In The Dig: Mike Price notes that the swelling in Donald Buckram's knee has gone down; Buckram plans to start cutting today; and all the pre-Battle of 1-10 quotes from UTEP's finest.
The UTEP Miners
From the Horse's Mouth
UTEP SID is still releasing interviews from practice. Here's the video:
I took the liberty, for those of you who can't listen at work, of typing out some of the key quotes.
Mike Price on UTEP's depth at safety: "I think we are pretty deep at safety......With the addition of Travaun Nixon who can play that position."
Safety Deshawn Grayson on Braxton Amy: " He taught me well. I have no choice, I love him like a brother so I can't let him down.... We just gotta focus and put it behind us."
Grayson on NMSU's Matt Christian: "He's a good quarterback. He runs the ball and looks tough."
Robert Rodriguez on Braxton Amy: "All the kids just think the world of him. We can't replace Braxton as a person or as a player."
Trevor Vittatoe on the NMSU game: "It kind of helps determine the rest of our season. This game builds a lot of pride in us. We know that every year its a tough battle and it's going to be a good game."
TV on interacting with other NMSU Players nearby: "There are get togethers here or there where everyone sees each other. We've built friendships between players but when it comes to game time, we're not friends."
TV on NMSU's defense: "They're really athletic. Really solid in their secondary. It's their second year in playing this defense and it looks like they've made strides."
The Donald Buckram Watch:
Buckram on his injury: "I'm pretty confident in how my knee feels today. Feels a lot better than it felt Saturday. So I'll hopefully be able to cut on it tomorrow. I'll wait till tomorrow to cut on the grass (practice field)."
Buckram on the NMSU game: "NMSU is the rivalry game of the year. It's a game we can't lose. So, I'm gonna try and do everything to bet back out there and help this team win."
Mike Price had this to say about Donald's condition: "He's going to be running around (at practice today) and we'll see how he is. The swelling has gone down."
On to The Battle of 1-10
The Aggie site, nmstatesports.com, has all the numbers you need on the rivalry.
Historically speaking, the Aggies are better off playing in tight games against their I-10 Miner rivals. In the 87 previous meetings between NM State and UTEP, there have been two ties, 36 games decided by seven points or less and 49 games decided by more than eight points. In games decided by seven points or less, New Mexico State owns a 21-15 record against UTEP. In the 49 games decided by more than seven points, the Aggies are just 14-35.
Teddy Feinberg, of the Las Cruces Sun-News, notes that the Aggies need some consistency.
The first half epitomized the up-and-down nature of the game from NMSU's perspective. A nice start to the contest saw Christian, making his Aggie debut, complete 5-of-9 passes for 95 yards, hitting on separate completions of 25, 22, 21 and 20 yards downfield to three different receivers.
The Prospector's Alex Morales is laments the loss of Braxton.
"It wasn’t in a contact situation, it was just out in the middle of the field," Price said. "He was real emotional and probably still is. It’s a tough pill to swallow for a young guy like that."
Orange You Glad You Aren't an Aggie
Bob Stull has proclaimed this Saturday's game an "Orange Out." So, wear your orange. And help spread the word.
It will be "Orange Out Night," with everyone encouraged to wear your orange to show your support for the Miners. Individual tickets will start as low as $20, but make sure you get to stadium early.
Not Football Related but Noteworthy
Former UTEP basketball star Derrick Caracter gave his first interview as a Laker. The OC Register has the story; it's a good read and Derrick credits histransfer for his new success.
"Transferring was the best thing I did," Caracter said. "I was able to start over, get me a fresh start and begin a new chapter in my life."
The Pirates have scored 100 points in their opening two games for the first time in school history. Only once before have they scored that many in any two game stretch — in 1979, when McNeill was a player. An inexperienced defense also forced three early turnovers that gave the Pirates control against Memphis
Sure, Isabelle set a re cord for single-game rush ing yards by a quarterback in the opener when he rushed for 214. On Saturday, Isabelle had a net of 34 yards and was sacked three times. What resulted from Isa belle not making plays was an offense
"(Nick) really did some things where he showed he's a veteran quarterback coming off the bench with a lot of playing experience," Bailiff said. With McHargue unable to play, Bailiff said Monday he plans to stick with Fanuzzi for Saturday's game against Northwestern at Rice Stadium.
Conference Wide: The C-USA Athletic Site has a Notebook that gives some nice statistical nuggets of info on each C-USA team. Here's what they got on UTEP:
It is the Miners' first setback in a league opener since Sept. 18, 2004 vs. No. 23 Boise State in El Paso, 47-31. Senior Trevor Vittatoe recorded his 13th career 100-yard passing game, completing 30-of-54 passes for 340 yards and three touchdowns. Vittatoe went over 10,000 yards passing in his Miner career, making him the seventh C-USA player to achieve the feat. Senior WR Kris Adams led the receivers with seven catches for 114 yards and a touchdown.