Game 3: New Mexico St. Aggies at the UTEP Miners (9/18/10)
So, the last time we did this, some Houston Cougar fans took it upon themselves to seize control of our poll and tarnish the integrity of the polling sample. All in good fun I guess and I still think its fun for us. In 2009,the Aggies finished 3-10 in Dewayne Walker's first season as head coach and lost their final 7 games.
Against UTEP, the Miners gunned down the Aggies 38-12 in Las Cruces. Donald Buckram had a typical day for him, finishing with 113 yard and 2 touchdowns on just 14 carries.
As for the Aggies, Jeremy Mauss of the MWC Connection just wrote a stellar preview on them.
A real positive for New Mexico State is running back Seth Smith who ran just over 1,000 yard but only had one touchdown all year. He was able to run behind an experienced and very large offensive line, but this year only two of the five return. However, even with only two returning the Aggies brought in JUCO plyaer Aundre McGaskey who is a beast at 6'6" and 304 pounds. Durring early fall practices McGaskey along side returnee Sioeli Fakalata have been anchoring the line and have been running the ball to that side with great success. While the running game is the strength the passing game is what really needs work. No, they really need work. In 2009 the Aggies were 9th in the WAC in passing yards and118th in the country while only being able to throw for 87 yards a game. Even Air Force who rarely throws the ball passed for more yards then the Aggies.
The Aggies are in the midst of a quarterback battle between last years starter, Jeff Fleming, and JUCO transfer Matt Christian. NMSU hired a new offensive coordinator, Jeff Dunbar, because their offense last season wasn't just bad. It was historically bad.Smith had a big game last season against UTEP when he rushed for 99 yards on just 13 carries.
He finished the season with 1016 yards. Amazingly, despite all those yards, he only found the end zone one time. How's that even possible? Well, the Aggies couldn't score on anyone. The Aggies finished dead last in the nation in scoring and total yardage. Want to know how rare touchdowns were in Las Cruces? Compare these 2009 scoring numbers to UTEP's Donald Buckrarm- by himself.
|Rushing TD's||Receiving TD's||Total|
|Donald Buckram ('09)||18||3||21|
|New Mexico State||10||6||16|
Defensively, we know Dewayne Walker will get things better up 1-10. Last year, the Aggies were ranked 100 out of 120 teams in total defense. The do have studs Davon House and Jonte Green in the backfield but not much else. Veteran linebackers Ross Conner and Jason Scott are gone. In fact, the Aggies lost all three of their starting linebackers, and their best backup Sam King, from last season, so they will be young and inexperienced there. Walker has brought in some JC transfers, namely Frank Padilla and Boyblue Aoelea.
Stats aside, if we've learned anything from the series over the last few years it's that anybody can win a rivalry game. The Miners have a major edge on offense and will need this early September game to finish getting the kinks out on defense. The game will be at the Sun Bowl.
So, who you got?