NM State Hosts Minnesota in Home Opener, Saturday
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  09/04/2013


        The New Mexico State Aggies (0-1) host Big Ten powerhouse Minnesota (1-0, 0-0), as the Golden Gophers become the first ever team from the Big Ten to visit Aggie Memorial Stadium. This weekend the Aggies and Golden Gophers will meet for the second time on the gridiron. Game time is set for 6:00 p.m. (MT) at Aggie Memorial Stadium, Saturday, Sept. 7.

      The game will be televised live on AggieVision, as Jay Sanderson (Play-by-Play) and Danny Knee (Analyst) bring you all the action from the television booth. The game will be on live locally on Comcast in New Mexico, CW (El Paso), My50 (Albuquerque) Fox College Sport Pacific, Fox Sports Arizona Plus and Altitude2. Big Ten To Go will also broadcast the game.

      You can listen to all the action with the 'Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon and color analyst Preston Williams beginning at 5:00 p.m. on KGRT 104 FM. Also catch the action in Spanish with Bob Sherman and Sal Betancourt on Vista 98.7 FM.


Aggies/Golden Gophers, the Series

      NM State will face Minnesota for the second time in program history this Saturday. The two teams first matched up in 2011, as NM State traveled to Minneapolis, Minn., on Sept. 10 of that year. The Aggies pulled out the upset over the Golden Gophers, 28-21, for the program’s first ever win over a Big Ten opponent.

        Head Coach Doug Martin was the Aggies’ offensive coordinator that season.

NM State versus the Big Ten

        The Aggies have faced five Big Ten teams since the program started back in 1894. NM State's all-time record against teams from the Big Ten is 1-6. The Aggies faced off against Wisconsin, Sept. 29, 1962, in Madison, Wis. The Aggies fell 69-13 to the Badgers.

        In 1995, the Aggies traveled to Iowa City, Iowa, to face off against the Iowa Hawkeyes. The Aggies would let the Hawkeyes jump out to a 42-0 lead at halftime, before outscoring Iowa, 21-17, in the second half. The Aggies would fall to the Hawkeyes, 59-21. The Aggies have also played newly acquired member Nebraska three times and Ohio State in 2009. NM State was beaten by the Buckeyes, 45-0.

        Then in 2011, NM State won its first ever game against a team from the Big Ten, with a 28-21 thriller over Minnesota.

        The Aggies hold a winning record against two BCS school, Minnesota and Iowa State, as NM State leads both series 1-0.

Martin/Kill Meet Again as Head Coaches

        NM State head coach Doug Martin and Minnesota head coach Jerry Kill have locked up twice before as head coaches. The two coaches faced each other twice when Martin was at Kent State and Kill was at Northern Illinois. This coaching match up stands at 1-1.

Scouting the Golden Gophers

        Minnesota (1-0) opened the season with a 51-23 win over UNLV at home. The Golden Gopher racked up 320 yards of total offense in the game, but gave up over 400 yards to the Runnin’ Rebels. Last season, Minnesota finished the season 6-7, after falling to Texas Tech, 34-31, in the Meineke Car Care Bowl, in Houston, Texas.

        The Golden Gophers’ offense is led by quarterback Phillip Nelson, who in the game against UNLV led his team in both rushing and passing, scrambling for 83 yards on the ground and two scores, while completing 10-of-22 passing for 99 yards and a touchdown. KJ Maye led the wide receiver corps with three catches for 30 yards.

        Defensively, defensive back Brock Vereen led Minnesota with eight tackles, while defensive back Briean Boddy-Calhoun intercepted a UNLV pass, returning it 89 yards for a touchdown.

        The Minnesota special teams also came up big with a kick return for a touchdown by defensive back Marucs Jones.

Last Time against Minnesota

        It was the first win against a Big Ten team and the first against a BCS school since 1999, as the NM State football team defeated Minnesota 28-21, improving to 1-1 on the season. This was also the Aggies' first road win since 2009 against New Mexico.

        The Aggies tallied 421 yards of total offense behind quarterback Andrew Manley's 288 yards passing on 20-of-31 and three touchdowns. Robert Clay rushed for 97 yards and a touchdown, while Taveon Rogers caught four passes for 88 yards a two touchdowns. Defensively, the Aggies allowed 419 yards, led by Jonte Green, who had 10 tackles, followed by Alexander LaVoy who grabbed a career high eight tackles.

        Minnesota started with the ball in the second half and drove down deep into the Aggies field. The NM State defense stopped the Gophers and forced a field goal. The 39-yard attempt was missed as the Aggies took over at its own 22-yard line.

        The Aggies would go three-and-out on their first possession of the second half, punting the ball away with 10:19 to go in the third quarter. Neither team could get anything going offensively over the next eight minutes as the score remained 21-14 in favor of the Aggies with 2:06 left in the third quarter.

        The Aggies would get the ball back in their own five-yard line and drove the ball deep into Minnesota's field with less than a minute to go in the third quarter. A pass interference call gave the Aggies the ball at the 2-yard line at first and goal. Two plays later Robert Clay would take it in from 2-yards out to give the Aggies a 28-14 lead with 31 second to go in the third quarter.

        Minnesota then put together a 68-yard drive to pull within seven at 28-21 with 11:47 to go in the game on a 2-yard touchdown reception.

        Manley was then intercepted by the Gophers on a third-and-seven, as Minnesota took over at the Aggies' 33-yard line. The Gophers quickly took the ball inside the 10-yard line with just under eight minutes to play. The Gophers had the ball on the 1-yard line on fourth and goal and were stopped by the Aggie defense with 7:27 to go in the game.

        The Aggies took over and ate up the next six minutes on the clock but were forced to punt the ball back to Minnesota. The Gophers began to march down the field and got to the Aggies 30-yard line and couldn't convert of a fourth-and-10 as the Aggies took the win, 28-21.

        The Aggies took the opening drive of the game and drove 60 yards on six plays, capped off by a 26-yard touchdown pass from Manley to Rogers. The Aggies led 7-0 with 12:01 to go in the first quarter. The NM State defense then came on the field and forced the Gophers to go three-and-out, as the Aggies fair caught the Minnesota punt at their own 22-yard line.

        The Aggies then took the ball into Gopher territory but were forced to punt after a third and two failed. The Gophers took over on its own 12-yard line. Minnesota then drove the ball 88 yards on 10 plays, tying the game at seven all on a four yard rushing touchdown with 4:17 to go in the first quarter.

        Minnesota would get the ball back and drive down the field inside the Aggies 10-yard line. On a third and goal, linebacker Boyblue Aoelua incepted the ball in the end zone, his second of his career, giving the Aggies the ball on their own 20-yard line with 13:29 to go in the half.

        The Aggies took the ball 80 yards on three plays as Manley connected with Rogers for the second time in the game on a 41-yard touchdown pass, giving NM State a 14-7 lead with 12:11 left in the half. The Aggies then tried and on-sides kick but the ball was recovered by Minnesota in Aggie territory.

        The Aggie defense then responded with a stop on fourth-and-one, giving the ball back to the offense in its own 42-yard line. Manley drove the Aggies down 58-yards, throwing his third touchdown pass of the day to David Quiroga, a 4-yard pass to give the Aggies a 21-7 lead with 6:35 to go in the half. It was Quiroga's first career touchdown reception. Manley went 12-of-12 passing to start the game.

        The Aggie defense then forced Minnesota to another 3-and-out but an interception by Manley with just under three minutes to play gave the Gophers the ball back. Just as quick as the Gophers got the ball back, NM State's Bradley intercepted the ball with 2:42 to go in the half.

        The Aggie offense would stall as place kicker Tyler Stampler came on to try a 49-yard field goal. The kick was short, as Minnesota took over at its own 31-yard line with 51 second left in the half. Minnesota then took the ball right into Aggie territory. With just eight second to go in the half, Minnesota scored on a 10-yard touchdown pass to bring the score to 21-14 at the half.

        The Aggies had 272 yards of total offense in the first half, rushing for 46 and passing for 226. Manley was 14-of-17 for 226 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Clay rushed for 35 yards on nine carries, while Rogers caught four passes for 88 yards and two touchdowns. Linebacker Alexander LaVoy let the defense with five tackles. The Aggie defense held Minnesota to just 17 yards rushing and 140 yards of total offense in the first half.

Starting the Season with Two Straight against BCS Teams

        The Aggies begin the 2013 season facing two straight teams from BCS conferences (Texas & Minnesota). The last time the Aggies had this on their schedule was back in 2004, as NM State took on Arkansas and California. In fact, NM State has started five seasons since 1994 with two straight games against BCS teams. The Aggies are 0-11 in those games, including this past weekend’s game against No. 15 Texas.

Bowen has Career Game

        New Mexico native wide receiver Joshua Bowen led the NM State receiving corps against No. 15 Texas, recording career highs in catches (8) and receiving yards (83). He also grabbed his first career touchdown pass on an 11-yard pass from quarterback Andrew McDonald to give NM State the early lead on the Longhorns.

        In 2012, Bowen played in two games at wide receiver for the Aggies in 2012.  He made his first career appearance at Ohio (Sep. 8) and also played against San Jose State (Nov. 10).

Bonilla Continues in 2013

        Linebacker Bryan Bonilla started off his senior campaign by leading the Aggies in tackles with eight against No. 15 Texas this past weekend. Bonilla had four solo efforts and four assisted tackles on the night, including a tackle-for-a-loss. This was the third time in his career that he led NM State in tackles.

        For his career, Bonilla has five games with double-digit tackles and 168 total tackles. Bonilla has recorded seven tackles-for-a-loss and two pass break-ups.

Callender has a Nose for the Ball

        Safety George Callender returned for the 2013 season, after leading the team in interceptions a year ago. Against No. 15 Texas, Callender grabbed his third career interception and the first interception for the Aggies in 2013 at the beginning of the second quarter. He finished with three tackles in the game.

        Last season, Callender recorded 86 tackles on the season and two interceptions. For his career, Callender has 123 tackles, four pass break-ups and three interceptions.

Tight Ends in the Mix

        The tight end position will be a big part of the Aggies’ offense in 2013 and against No. 15 Texas that was just the case. Tight ends Andrew Dean and Perris Scoggins combined for nine catches for 47 yards. Dean caught six passes for 22 yards, which was second on the team, while Scoggins pulled in three passes for 25 yards.

        Last season, the tight end corps had a combined 30 catches.

Barnard Makes Solid First Career Start

        The Aggies’ starting middle linebacker Clint Barnard made his Aggie debut against No. 15 Texas this past week and for the former walk-on it was a solid performance. Barnard posted four tackles, a pass break-up and his first career interception. Last season, Barnard was a walk-on scout team player from Melrose, N.M., where he played 8-man football in high school.

McDonald by Ground and by Air

        By ground or by air? How about both? NM State quarterback Andrew McDonald started his first game for the Aggies against No. 15 Texas this past weekend and led the team in rushing and passing. McDonald ran the ball 14 times for a team-high 50 yards, while completing 32-of-46 on the night for 242 yards and a touchdown.

        Last season, McDonald played in just one game for the Aggies in 2012 against Ohio, completing 1-of-3 passing for three yards.

        McDonald played two seasons at Santa Ana College at the quarterback position. In 2011, he threw for 2,033 yards and 22 touchdowns, while rushing for 123 yards and four touchdowns. McDonald completed 169-of-273 pass attempts for a completion percentage of .619, averaging 207.9 yards of total offense a game. He was named a first team All-East Conference selection in 2011. McDonald also rushed for seven touchdowns.

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.

        Shapiro currently ranks 24th in the country in kickoff return yardage and second among kick returners from Independent football programs.

        For his career, Shapiro has three receptions for 22 yards.

Johnson at 12 Straight

        Place kicker Maxwell Johnson continued his streak of consecutive PAT’s made with 12, after hitting his lone attempt against No. 15 Texas. 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.


Cazares on Special Teams

        Safety Davis Cazares led the Aggies in tackles in 2012 with 116, ranking in the top-25 in the nation, while leading the conference. Cazares recorded seven tackles against No. 15 Texas this past weekend but he also had 18 yards rushing for the Aggies. Cazares took a fake punt late in the game and scrambled for 18 yards giving NM State a first down and keeping its drive alive, recording his first rushing attempt of his career.

        For his career, Cazares has 143 tackles, three tackles-for-a-loss, two pass break-ups, a forced fumble and a blocked kick.

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. The Aggies already have a third of the turnover from a year ago after just one game.

Wallace and the Streak

        Offensive left tackle Davonte Wallace returns for his senior season, anchoring the Aggies’ offensive line. He has started in 37 straight games for the Aggies on the offensive line. Against No. 15 Texas Wallace recorded four knockdowns.

        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 Encourage to join the ‘Aggie Walk’

         This season the New Mexico State football team, along with the Pride Marching Band, NM State Cheerleaders and the Sundancer 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 PM. 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 PM outside the football field house. These times are set for a 6:00 PM 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.

        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.

        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 one of the season.

        Guard Andy Cunningham led the Aggies with 10 knockdowns against Texas. The Aggies gave up just one sack to the No. 15 Longhorns

House, Green, Rogers, Bateman 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, while wide receiver Kemonte Bateman signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos.

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.

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