The New Mexico State football team (1-9) travels to Boca Raton, Fla., to face Florida Atlantic (4-6, 3-4), Nov. 23. Game time is set for 1 p.m. inside FAU Stadium. Saturday’s game will be the second time this season that NM State has faced a team with the nickname ‘Owls.’
This will be the second meeting between the two schools as NM State won the only meeting back in 2004. The Aggies won 35-7.
You can listen to all the action with Jack Nixon and color analyst Preston Williams beginning at noon on KGRT 104 FM. Also catch the action in Spanish with Bob Sherman and Sal Betancourt on Vista 98.7 FM.
Scouting Florida Atlantic
Florida Atlantic enters Saturday’s game at 4-6 overall after a win over Southern Mississippi this past weekend. The Owls are averaging 361.4 yards of total offense per game, while allowing their opponents 352.7yards a contest.
Quarterback Jaquez Johnson leads the Owls with 1,342 yards passing this season, completing 57.7 percent of his passes, while throwing six touchdown passes on the season. Johnson also leads the team in rushing with 629 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Wide receiver Daniel McKinney has a team-high 38 catches, while fellow receiver William Dukes has record 31 catches for a team-leading 458 yards and five touchdowns.
Defensively, the Owls are led by Andrae Kirk with 69 tackles, followed by Adarius Glanton with 63 tackles and eight tackles for a loss.
The Last Time against the Owls
NM State broke its year-long road losing streak and won for the fourth time in five games in dominating Florida Atlantic 35-7 at Lockhart Stadium.
NM State had lost five-consecutive road games dating back to October 25, 2003, before the dominating performance.
FAU came into the game 6-2 with impressive wins on the road against Hawaii, Middle Tennessee and North Texas.
The game was a designated league game for NM State and improved itsconference record to 4-2, tied with Troy for second place in the Sun Belt Conference with one game left to play. The Aggies beat Troy at home earlier in the year 22-18.
NM State’s offense compiled 423 yards while holding Florida Atlantic to just 287.
The 35 points were the most given up by the Owls that year. They came into the game having allowed just 18.4 points per game.
Aggie quarterback Buck Pierce completed 16 of 28 passes for 225 yards and two touchdowns and ran for 42 yards and another score.
The Aggie offense did not turn the ball over while the Aggie defense forced four turnovers, turning them into 21 points. Over the previous three games the Aggies had forced 11 turnovers and turned them into 56 points.
NM State against Schools from Conference USA
The Aggies’ game against Florida Atlantic will be the third team from C-USA that NM State has faced this season. NM State competed with the Rice Owls for the first time on the football field on Oct. 19 and versus UTEP on Sept. 14. NM State has a history with other members of Conference USA. The Aggies played at least one game against eight current C-USA teams including rival UTEP. The Aggies have played 90 games against UTEP in a matchup that started in 1914. They hold an overall record of 56-103-4 against C-USA opponents, including the 2013 meetings with UTEP and Rice.
NM State played four teams from C-USA when they were members of the Sun Belt Conference: Middle Tennessee State, Florida Atlantic, Florida International and North Texas. They also played Louisiana Tech and UTSA when they were members of the Western Athletic Conference.
Franklin in the Record Books
Wide receiver Austin Franklin leads the team in catches (42), receiving yards (548) and touchdown catches (5) in just six games this season. He has recorded three-straight games with over 100 yards receiving. Franklin continues to move up in the Aggies’ record books with each catch.
Currently, Franklin ranks fifth in catches (150), fifth in yards (2,317), fourth in touchdown receptions (17) and third in 100-yard receiving games (11). He also needs just 237 all-purpose yards to move into the top-10 all-time.
On the year, Franklin also has 58 rushing yards and has completed both of his passing attempts for five yards.
McDonald Solid in the Passing Game
Over the past two games, quarterback Andrew McDonald has thrown for over 300 yards passing, including a career-high 384 yards against Boston College. On the season, McDonald has thrown for over 200 yards in a game six times, which ranks 17th all-time in NM State history.
McDonald has also moved up in the Aggies’ all-time total offense category for a season with 2,399 yards, ranking him ninth.
On the year, McDonald has thrown for 2,175 yards and 13 touchdowns, while rushing for 215 yards and three scores.
Nixon in the Backfield
Linebacker Trashaun Nixon has recorded more tackles in the opponent’s backfield this season than anyone else on the team. Against Louisiana, Nixon recorded a career-high two sacks, bringing his total for the year to 2.5. He also tallied seven tackles and a forced fumble. Versus Boston College, Nixon recorded a career-high 14 tackles, a tackle for a loss and a pass break-up.
On the season, Nixon is second on the team in tackles with 76. He has tallied 11 tackles for a loss and two forced fumbles.
For his career, Nixon has 172 tackles, 20.5 tackles for a loss, six pass break-ups, three forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries.
Maxwell Kickin’ It
Place kicker Maxwell Johnson has been on a hot streak as of late. Johnson has made 13-straight extra-point tries and eight-straight field goal attempts, including a career long of 49 yards against Rice.
Johnson currently leads the team in points with 49 and ranks 20th in field goal percentage in the nation.
Colwell a Valuable Weapon
Travaughn Colwell has become a weapon for the Aggie offense this season. The junior utility player saw action at quarterback, running back and wide receiver against Louisiana and Boston College.
Against Louisiana, Colwell completed his only two passing attempts, rushed for a team-high 58 yards and caught one pass, which resulted in his first-career touchdown reception, a 36-yard catch from quarterback Andrew McDonald.
Versus Boston College, Colwell tallied 27 yards rushing and three yards receiving.
For his career, Colwell has over 500 yards passing and over 200 yards rushing, including three touchdown passes and a touchdown reception.
Bonilla’s Career Night
Linebacker Bryan Bonilla recorded a career-high 12 tackles against Boston College, marking his first double-digit tackle game of the season and the sixth of his career.
On the season, Bonilla is fourth on the team in tackles with 60, including six tackles for a loss, two fumble recoveries and a forced fumble.
For his career, Bonilla has 220 total tackles, 12 tackles for a loss and a sack.
Scoring in the Last Three Games
Over the last three games, NM State has scored an average of 34.3 points per game, compared to 16.3 points per game in the first seven games of the season. The Aggies are also averaging 486 yards per game, compared to 354.3 yards per game in the first seven contests.
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 10 of the season:
Tackle Andy Cunningham led the Aggies with eight knockdowns against Boston College. Center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke added seven.
Cazares Named a Burlsworth Trophy Nominee
The Burlsworth Trophy and presenting sponsor, the Springdale (Ark.) Rotary Club, announced that safety Davis Cazares, along with 52 other student-athletes from around the country were selected as nominees for the 2013 Burlsworth Trophy. The 2013 list includes standout players and national statistical leaders from every major conference in the nation.
Cazares currently leads the Aggies in tackles with 85, which ranks him eighth in the nation in total tackles. He also ranks 36th in the country in solo tackles. Cazares has also recorded two tackles for a loss, two interceptions, two pass break-ups, a fumble recovery and a forced fumble on the season. In 2012, Cazares tallied 116 tackles, ranking 27th in the nation, earning him second team All-WAC honors.
The Burlsworth Trophy is given to the most outstanding collegiate football player who began his career as a walk-on. A walk-on is defined as a player who began his first season of participation with a Division I (FBS) football program without financial aid of any kind from his university’s athletic department.
Chapman-Brown named FBS Independent Special Teams Player of the Week
New Mexico State punter Cayle Chapman-Brown was named FBS Independent Special Teams Players of the Week, for games played through Saturday, Nov. 9. This was Chapman-Brown’s first-time honorees.
A senior from Sydney, Australia, Chapman-Brown punted seven times for a 51.9-yard average, with a long kick of 58 yards, in New Mexico State’s 48-34 home loss to Boston College. Four of Chapman-Brown’s punts were downed inside the BC 20-yard line, with three of his kicks pinning the Eagles inside their 15-yard line.
The FBS Independent Players of the Week are selected by members of a nationwide media panel, which includes equal representation from each of the independent institutions’ coverage markets.
Chapman-Brown was a Ray Guy Award Watch List honoree to start the 2013 season. On the season, Chapman-Brown is averaging 43.5 yards a punt, ranking him 19th in the nation and second among Independent football schools.
Barnard Named Academic All-District
New Mexico State junior linebacker Clint Barnard was named to the 2013 Capital One Academic All-District VII first team as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).
As a result of his first-team all-district selection, Barnard will now be placed on the ballot for the Capital One Academic All-America team. The team will consist of first, second and third-team All-America honorees and will be selected later on this month.
Barnard, a former walk-on from Melrose, N.M., has started seven games for the Aggies this season at middle linebacker. Currently, Barnard is second on the team in tackles with 65, recording 2.5 tackles for a loss, one sack and an interception. Against I-10 rival UTEP, Barnard recorded a career-high 20 tackles, earning the FBS Independent Defensive Player of the Week. This season, Barnard has eight games with at least eight tackles. The bio-chemistry major currently maintains a 3.7 GPA.
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 45 straight games for the Aggies on the offensive line.
Wallace played in 83 plays at Texas, recording four knockdowns and allowed no sacks. He earned a 93 percent assignment rating against Texas. Against Minnesota, Wallace earned three knockdowns and allowed no sacks or pressure on quarterback plays. He had a 98 percent assignment rating with three knockdowns against UTEP, but did allow two pressures on quarterback plays. Wallace struggled against UCLA and gave up two sacks and two pressure plays but did record three knockdowns. He allowed no sacks or pressure on the quarterback against SDSU, while recording four knockdowns. Wallace had 4.5 knockdowns against UNM but allowed 2.5 sacks, then allowed no sacks and tallied five knockdowns against Rice. In the Aggies win over ACU, Wallace had eight knockdowns and allowed one pressure on the quarterback plays. He had a 91percent assignment rating against Louisiana, with seven knockdowns, but allowed one sack.
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.
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.