NM State Football hosts Idaho, Saturday in Season Finale
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  11/26/2013


        The New Mexico State Aggies (1-10) host the Idaho Vandals (1-10) at 1:30 p.m., in Aggie Memorial Stadium, in the season finale for both teams, Nov. 30. This will be the 20th meeting between the two schools and the 11th game played in Las Cruces.  

        NM State and Idaho played independent schedules in 2013, as both teams will join the Sun Belt Conference in football only beginning in 2014.

        The first meeting between the Aggies and Vandals came back in 1971 as Idaho pulled out a slim 19-14 win in Las Cruces. The Vandals hold a 14-5 series lead over NM State, as the Aggies have won four of their five wins in Las Cruces. The Aggies last win in the series came in 2011 as they defeated Idaho 31-24.

        You can listen to all the action with the ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon and color analyst Preston Williams beginning at 2:00 p.m. on KRGT 104 FM. Also catch the action in Spanish with Bob Sherman and Sal Betancourt on Vista 98.7 FM.

New Mexico State-Idaho Rivalry

        The Aggies and Vandals have played some exciting games in the 19 times the two schools have met. Idaho has won four of the last seven games in the series and including three in Moscow and one in Las Cruces. Twelve of the 19 games have been decided by eight points or less. The Aggies’ first win in the series came in 1999 as NM State hosted Idaho and won 42-14 at Aggie Memorial Stadium. NM State has won just one game in Moscow, a 35-31 decision in 2002. The Aggies’ last win in the series came at home in 2011, winning 31-24 over the Vandals.

Scouting the Vandals

        The Vandals are currently 1-10 overall on the season, dropping six straight, including this past weekend to No. 2 Florida State. Idaho has played three BCS schools this season. The Vandals lone win came against Temple in October, a 26-24 decision. Idaho started the season with two road games and will wrap-up the season with two road contests. 

        Idaho is averaging 18.4 points per game as the Vandals put up 361.6 yards of total offense in 2013. Idaho tallies 132.5 rushing yards a game and 229.1 yards passing a contest.

        Individually, quarterback Chad Chalish has started seven games for the Vandals, throwing for 1,224 yards and five scores, while Travis Davis has also seen action at the quarterback position with 1,074 yards passing and seven touchdown passes. James Baker leads the Vandals’ rushing attack with 545 yards on the ground and six touchdowns. Dezmon Epps leads the Vandal receiving corps. Epps has caught 73 passes for 937 yards and four touchdowns.

        Defensively, Marc Millian leads the Vandals with 85 tackles in 2013, followed by Bradley Njoku with 79. The Vandals have 19 sacks and nine interceptions on the year.

Franklin in the Record Books

        Wide receiver Austin Franklin leads the team in catches (46), receiving yards (606) and touchdown catches (5) in just seven games this season. He has recorded three of his last four games with over 100 yards receiving. Franklin continues to move up in the Aggies’ record books with each catch.

        Currently, Franklin ranks fourth in catches (154), fifth in yards (2,375), fourth in touchdown receptions (17) and third in 100-yard receiving games (11). He also needs just 101 all-purpose yards to move into the top-10 all-time.

        On the year, Franklin also has 67 rushing yards and has completed both of his passing attempts for five yards.

McDonald Solid in the Passing Game

        Over the past three games, quarterback Andrew McDonald has thrown for over 300 yards passing, twice, including a career-high 384 yards against Boston College. On the season, McDonald has thrown for over 200 yards in a game six times, which ranks 17th all-time in NM State history.

        McDonald has also moved up in the Aggies’ all-time total offense category for a season with 2,552 yards, ranking him eighth.

        On the year, McDonald has thrown for 2,311 yards and 13 touchdowns, while rushing for 237 yards and four scores.

Nixon in the Backfield

        Linebacker Trashaun Nixon has recorded more tackles in the opponent’s backfield this season than anyone else on the team. Against Louisiana, Nixon recorded a career-high two sacks, bringing his total for the year to 2.5. He also tallied seven tackles and a forced fumble. Versus Boston College, Nixon recorded a career-high 14 tackles, a tackle for a loss and a pass break-up.

        On the season, Nixon is second on the team in tackles with 81. He has tallied 12 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.

        For his career, Nixon has 177 tackles, 21.5 tackles for a loss, six pass break-ups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.

Maxwell Kickin’ It

        Place kicker Maxwell Johnson has been on a hot streak as of late. Johnson has made 14-straight extra-point tries and nine-straight field goal attempts, including a career long of 49 yards against Rice.

        Johnson currently leads the team in points with 53 and ranks 20th in field goal percentage in the nation.

Chapman-Brown Punting Well

        Punter Cayle Chapman-Brown recorded nine punts against Florida Atlantic for 407 yards and an average of 45.2 yards per punt. He tallied five punts inside the 20-yard line and four punt of over 50-yards, including a long of 65. This was the fifth game this season that Chapman-Brown averaged over 45.0 yards per punt.

        On the season, Chapman-Brown is averaging 43.8 yards per punt, including a long of 73 yards, 23 punts inside the 20 and 15 punts over 50 yards.

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 11 of the season:

        Tackle Andy Cunningham led the Aggies with 5.5 knockdowns against Florida Atlantic.

Cazares Named a Burlsworth Trophy Nominee

        The Burlsworth Trophy and presenting sponsor, the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club, announced that safety Davis Cazares, along with 52 other student-athletes from around the country was selected as nominees for the 2013 Burlsworth Trophy. Cazares did not make the final list however.  

        Cazares currently leads the Aggies in tackles with 98, which ranks him ninth in the nation in total tackles. He also ranks 50th in the country in solo tackles. Cazares has also recorded two tackles for a loss, two interceptions, two pass break-ups, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble on the season. In 2012, Cazares tallied 116 tackles, ranking 27th in the nation, earning him second team All-WAC honors.

        The Burlsworth Trophy is given to the most outstanding collegiate football player who began his career as a walk-on. A walk-on is defined as a player who began his first season of participation with a Division I (FBS) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department.

Barnard Named Academic All-District

        New Mexico State junior linebacker Clint Barnard was named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-District VII first team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

        As a result of his first-team all-district selection, Barnard will now be placed on the ballot for the Capital One Academic All-America team.  The team will consist of first, second and third-team All-America honorees and will be selected later on this month.

        Barnard, a former walk-on from Melrose, N.M., has started seven games for the Aggies this season at middle linebacker. Currently, Barnard is fourth on the team in tackles with 67, recording 2.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and an interception. Against I-10 rival UTEP, Barnard recorded a career-high 20 tackles, earning the FBS Independent Defensive Player of the Week. This season, Barnard has eight games with at least eight tackles. The bio-chemistry major currently maintains a 3.7 GPA.

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 46 straight games for the Aggies on the offensive line.

        Wallace played in 83 plays at Texas, recording four knockdowns and allowed no sacks. He earned a 93 percent assignment rating against Texas. Against Minnesota, Wallace earned three knockdowns and allowed no sacks or pressure on quarterback plays. He had a 98 percent assignment rating with three knockdowns against UTEP, but did allow two pressures on quarterback plays. Wallace struggled against UCLA and gave up two sacks and two pressure plays but did record three knockdowns. He allowed no sacks or pressure on the quarterback against SDSU, while recording four knockdowns. Wallace had 4.5 knockdowns against UNM but allowed 2.5 sacks, then allowed no sacks and tallied five knockdowns against Rice. In the Aggies win over ACU, Wallace had eight knockdowns and allowed one pressure on the quarterback plays. He had a 91percent assignment rating against Louisiana, with seven knockdowns, but allowed one sack.

        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. 

House, Green, Rogers and Harris 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 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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