NM State to face First SEC School since 2007
Courtesy: New Mexico State University  
Release:  10/31/2011

        The New Mexico State Football team (3-5, 1-3) jumps out of conference play this coming week to face SEC power No. 18 Georgia (6-2, 5-1) in Athens, Ga. Game time is set for 10:30 a.m. (MT). This will be the fourth meeting between the two schools.

        The game will be televised on CSS TV. This will be just the second time CSS TV will broadcast a Georgia game live. Play-by-play man Matt Stewart, color analyst Chris Doering and sideline reporter Maria Taylor will bring you all the action from the booth.

        You can listen to all the action with the 'Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon and color analyst Jason Scott beginning at noon on KRGT 104 FM. Also catch the game in Spanish with Martin Cortez and Bob Sherman on Vista 98.7 FM.

NM State-Georgia Series

        The Aggies and Bulldogs have locked up three times prior to Saturday's game. The first was back in 1995 under then head coach Tony Samuel. The Aggies fell to Georgia 40-13. Samuel would again take his team to Athens, Ga., in 2000, but the Aggies were blanked 37-0.

        The last match-up between the two schools was back in 2002, also under the Samuel tenure. The Aggies fell 41-10 despite being tied with the Bulldogs 7-7 after the first quarter. Georgia then scored 27 unanswered points in the second to take a 34-7 lead into the locker room. NM State held Georgia to just seven points in the second half, including a scoreless third.  


NM State against the SEC

        Since 1977 the Aggies have faced a team from the current SEC (Southeastern Conference) 13 times. NM State is 0-13 against SEC schools. The first game against an SEC team came in 1977 versus Arkansas when the Aggies fell to the Hogs 53-10. The last SEC team NM State has faced was Auburn in 2007, dropping the game 55-20 in front of almost 77,000 fans in Auburn, Ala. The Aggies were down 21-20 at halftime before allowing 34 points in the second half.

        The Aggies' closest game against an SEC team came in 2002, when the Aggies played South Carolina to a 34-24 decision. NM State has faced Georgia three times. Other SEC schools NM State has faced include Florida (1994) and LSU (1996).

Scouting Georgia

        The Georgia Bulldogs are 6-2 on the season and 5-1 in SEC play. The Bulldogs lost their first two games of the season but then rattled off six straight victories, including five conference wins. Georgia is 2-1 at Sanford Stadium in 2011.

        As a team, Georgia is averaging 31.2 points a game and 404.0 yards of total offense. The Bulldog defense is allowing 20.4 points a game and just 267.0 yards a game as a defense.

        Quarterback Aaron Murray leads the Bulldogs with 1,822 yards passing and 18 touchdowns, completing 58.2 percent of his pass attempts. Isaiah Crowell anchors the rushing attack with 86.1 yards a game with four touchdowns on the year. Wide receiver Orson Charles has a team high 26 catches for 330 yards and four touchdowns, while and Tavarres King leads the team with five touchdown receptions.

        The Georgia defense is led by Michael Gilliard with 50 tackles, followed by Jarvis Jones with 44 tackles and a team high eight sacks. Bacarri Rambo leads the team with five interceptions.

The Last Time against Georgia

        Damien Gary returned a punt 71 yards for a touchdown and caught a 20-yard scoring pass, leading No. 8 Georgia to a 41-10 victory over New Mexico State.

        David Greene had a pair of touchdown passes, while Musa Smith ran for two more scores as the No. 8 Bulldogs routed an overmatched opponent for the second week in a row.

        New Mexico State, a 28-point underdog, actually jumped ahead 7-0 after intercepting Greene deep in Georgia territory.

        The Bulldogs struggled on their first two possessions, prompting a few boos from the Sanford Stadium crowd.  Gary, who has developed into one of Georgia's most effective weapons, turned things around with the first quarter winding down.

        After cradling a long, high punt at his own 29, Gary picked his way up the right side, got a big block from Ben Watson and broke into the clear for the second touchdown return of his career.  

        Greene, who completed 19 of 34 passes for 207 yards, was a few completions away from having a huge day. Twice, he overthrew Terrence Edwards after the receiver broke into the clear for possible touchdown plays. Also, Watson dropped a pass in the end zone.

        Greene's first pass of the day was tipped at the line by Traydell Bullock and intercepted by Robert Canidate, who brought it back to the Georgia 19. Two plays later, quarterback Paul Dombrowski ran in from 2 to give the Aggies a surprising lead.

        On Georgia's next possession, Greene overthrew Edwards, who was wide open behind the secondary, and Jonathan Kilgo shanked a 13-yard punt, giving New Mexico State another scoring chance.

        But a clipping penalty pushed the Aggies back. They didn't have much success the rest of the day, managing only a late field goal despite holding the ball for more than 40 minutes with their option offense.

        On the first play of the second quarter, Greene hooked up with Gary on a 20-yard scoring play over the middle, putting Georgia ahead for good at 14-7.

        The Bulldogs scored three more touchdowns before halftime for a 34-7 lead. Smith ran 10 yards to the end zone, Greene threw a 10-yard touchdown pass to Edwards and Smith scored again on a 13-yard run.

Rogers Return Man for NM State

        Kick returner Taveon Rogers has broken two school records this season in the kicking game.

        Rogers broke the NM State school record for return yardage in a career against Idaho two weeks ago with 171 yards on four returns. Rogers' 14-yard return in the third quarter gave him the record, which now stands at 2,152 yards for his career, breaking Ron 'Po' James' record which stood for 40 years (1971). Rogers was tied James' record of returns in a career after the Hawai'i game but with a career-high seven returns against Nevada, Rogers smashed the long-standing record and now has returned 79 kickoffs in just two seasons.

        His 100-yard kick return for a touchdown against Idaho gave him two touchdown returns for his career and on the season which ties him with four other Aggies who accomplished the feat.

        For his career, Rogers has 79 returns for 2,152 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 27.2 yards a return. This season, Rogers has returned 27 kickoffs for 742 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 29.9 yards a return. Both the returns and yardage are in the top-10 for single season marks at NM State.

Safe Bet with Bradley

        Senior safety Ben Bradley recorded a career-high 12 tackles against Nevada. He also tallied a pass break-up. This was Bradley's first double-digit tackle performance of his career. On the season, Bradley is second on the team with 59 tackles, two tackles for a loss, three pass break-ups and an interception.

        For his career, Bradley has 64 tackles.

Quiet-LEE getting it Done

        Wide Receiver Todd Lee has so far had a very productive senior season but a very quiet season at the same time. Lee has caught 25 passes on the season for 437 yards and three touchdowns. His total receiving yards and touchdown receptions are second on the team, while his 17.5 yards per catch ranks him third.

        Against Nevada, Lee caught three passes for 50 yards, including a 36-yard touchdown reception. Six times this season, Lee has over 50 yards receiving in a game.

        For his career, Lee has 83 receptions for 1,032 yards and seven touchdown receptions.

Niumatalolo: One Tough End

        Defensive end David Niumatalolo has made the best of his senior season. He currently leads the Aggies in sacks with 6.5, ranking him third in the league and 13th in the nation. Niumatalolo has 46 tackles on the year, 9.5 tackles for a loss, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble.

        For his career, Niumatalolo has 129 tackles, eight sacks, 15.5 tackles for a loss, two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and a blocked field goal attempt.

Christian Fights the Pain to have Career Night

        Quarterback Matt Christian threw for a career-high 432 yards and three touchdowns against Nevada this past weekend. Christian was 20-of-44 with three interceptions, completing four passes of 35 yards or more in the game. It was the first time an Aggie quarterback has passed for over 400 yards since Chase Holbrook vs. LA Tech, 11/22/08 (486).

        Versus the Hawai'i, Christian had 224 yards passing on 18-of-34 and two touchdowns.

        Christian had a career night for the Aggies in their in-state rivalry game against New Mexico, throwing for a career-high 296 yards and four touchdowns, while rushing for a career-high 101 yards and a score. He was named WAC Offensive Player of the Week for his efforts as well as College Sports Madness WAC Offensive Player of the Week, Rivals.com WAC Conference Player of the Week and College Football Performance Awards named him an Honorable Mention Quarterback of the Week. It was the first time since the 2003 season that an Aggie quarterback has rushed and thrown for over 100-yards each in a single game.

        Christian made his first start under center for the Aggies against San Jose State. Christian threw for a career-high 238 yards on 17-of-28 passing and a touchdown. He also rushed for 58 yards and a touchdown.

        This season, Christian has 1,292 yards passing and 11 touchdowns, while rushing for 216 yards and four touchdowns.

        Last year, Christian started at quarterback in eight games for the Aggies in 2010, missing four games due to injury.  On the year, Christian led the Aggies in passing with 1,372 yards, including eight touchdowns. Christian was also fourth on the team in rushing with 218 yards and two touchdowns. He also led the Aggies in total offense on the year, averaging 198.8 yards per game.

        For his career, Christian has thrown for 2,664 yards and 19 touchdowns, while rushing for 434 yards and six scores.

Rogers has Career Night Catchin' the Ball

        It was a career night for wide receiver Taveon Rogers against Nevada this past weekend. Rogers tallied a career-high in receptions and yards. Rogers caught seven passes for 203 yards and two touchdowns. It was the first time an Aggie wide receiver has recorded over 200 yards receiving since Chris Williams did it during the 2008 against Hawai'i (221).

        Rogers has three games this season with two touchdown receptions and has accomplished this feat over the last two weeks. His 203 yards receiving, ranks as the fifth highest receiving yards in a game in Aggie history.

        On the season, Rogers has 32 catches for 669 yards and a team leading eight touchdowns. He is averaging 200.1 all-purpose yards a game which ranks him first in the WAC and second in the nation. He also ranks in the top-5 in receiving yards per game (95.6) and is first in kick return average.

Turner has Four Straight

        Running back Kenny Turner took over the running back duties against San Jose State. Turner rushed for a career-high 129 yards on 17 carries, including a 78-yard touchdown run. Turner also caught three passes for 19 yards and his first career touchdown reception. Turner recorded his second 100-yard rushing performance against New Mexico with 109 yards on 24 carries and a touchdown. Turner gained a career-high 171 yards on 29 carries and a touchdown against Idaho. He added his fourth straight 100-yard game against Hawai'i with a 119 on 17 carries and a touchdown.

        Turner became the first player since the 2009 season to have multiple 100-yard rushing games. Seth Smith tallied five 100-yard rushing performances that season. It's the first time since the 2000 season that an Aggie has rushed for four consecutive 100-yards game. Chris Barnes rushed for 233 yards against Tulsa, 126 against Arkansas State and 147 versus Boise State.

        On the season, Turner started the year at wide receiver and took over the running back role after an injury to Robert Clay. Turner has caught 32 passes for 337 yards and a touchdown, averaging 10.0 yards a catch. He has rushed for 593 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 5.3 yards a carry.

        For his career, Turner has rushed for 1,054 yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 58.6 yards a game. He has 57 receptions for 540 yards and two touchdowns.

Bateman Becomes a Favorite for NM State QB's

        Kemonte' Bateman has been a favor target for Aggie quarterbacks over the last several games. Against Idaho, Bateman caught a team-high four receptions for 73 yards and two touchdowns. Versus New Mexico, Bateman had two catches for 41 yards and a touchdown.

        On the season, Bateman has caught 15 passes for 247 yards and three touchdowns, averaging 16.5 yards a catch.

        Bateman was a two-year starter at Pasadena Junior College at the wide receiver position. In 2010, Bateman was fifth on the team in receiving with 18 catches for 253 yards and three touchdowns. He averaged 14.1 yards per catch and 31.6 yards per game. Bateman also returned punts and kickoffs for Pasadena JC, leading the team in punt returns with 18 returns for 118 yards, averaging 11.8 yards per return, scoring one touchdown. He was third on the team in kick returns with 147 yards on nine returns, averaging 16.3 yards per return. As a freshman, Bateman was second on the team in receiving with 37 catches for 522 yards and five touchdowns, averaging 14.1 yards per catch and 58.0 yards per game. On special teams, Bateman returned three kicks for 48 yards, averaging 16 yards per return. He was named a first team Southern California Football Association, Southern Conference selection in 2010.


Creating Turnovers

        The Aggies are currently second in the league in turnover margin at +0.25 per game, which ranks them 43rd in the nation.

        In seven games this season the Aggies have recorded six interceptions as a team. Donyae Coleman leads the team with four, while Boyblue Aoelua and Ben Bradley each recorded one. Through eight games last season, the Aggies had recorded two interceptions. The Aggies have also forced seven fumbles and recovered all of those. In 2010, after eight games the Aggies had five forced fumbles, six recoveries and two interceptions.

        Coleman, Jonte Green, and David Nuimatalolo have all forced a fumble, while David Mahoney, Coleman and Aoelua have been credited with fumble recoveries.

Coleman's Career Game Matches 2010 Mark

        Senior Safely Donyae Coleman recorded a career-high 24 tackles against Nevada. He becomes the first defender to record 20+ tackles since Derrick Richardson at UTEP on 9/20/08 (21). Coleman now has six double-digit tackle games this season and nine for his career. His 24 tackles were just two short of the school record of 26 in a single game.

        In the season opener against Ohio, Coleman led the Aggies with 14 tackles. He also grabbed his first career interception and his first career fumble recovery. Versus Minnesota, Coleman had five tackles. Against UTEP, Coleman grabbed his second interception of the season and his second double-digit tackle performance with 10. Coleman continued to rack up the tackles with 10 against San Jose State. Coleman then recorded his third interception of the season against in-state rival New Mexico and tallied 10 tackles for his fourth double-digit tackle performance of the season. Against Idaho, Coleman had 11 tackles, an interception, a fumble recovery, a forced fumble and a pass break-up.

        Last season, Coleman had three double-digit tackle games, while leading the team in tackles with 92.

        For his career, Coleman has 191 tackles, three and a half tackles for a loss, 13 pass break-ups, three fumble recoveries, three forced fumbles, a sack and four interceptions.

        He currently ranks first in the WAC in interceptions and seventh in the nation. He is second in the WAC in tackles per game with 11.5 and eighth in the nation. He also ranks in the top-20 in forced fumbles in the nation.

Several Aggies make Phil Steele's Midseason All-WAC List

        Seven Aggies were recently named to the Phil Steele 2011 Midseason All-WAC team. Defensive end David Niumatalolo, safety Donyae Coleman and wide receiver/kick returner Taveon Rogers all made the first team list, while Rogers was named a second team wide receiver, along with defensive back Jonte Green. Running back Kenny Turner, wide receiver Todd Lee and offensive tackle Davonte Wallace were named to the third team list.

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.

        Center Mike Grady led the team with eight knockdowns each against Nevada.

Rogers Added to Biletnikoff Watch List

        New Mexico State wide receiver Taveon Rogers has been added to the 2011 Biletnikoff Watch List. The award is named for Fred Biletnikoff, the Florida State University All-America receiver and a Pro-Football Hall of Famer. The award has been given out for the past 16 years.

        The recipient of the 2011 Biletnikoff Award will be announced live on ESPN on The Home Depot College Football Awards on Thursday, December 8th. The Biletnikoff Award Presentation Banquet will be held at the University Center Club at Florida State University in Tallahassee, Florida, on Saturday, February 11, 2012.

House, Smith and Nelson Get a Shot in the NFL

        The Aggies currently have three players from the 2010 squad playing in the NFL. Defensive back Davon House 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. Running back Seth Smith and tight end/long snapper Kyle Nelson were each picked up as free agents, as Smith went to the San Francisco 49ers and Nelson to the New Orleans Saints.

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