NM State heads to Reno to Face the No. 18 Wolf Pack
The New Mexico State Aggies (2-8, 1-5) take on the No. 18 Nevada Wolf Pack (9-1, 4-1) this Saturday, Nov. 20, at Mackay Stadium for the seventh time in the series history. Kick-off for the game is set for 2 p.m. (MT).
The Wolf Pack leads the series 11-2, but the Aggies took the last meeting in Nevada with a dramatic win in 2008, 48-45. The Aggies are 5-20 against teams from the state of Nevada.
You can listen to all the action with Kyle Doperalski and color analyst Jason Scott beginning at 1:30 p.m. on KGRT 104 FM. Also catch the action in Spanish with Martin Cortez and Bob Sherman on Vista 98.7 FM.
Aggies/ Wolf Pack 'The Series'
Thirteen games have been played between the two schools as Nevada holds an 11-2 record over the Aggies. Seven of the series' games have been played in Las Cruces, however the Aggies' two wins both occurred at Reno in 1998, 48-45, and in 2008, 48-45 as well. In the Aggies' first win, Ty Houghtaling connected with David Patterson on an 8-yard scoring pass with 46 seconds left in the game to lift NM State to victory. The Aggies have only scored more than 24 points on the Wolf Pack twice, both NM State wins.
The Aggies and Wolf Pack are old conference foes as both were members of the Big West Conference from 1992 to 1999 and both have been members of the WAC since 2005.
Scouting the Wolf Pack
This season No. 18 Nevada is currently third in the WAC, holding a 9-1 overall record and a 4-1 record against conference opponents. The Wolf Pack is 5-0 at home this season including wins against No. 24 California, Colorado State, Eastern Washington, Utah State and San Jose State.
As a team, the Wolf Pack is averaging 43.3 points a game and 542.1 yards of total offense, which leads the WAC and is third in the nation. The Nevada defense this season has allowed 23.3 points a game and 381.1 yards of total offense. The defense has grabbed eight interceptions this season. Nevada opponents have rushed for just 128.2 yards per game, but have passed for 252.9 yards through the air.
Quarterback Colin Kaepernick leads the Nevada offense while passing for 2,161 yards and 17 touchdowns. He has also rushed for 946 yards and 15 touchdowns. Kaepernick is fourth in the WAC in rushing with 94.6 yards a game. Running back Vai Taua is first in the WAC in rushing with 125.6 yards per game and 14 touchdowns, while Rishard Matthews (35-581/3 TD) and Brandon Wimberly (33-396) lead the receiving corps. Defensively, J.M. Johnson (68 tackles) and Kevin Grimes (56 tackles) lead the charge.
Last Season against Nevada
In the 2009 home finale, the New Mexico State football team fell to Nevada, 63-20, Saturday, Nov. 21, at Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, N.M. Sophomore quarterback Jeff Fleming and junior wide receiver Marcus Allen connected for a pair of Aggie touchdowns.
Fleming was 8-for-19 while Allen led the squad with 52 yards on five receptions along with 159 yards on kick returns. Defensively, senior linebacker Ross Conner and junior defensive back Stephon Hatchett paced the Aggies with 13 tackles each.
On Nevada's first play of the game, sophomore defensive end Pierre Fils forced a fumble, his third of the season, that sophomore defensive end Donte Savage recovered. The Wolf Pack turnover set up NM State's first score of the contest, a 31-yard field goal from sophomore kicker Kyle Hughes, to take a 3-0 lead.
The explosive Nevada offense responded with four touchdowns before the Aggies could score again. NM State utilized a seven-play, 66-yard drive before Hughes booted his second field goal of the game from 21 yards to cut the Wolf Pack advantage to 28-6 at the 14:51 mark of the second quarter. Nevada scored two additional touchdowns to take a 42-6 lead into the halftime break.
In the fourth quarter, the Wolf Pack muffed a punt that the Aggies recovered at the Nevada 14-yard line. The NM State offense took advantage of the opportunity when Fleming threw a 14-yard touchdown pass to Allen. The score was Allen's first touchdown and Fleming's third passing touchdown of the season.
On the Aggies' next drive, Fleming found Allen again for an 11-yard touchdown reception. With the extra point, Hughes made his 45th consecutive PAT. The score highlighted a 10-play, 88-yard drive that spanned 6:25 on the final series.
Last Time against the Wolf Pack in Reno
Oren Long returned a fumble 83 yards for a touchdown and quarterback Chase Holbrook threw for 409 yards and scored four total touchdowns as the New Mexico State football team won an exciting game on the road over Nevada, 48-45, at Mackay Stadium.
It was the Aggie offense that racked up 513 yards of total offense, but the defense forced three turnovers and had several big stops in the fourth quarter, that allowed NM State to win its first conference opener in the WAC.
The Aggies scored 10 unanswered points over eight-and-a-half minutes to start the fourth quarter and controlling the ball in the end proved to be the difference to beat a Wolf Pack team that came into the game ranked No. 7 nationally in total offense. Kyle Hughes' 18-yard field goal at 6:27 turned out to be the winning points for the Aggies.
Senior wide receiver Chris Williams broke the school's record for career receiving yardage in the game as he finished with six catches for 128 yards and his 13th career 100-yard receiving game. He now has 189 career catches for 2,780 yards.
NM State got big plays all day from its offense. The Aggies had nine plays that went for 20 or more yards, and Holbrook did a magnificent job finding the open receivers as he passed for his sixth career 400-yard game. He did it by averaging nearly 15 yards per completion, and he finished with one rushing touchdown and three touchdown passes on 28-of-47 attempts with one interception. Holbrook went over 10,000 yards passing in his career in the game.
Running back Marquell Colston had his second straight 100-yard rushing game. He carried the ball 24 times for 118 yards with one rushing and one receiving touchdown. Wes Neiman had seven receptions for 82 yards with one score, and Marcus Anderson found the end zone again. He had six catches for 82 yards and the one touchdown, which gave him four straight games with a touchdown reception and seven on the year.
NM State Recent History against Ranked Opponents
The Aggies have locked up with nationally ranked opponents 17 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, 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' 16 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.
Before facing No. 3 Boise State earlier this season, the highest ranked opponent NM State had faced was No. 5 Texas back in 2001.
Clay gets First 100-Yard Rushing Game
Running back Robert Clay started his second game as an Aggie this past weekend against LA Tech, after both Seth Smith and Kenny Turner were forced to miss the game due to injury.
Clay carried the ball 22 times for a career-high 108 yards. It was the Aggies' first 100-yard rushing game of the 2010 season. Clay also caught one pass for three yards.
Previously this season, Clay played in eight games, rushing for 44 yards on 11 carries.
For his career, Clay has 168 yards on the ground.
Lee Continues to be a Threat for the Aggies
Coming into the season, Todd Lee had caught just 34 passes for 315 yards and a touchdown. This season, Lee has caught 16 passes for 213 yards and a team leading three touchdowns.
Against LA Tech this past weekend, Lee caught three passes for a career-high 73 yards and a career-long touchdown catch for 30 yards. Over the last three games, Lee has seven catches for 117 yards and two touchdowns.
For his career, Lee has recorded 50 receptions for 528 yards and four touchdowns.
Boyblue finds the End Zone
Down 24-10 early in the third quarter, linebacker Boyblue Aoelua intercepted his first career pass. But it didn't stop there as Aoelua returned that interception 41 yards for his first career touchdown and the Aggies' first defensive touchdown of the 2010 season.
It marks the second straight year that NM State had scored a defensive touchdown against LA Tech. In 2009, Davon House returned a fumble for a touchdown in Ruston.
On the season, Aoelua is second on the team in tackles with 67, while recording six tackles for a loss of six yards, a pass break up, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery to go along with his interception and touchdown.
For his career, Aoelua has 75 tackles, two fumble recoveries; two pass break ups, an interception and a forced fumble.
Manley Impressive in Second Start
In his second career start for the Aggies, freshman Andrew Manley recorded career highs in passing yards (216), attempts (40), completions (20) and rushing yards (27). He also threw his first-career touchdown - a 30-yard strike to Todd Lee in the second quarter against LA Tech. Manley was also 6-for-6 passing on that scoring drive.
On the season, Manley has thrown for 249 yards on 24-of-47 passing and two interceptions. He has completed 51.1 percent of his pass attempts.
Nelson Making the Most of his Final Season with NM State
Tight end Kyle Nelson has been a steady target for the NM State quarterback position this season. Nelson has caught at least one pass in all 10 games this season, and at least three receptions in six games this year. Over the last four games, Nelson has 13 receptions for 153 yards and a touchdown.
Against LA Tech this past weekend, Nelson recorded a season-high six passes for 47 yards. On the season, Nelson has 32 receptions for 285 yards.
For his career, Nelson has 57 catches for 473 yards and two touchdowns.
Stampler on a Roll
Tyler Stampler hit field goals of 31 and 26 yards against LA Tech this past weekend. He has now hit seven straight.
He hit two 40-plus yard field goals against Utah State, hitting a career-long of 48 yards late in the fourth quarter after breaking his career long record earlier in the game with a 46-yard make. He went 3-for-3 on field goal attempts for the Aggies in their 29-27 win over San Jose State. He made field goals of 42, 25 and 43 yards. He has now hit five field goals of 39 yards or more this season.
Stampler was named WAC Special Teams Player of the Week for the second time this season and Place Kicker Performer of the Week by CollegeFootballPerformance.com for his performance against San Jose State.
On the season, Stampler is 13-of-15 on field goal attempts to lead the WAC in percentage this season and 15-of-16 on PAT's, hitting 11 straight PAT's and 11 of his last 12 field goal attempts. He also leads the team in scoring with 54 points on the year.
Rushing the Ball is a Team Effort
The Aggie offense is spreading the ball around this season on the ground. NM State has 1,381 yards rushing and six touchdowns this season with 14 different Aggies with at least one rushing attempt. At this point last season, the Aggies had 13 players with at least one rushing attempt but had 1,378 yards on the ground and eight touchdowns.
Kenny Turner leads the rushing attack with 105 carries for 409 yards and two touchdowns, while fellow running back Seth Smith has 349 yards on the ground and two touchdowns as well. Sophomore Robert Clay added the Aggies' first 100-yard rushing game against LA Tech. Clay is fourth on the team with 152 yards this season. Eight of the 14 players with a rushing attempt are not running backs.
Allen Leads Receiving Corps
Wide receiver Marcus Allen has caught 15 passes for 184 yards over the last three games for the Aggies, nabbing five passes a game for 61.3 yards a contest.
This past weekend, Allen tied a season high of seven passes for 80 yards against LA Tech.
Allen caught four passes for 114 yards, a career high in the season opener against San Diego State. He also tallied a career-long touchdown catch of 58 yards in the third quarter of the game.
He followed that performance with five catches for 65 yards against UTEP and again led the Aggies versus Kansas, catching five passes for 89 yards and a touchdown. He also rushed for 45 yards on four carries. He added three more catches for 46 yards against No. 3 Boise State.
On the season, Allen has caught 35 passes for 535 yards and two touchdowns.
For his career, Allen has now caught 61 passes for 843 yards and four touchdowns, averaging 13.8 yards per catch and 40.1 yards per game.
Rogers Ranks First as a Return Specialist
Just 10 games into the season, junior wide receiver/kick returner Taveon Rogers now ranks first all-time in kick return yardage in a season and is first all-time for number of returns in a season.
Rogers is averaging 26.6 yards per kick return this season on 42 returns for the Aggies. He currently ranks second in the WAC and 26th in the nation. His long for the year is 54 yards versus Kansas.
Rogers recorded six kickoff returns against Kansas, totaling 219 yards - a new school record for the Aggies. His six returns tied a school record for the most kickoff returns in a game. Rogers had three returns of 40-plus yards, including a career-long of 54 yards. His 219 yards broke Tony Lukins' record from 2001 (189 yards).
He would tie his own record against No. 3 Boise State with six kickoff returns for 136 yards. On the season, Rogers leads the team in all-purpose yards with 1,321. He is seventh in the WAC in all-purpose yards and 36th in the nation.
The Aggies' primary kick returner has averaged at least 20 yards per return for 13 consecutive seasons.
Freshmen with Time
The Aggies have relied heavily on incoming freshmen this season. In fact, the Aggies have played nine true freshmen this season, starting seven of them over 10 games. The Aggies rank 24th in the nation among schools with the most-true freshmen played.
Quarterback Andrew Manley, defensive backs Darien Johnson and George Callender, offensive lineman Davonte Wallace and defensive lineman Augafa Vaaulu have all made starts for NM State this season.
Other true freshmen with playing time include linebacker Anthony Joyner, Dylan Davis and wide receiver Jerrel Brown.
Rogers, Allen, House and Coleman Named to Phil Steele Midseason All-WAC Team
Phil Steele has released his Midseason all‑WAC Team. Phil Steele's College Football Preview is one of the nation's most informative preseason football magazines and has always released Preseason, Midseason and Postseason All-American teams as well as All-Conference teams.
Kick returner Taveon Rogers was named to the first team, while wide receiver Marcus Allen, cornerback Davon House and safety Donyae Coleman earned third team honors.
Niumatalolo Named to the ESPN Academic All-District VI First Team
New Mexico State junior defensive lineman David Niumatalolo was named to the ESPN Academic All-District VI first team, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
Niumatalolo, a member of the Aggie football team, now qualifies for the All-America honor, which will be released later this month. A native of Kahuku, Hawai'i, Niumatalolo has a 4.0 G.P.A. in biology.
This season, Niumatalolo has played in 10 games for the Aggies recording 19 tackles, four tackles for a loss of five yards, a quarterback hurry and a fumble recovery.
House Invited to the 2011 Senior Bowl
Senior defensive back Davon House has been invited to participate in the 2011 Senior Bowl, in Mobile, Ala. The event is scheduled for Jan. 29, 2011 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium and will be televised on the NFL Network.
House becomes the fifth player in school history to be named to the Senior Bowl. Other Aggies to have played in the Senior Bowl are Jim Bohl ('67), Jim Germany ('75), Walt Williams ('77) and Andre Anderson ('78).
House was a preseason Jim Thorpe Award candidate after a superb junior campaign. In 2010 House has tallied 50 tackles, an interception, a forced fumble and a team-leading eight pass break-ups. He ranks fifth in the WAC and 57th in the country in passes defended.
The Senior Bowl is the nation's most unique football game and a premier pre-draft event, annually featuring the country's best senior collegiate football stars and top NFL draft prospects on teams representing the North and South, which are coached by the entire coaching staffs from two NFL teams.
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 seven of the season.
Aundre McGaskey leads the team with 66 knockdowns, while the offensive line has given up just 10 sacks in 10 games, which is third in the WAC.