The NM State football team (0-4) welcomes the San Diego State Aztecs (0-3) to Las Cruces this weekend, Saturday, Sept. 28, beginning at 6 p.m. (MT) at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
The Aggies and Aztecs last met in 2010, with San Diego State winning the game, 41-21. The series between the two schools is led by the Aztecs at 8-1-1.
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, CW-El Paso, Altitude, FS-Arizona Plus and KASY-Albuquerque. The game will be broadcast tape delayed on CSN-Houston (9/29).
NM State versus San Diego State, Series History
The series between the Aggies and Aztecs dates back to 1936. The game was played in Las Cruces and finished in a tie, 7-7. The Aztecs lead the all-time series with NM State, 8-1-1, while the Aggies only win coming in 1955, a 26-6 win in Las Cruces.
Only three of the nine games in the series have been played in Las Cruces, as the Aggies hold a 1-1-1 record in those games. NM State is 0-7 against San Diego State in games played in San Diego. All the games in the series have been decided by 20 points or more with the exception of the 7-7 tie in 1936 and the 34-17 decision in 2009.
The Aztecs currently hold a six-game winning streak over NM State. Saturday’s game is also the second meeting between the two schools in the month of September. The Aggies and Aztecs have met six times in October and three times in November.
Scouting the Aztecs
The 2013 edition of the San Diego State Aztecs football team has faced a tough non-conference schedule with games against Ohio State, Eastern Illinois, Oregon State and New Mexico State, not to mention away games in conference against Hawai’i, Air Force, UNLV and San Jose State. The Aztecs stand at 0-3 coming into their game with NM State.
The Aztecs’ are racking up 348.3 yards of total offense per game in their first three contests. San Diego State also scored seven times in the red-zone. The Aztecs’ defense has given up 451.7 yards of total offense per game, while allowing their opponents to convert on 44% of their third down conversions.
Individually, the Aztecs are led by quarterbacks Quinn Kaehler and Adam Dingwell. Dingwell has thrown for 318 passing yards and no touchdown passes, while Kaehler has recorded 467 yards passing and three scores. Adam Muema leads the running backs with 93 yards on the ground, averaging 2.3 yards per carry, Colin Lockett leads the team in receiving 19 catches for 269 yards and one touchdown.
Defensively, Nat Berhe leads the defense with 22 tackles, followed by King Holder with 19.
NM State against Mountain West Schools
This will be the Aggies’ first game against a school from the Mountain West Conference this year, as the Aggies will face off against New Mexico on Oct. 5. The Aggies all-time record against schools from the Mountain West Conference is 37-93-6, having played San Diego State, New Mexico, Wyoming, Colorado State and UNLV.
NM State has never faced TCU, Air Force, or Utah. The last time an Aggie team played two current Mountain West Conference opponents in the same season was 2010. Before that it was 1999, when NM State faced New Mexico and Colorado State.
Coach to Cure MD
The NMSU and SDSU coaching staffs will be wearing Coach to Cure MD patches this week to raise awareness and funding for Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy research. Fans are encouraged to donate online at www.CoachtoCureMD.org or donate $5 by texting CURE to 90999.
Betancourt in his First Start
In his first career start in the Crimson and White, running back Brandon Betancourt rushed for 95 yards on 18 carries, scoring on a 4-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. It was Betancourt’s second rushing touchdown of the season.
So far this year, Betancourt has rushed for 132 yards, averaging 3.6 yards per carry. For his career, he has racked up 156 yards on the ground and two scores.
Barnard Sacks the QB
This season first year starting linebacker Clint Barnard has made the most of his starting opportunity. Barnard has record a season of firsts so far including his first interception against Texas, his first 20 tackles game versus UTEP and his first career sack against No. 13 UCLA this past weekend.
On the year, this former walk-on has tallied 40 tackles, which is second on the team, two tackles for a loss, an interception and a sack.
Turnovers in 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 four games of the season, recording nine in all, with six interceptions and three 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 one in the turnover margin category with six lost fumbles and three interceptions. The Aggies are 10th in the country in passes intercepted.
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 in their first four games of the season. To date, the Aggies have recorded 18 tackles for a loss, including five sacks.
In 2012, the Aggies 15 tackles of a loss and five sacks thru four games.
Linebacker Trashaun Nixon ranks first on the team with 5.5 tackles for a loss and 39th in the nation.
Bowen Leads the Wide Receiver Group
Wide receiver Joshua Bowen leads the team in receptions and receiving yards this season thru four games. Bowen has caught 18 passes for 177 yards and a score, averaging 9.8 yards per receptions.
Bowen has recorded at least two receptions per contest with highs of eight receptions for 83 yards against then No. 15 Texas.
A Night to Remember for Cazares
In front of family and friends, safety Davis Cazares had a career night against No. 13 UCLA, marking two different career firsts.
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. The double-digit tackle effort was his third of the season, and ninth of his career.
On the season, Cazares has a team lead 48 tackles, a tackles for a loss, two interceptions and a fumble recovery. For his career, Davis has 184 tackles. He ranks fourth in the nation in total tackles and fifth in solo tackles.
Shapiro Catches Career First
Wide receiver Adam Shapiro has been a utility man for the Aggies this season. He has caught five passes for 75 yards and a score, while returning 17 kicks for 336 yards, averaging 19.8 yards a return.
Against UCLA, Shapiro recorded his first career touchdown reception, a 33-yard pass from quarterback Andrew McDonald.
Cazares named FBS Independent Defensive Player of the Week
New Mexico State safety Davis Cazares has been named FBS Independent Defensive Player of the Week, for games played through Saturday, Sept. 21. Cazares is honored for the first time in his career. A senior from Monrovia, Calif., 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.
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 40 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.
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 Encouraged to join the ‘Aggie Walk’
This season the New Mexico State football team, along with the Pride Marching Band, NM State Cheerleaders and Sundancers 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 p.m. 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 p.m. outside the football field house. These times are set to coordinate with a 6:00 p.m. 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. 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.
On the season, Chapman-Brown is averaging 42.2 yards a punt, ranking him 35th in the nation and second among Independent football schools.
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. He followed that with five knockdowns against Minnesota.
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 three of the season:
Center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke led the Aggies with five knockdowns against UCLA. The offensive line has allowed just three sacks this entire season.
House, Green, Rogers 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.
Aggies on TwitterThe Aggie Athletics department has a Twitter account where media and fans can get all your in-game scores at www.twitter.com/nmstateaggies.