The New Mexico State Aggies (0-7) welcome the Abilene Christian Wildcats (5-3) to Aggie Memorial Stadium, Oct. 26 at 6 p.m. This will be the first meeting between the two schools.
You can listen to all the action with the ‘Voice of the Aggies’ Jack Nixon and color analyst Preston Williams beginning at 5 p.m. on KGRT 104 FM. Also catch the action in Spanish with Bob Sherman and Sal Betancourt on Vista 98.7 FM.
AggieVision will produce and distribute the game. The game will be televised live on Comcast New Mexico, FS-Arizona Plus, KASY (Albuquerque), CW (El Paso) and Altitude 2.
NM State against FCS Schools
The Aggies do have a history of playing FCS programs. In fact, the Aggies are 41-25-1 all-time against Championship Subdivision programs. The last FCS school NM State played was Sacramento State, on Aug. 30, 2012, winning 49-19 in Las Cruces.
The Aggies last lost to a Championship Subdivision team in overtime in 1997 at home against Cal Poly, 38-35. Northern Arizona is the FCS program that NM State has faced the most. The Aggies hold a 17-7-1 record over the Lumberjacks with the first game played in 1930 and the last in the series in 1982.
Scouting Abilene Christian
The Wildcats visit Las Cruces for the first time in school history on Saturday. This season ACU is 5-3 overall, playing as an independent FCS football program in 2013. The Wildcats started the season 3-0, then lost three straight but have bounced back and won its last two contests.
ACU is averaging 453.5 yards per game, while allowing 362.2 yards per contest. Offensively, Charcandrick West leads the Wildcats attack with 562 rushing yards and nine touchdowns.
Quarterback John David Baker has thrown for 2,184 yards and 26 touchdowns this season and is third on the team in rushing with 168 yards and four scores. Wide receiver Taylor Gabriel has 44 catches for 695 yards and eight scores to lead the team.
Defensively, Angel Lopez leads the team in tackles with 69, including a sack, two interceptions and two tackles for a loss of 18 yards. As a team, the Wildcats have 17 sacks, 12 interceptions and 13 fumble recoveries on the season.
NM State Homecoming Side Notes
Below are some interesting facts about NM State football and the yearly homecoming game since 1960.
· Since 1960 NM State is 24-28 all-time in homecoming games.
· NM State has played 12 games against teams from Texas on homecoming.
· Last 10 years NM State is 3-7 in homecoming games.
· NM State’s biggest homecoming win was 90-0 over Northern Arizona.
· Aggies have played two Top-25 teams on homecoming - (No. 11 Boise St. 2008) (No. 24 LA Tech 2012)
· NM State has played 31 conference games on homecoming and are 11-20 in those conference games all-time.
· Largest margin of victory in conference homecoming game was NM State-69 Lamar-37
· NM State’s first homecoming game at Aggie Memorial Stadium was a 21-20 victory over Drake on Nov. 4, 1978..
· NM State’s longest win streak in homecoming games is four from 1964-1968.
· Homecoming games have been held in October 38 times and November 15 times.
· Abilene Christian is first FCS team for a homecoming game since Southern Utah in 1996.
· NM State has held opponents scoreless three times in homecoming games.
· NM State has held opponents to single-digit points eight times in homecoming games.
· NM State has scored at least 30 points in twenty homecoming games.
· NM State was shutout only once for homecoming, against Boise State in 2008 (49-0).
Betancourt Records Second 100-yard Rushing Game
Running back Brandon Betancourt has made the most of his opportunity since being named the starting running back before the UCLA game. In those four games, Betancourt has rushed for 369 yards and a touchdown. In the first three games of the season he had only 37 yards on the ground.
Against New Mexico, Betancourt recorded his first career 100-yard rushing game, finishing with 139 yards on 23 carries. He followed that with 103 yards against Rice in the annual ‘Pink Game’
On the season, Betancourt has 406 yards and two touchdowns, while catching 13 passes for 106 yards and a touchdown.
Johnson Boots Career-Long
Place kicker Maxwell Johnson recorded a career-long made field goal against Rice this past Saturday. Johnson’s boot of 49 yards was a career-long. He also nailed a 37-yarder in the first quarter. On the season, Johnson is 4-of-5 in field goal attempts and 12-of-15 on point after attempts. He also leads the team in scoring with 24 points.
For his career, Johnson has connected on four field goals and 23 PAT’s, scoring a total of 35 points during his two seasons with the Aggies.
Franklin Records Longest-Career Touchdown Reception; Moves Up Records Books
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. Versus New Mexico, Franklin had three catches for 28 yards.
He then broke through against Rice at home with three catches for 95 yards, including a career-best 85 yard touchdown reception.
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 sixth all-time in receiving yards for a career with 1,910 and ninth in touchdown receptions with 13. He needs just one more reception to break into the top-10 all-time in receptions for a career.
Brown Emerging as a Go-To Guy
Wide receiver Jerrel Brown has become a favorite target for the Aggies this season. He currently ranks second on the team in catches with 20 for 301 yards and a touchdown.
Against New Mexico, Brown led NM State with five catches for a career-high 91 yards. On the season, Brown has caught at least one pass in each of the Aggies’ six games.
For his career, Brown has recorded 45 receptions for 630 yards and three scores, averaging 14.5 yards per catch.
Bowen Leads Aggies in Receiving
Wide receiver Joshua Bowen currently leads the team in all receiving categories this season. He has 27 catches for 268 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 9.9 yards per catch and 38.3 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 17 passes for 257 yards and a touchdown, while leading the team with 23 kick returns for 451 yards, averaging 19.6 yards per kick return with 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 12.9 yards per reception with 19 catches for 272 yards and a touchdown.
Cazares Double Digit Count
Safety Davis Cazares has four out of seven games this season with double-digit tackle numbers, including a team-high 14 against San Diego State.
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 76 tackles, two tackles for a loss, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. For his career, Davis has 198 tackles. He ranks ninth in the nation in total tackles and 22nd in solo tackles.
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 seven games of the season, recording 11 in all, with six interceptions and five 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 six in the turnover margin category with nine lost fumbles and eight interceptions.
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 seven. To date, the Aggies have recorded 30 tackles for a loss, including seven sacks.
In 2012, the Aggies had 15 tackles for a loss and five sacks thru seven games.
Linebacker Trashaun Nixon ranks first on the team with eight tackles for a loss.
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 43 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. Versus New Mexico, Chapman-Brown recorded his best yards per punt average of the season, 51.8 yards a punt with a long of 70. Against Rice, Chapman-Brown tallied a 39.9 average with a long of 62.
On the season, Chapman-Brown is averaging 42.9 yards a punt, ranking him 28th 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 New Mexico.
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.