009, winning for the first time in Albuquerque, since 1999. It was also the first win for NM State in the series since 2002.

      In 2011, the Aggies defeated the New Mexico Lobos 42-28 at University Stadium. It was the third straight win for the Aggies over their in-state rival Lobos and the first time since the 1966, '67 and '68 seasons that the Aggies have beaten the Lobos three years in a row. The Aggies totaled 538 yards of offense in the game, led by quarterback Matt Christian who threw for a career-high 296 yards and a career-high, four touchdown passes. Christian also rushed for 101 yards, another career-high and scored a rushing touchdown.

    The 2010 contest was a battle that saw NM State defeat New Mexico, 16-14, on a field goal by Tyler Stampler in the final minutes of the game.

      New Mexico State claimed its first Rio Grande Rivalry victory against the University of New Mexico in a thrilling 20-17 victory in 2009.

      It was the first win against the Lobos for the Aggies since 2002 and its first win in Albuquerque since 1999. Then head coach DeWayne Walker earned his first Division I victory and his first win against UNM.

NM State against Mountain West Schools

    This will be the Aggies’ second game against a school from the Mountain West Conference this year, as the Aggies battled San Diego State a week ago. The Aggies all-time record against schools from the Mountain West Conference is 37-94-6, having played San Diego State, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado State and UNLV.

    NM State has never faced TCU, Air Force or Utah. The last time an Aggie team played two current Mountain West Conference opponents in the same season was 2010. Before that it was 1999, when NM State faced New Mexico and Colorado State.

History of NM State vs. New Mexico Traveling Trophies

    NM State and UNM first met in 1893 - nine years before the first Rose Bowl. The two teams played seven games against each other before New Mexico became a state in 1912.

        During the history of the series a traveling trophy was at stake including the Maloof Trophy (1993-2001) and the Rio Grande Rivalry Trophy (2007-08). Below is a small history on each.

The Rio Grande Rivalry Trophy

        The New Mexico State Athletics Department in a joint effort with the University of New Mexico Athletics Department announced in July of 2007 that NM State and UNM would start a traveling rivalry trophy between the two schools. The NM State versus UNM rivalry series, called the Rio Grande Rivalry, premiered in the 2007-08 athletic calendar year and highlighted one of the most competitive rivalries in the nation. The Lobos won the trophy in the 2007-08 and 2008-09 academic years before it was discontinued.

        The competition of the rivalry series was based upon a point system devised to reward victories from athletic competition between the two schools. There was a possible 25.5 points to be earned from victories in various sports. If the schools face each other more than once in a certain sport, each individual game will have points on the line.

        At the end of the athletic year, the school that had accumulated the most points from Rio Grande Rivalry victories would hold the trophy for an entire year. The trophy was presented to the winning school at the end of the year.


The Maloof Trophy

        Though the in-State rivalry dates back to 1893, the New Mexico State - New Mexico football series had awarded a traveling trophy to the winning team. The Maloof Trophy, presented by First Security Bank to the winner of “The Big Game,” originated in 1993. The trophy was discontinued in 2001.

Scouting the Lobos

    The Lobos enter Saturday’s game with the Aggies at 1-3 on the season after an overtime win against UTEP the second game of the season and losses against UTSA, UNLV and Pitt. New Mexico is averaging 402.8 yards a game of total offense, rushing for 324.5 and throwing for 78.2 yards, while scoring 31.0 points a game. The Lobo defense is allowing 472.0 yards a contest and 40.2 points a game. 

        Running back Kasey Carrier leads the Lobo offense this season with 559 yards on the ground and five scores, followed by Cole Gautsche with 276 yards rushing a four scores. Gautsche has also thrown for two touchdowns and 139 yards passing. Marquis Bundy leads the receiving corps with five catches for 75 yards and a touchdown.

        Defensively, Dallas Bollema leads the way with 25 tackles, followed by Dante Caro with 24.

Last Year against New Mexico

        The New Mexico State football team lost to I-25 rival New Mexico, 27-14, in front of 25,211 fans inside Aggie Memorial Stadium.

        Sophomore quarterback Andrew Manley completed 22-of-34 passes and finished with 256 total passing yards and one touchdown. Senior running back Robert Clay led the Aggie ground attack rushing 11 times for 47 yards and one touchdown. Sophomore wide receiver Austin Franklin had his third 100-plus yards receiving game of the season, finishing with a team-high 107 yards on six catches.

        Defensively, junior strong safety Davis Cazares led NM State with 19 total tackles. Sophomore linebacker Anthony Joiner added 12 tackles, while junior linebackers Bryan Bonilla and Trashaun Nixon each finished with 10 tackles.

        The Lobos took the opening kickoff and proceeded to go on a 13-play, 71-yard drive that culminated with a 24-yard field goal by junior kicker Justus Adams. The field goal would be the only score of the first quarter.

UNM added to its lead early in the second quarter after driving 84 yards on nine plays. Freshman Lobo running back Jhurell Pressley capped off the drive with a 7-yard touchdown run up the middle giving the Lobos a 10-0 lead.

        It took NM State just over two minutes, however, to answer the Lobo touchdown. Manley completed a couple of first-down passes to junior tight end Perris Scoggins before hitting Franklin on a deep post. The 35-yard pass play placed the ball at the UNM 11-yard line. Clay finished off the drive on the next play with an 11-yard touchdown run to the left side cutting the Lobo lead to 10-7.

        With just over five minutes left in the half, UNM began a drive that would end with a 29-yard field goal on the last play of the half. The Lobos led at halftime, 13-7.

        Manley finished the half with 81 passing yards, going 7-of-11. Clay rushed for 24 yards to lead the Aggies at the half, while Franklin led the receivers with 42 yards receiving on two receptions.

After a turnover-free first half, the second half started with each team turning the ball over on its first possession.

        NM State received the second half kickoff and drove into Lobo territory, but sophomore wide receiver Joseph Mathews fumbled the ball at the Lobo 30-yard line. Freshman free safety Brandon Branch recovered the fumble for UNM and returned it to the Aggie 40-yard line.

        NM State got the ball right back on the next play, however, when junior defensive end Kalvin Cruz recovered a fumble by Lobo senior quarterback B.R. Holbrook.

        Three plays after the fumble recovery Manley hit Franklin on a 29-yard pass play that put the ball at the Lobo 27-yard line. The drive stalled, however, and UNM took over after the Aggies could not convert on a fourth and nine.

        The Lobos proceeded to score on a 29-yard touchdown run up the middle by junior running back Kasey Carrier to take a 20-7 lead after three quarters.

        UNM added another touchdown early in the fourth quarter after a fumble by Aggie sophomore running back Akeelie Mustafa gave the Lobos the ball at the NM State 40-yard line. UNM took advantage of the short field and increased its lead to 27-7 after Pressley's second rushing touchdown.

        NM State added a late 23-yard touchdown pass from Manley to Franklin to make the final score 27-14.

Bowen Leads Aggies in Receiving

        Wide receiver Joshua Bowen currently leads the team in all receiving categories this season. He has 24 catches for 243 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 10.1 yards per catch and 48.6 yards per game.

        Bowen started the season with a career-high eight catches for 83 yards and his first touchdown reception against Texas. Versus San Diego State, Bowen again led the Aggies with six catches for 66 yards and a score. He has recorded three games this season with at least six catches.

Shapiro a Dual Threat

        This season, wide receiver Adam Shapiro has been a dual threat for the Aggies at wide receiver and as a kick returner. On the year, Shapiro has caught 10 passes for 133 yards and a touchdown, while leading the team with 18 kick returns for 356 yards and a long of 29 yards.

        Against San Diego State, Shapiro recorded a career-high five catches for 58 yards and his first-career touchdown catch.

        For his career, Shapiro is averaging 12.3 yards per reception with 12 catches for 148 yards and a touchdown.

Dean Records First TD Reception

        Tight end Andrew Dean caught his first-career touchdown pass against San Diego State this past weekend. So far this year, Dean has eight receptions for 61 yards. His best game of the year came against Texas, where he caught a career-high six passes for 22 yards.

        For his career, Dean has played in 30 games, playing on special teams his first two years as an Aggie.

Baca Makes First Appearance of the Season

        Kickoff specialist Brock Baca made his 2013 debut against San Diego State this past weekend. Baca recorded four kicks for 255 yards, averaging 63.8 yards per kick, with two touchbacks.

        For his career, Baca has 28 kickoffs under his belt for 1,737 yards.

Franklin Back on the Field

        Wide receiver Austin Franklin made his return against San Diego State after sitting out the first four games of the season. Franklin caught two passes for 18 yards.

        Franklin started all 12 games for the Aggies at wide receiver and as a returner on kickoffs and punts in the 2012 season.  Franklin led the team with 74 receptions, 1,245 yards receiving, 16.8 yards per reception, nine touchdowns and 103.8 receiving yards per game.  Franklin also led the team in all-purpose yards with 1,627 yards total and averaged 135.6 total yards per game. Franklin was named a first team All-WAC selection and was also named an SI.com Honorable Mention All-American. He was also named a semifinalist for the 2012 Biletnikoff Award.

        For his career, Franklin ranks seventh all-time in receiving yards for a career with 1,787.

Cazares Double Digit Count

      Safety Davis Cazares has four out of five games this season with double-digit tackle numbers, including a team-high 14 against San Diego State this past weekend.

      Cazares recorded 14 tackles, including a game-high 10 solo stops, while adding two interceptions and a fumble recovery, in New Mexico State’s 59-13 loss at No. 13 UCLA.  Cazares’ interceptions and fumble recovery were his first in an Aggie uniform. 

      On the season, Cazares has a team-high 62 tackles, two tackles for a loss, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. For his career, Davis has 184 tackles. He ranks fourth in the nation in total tackles and fifth in solo tackles.

Callender Plays Well in Return

        After missing two games with injury, George Callendar made his return against San Diego State. He tallied 10 tackles and a tackles for a loss.

        On the season, Callender has an interception and 21 tackles, including a tackle for a loss. For his career, he has a team-leading three interceptions.

Thomas-Davis Solid in First Start

        Defensive back Kedeem Thomas-Davis made his first-career start against San Diego State this past weekend and recorded a career night. Thomas-Davis had a career-high nine tackles against the Aztecs.

        Thomas-Davis has 13 tackles on the season and has played in four of the Aggies’ five games so far.

Turnovers on the Rise

      In 2013 the defense for NM State has stressed the importance of taking the ball away from its opponents. The Aggie defense has managed to accomplish this feat through its first five games of the season, recording 10 in all, with six interceptions and four fumble recoveries.

      In 2012, the Aggies had a total of nine turnovers all season, including five fumble recoveries and four interceptions.

      At this point in the season, the Aggies are minus one in the turnover margin category with six lost fumbles and four interceptions. The Aggies are 23rd in the country in passes intercepted.

Defense in the backfield

      Getting to the quarterback or tackling your opponent behind the line of scrimmage is a positive play for the defense and this season the Aggies have done just that thru five games of the season. To date, the Aggies have recorded 23 tackles for a loss, including seven sacks.    

      In 2012, the Aggies had 15 tackles for a loss and five sacks thru five games.

      Linebacker Trashaun Nixon ranks first on the team with 5.5 tackles for a loss and 39th in the nation.


Left-Footed Kickers

        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 41 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 three knockdowns. He recorded two knockdowns against UCLA. On the season, Wallace has 13 knockdowns and has allowed two sacks.

        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.

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. 

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 of 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. Against UCLA, Chapman-Brown punted the ball twice for 73 yards, averaging 36.5 yards a kick.

        On the season, Chapman-Brown is averaging 42.1 yards a punt, ranking him 44th in the nation and second among Independent football schools.

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. Two games later, Ume-Ezeoke had a team-high five knockdowns. On the season, he has tallied 18.5 knockdowns and received just two penalties.

        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 five of the season:

        Guard Andy Cunningham led the Aggies with 8.5 knockdowns against San Diego State. The offensive line has allowed just five sacks 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 Aggie 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 their in-game scores at www.twitter.com/nmstateaggies.

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