Sometimes stats are overrated in football, but we look at few important ones from the first two weeks of the season that need to be improved upon, or could be keys to UTEP's first win of the still young season.
9.2----That is the average yards per play the UTEP defense has allowed in two games this season, almost a first down per play and the worst average in the nation at the moment. That has to change this week, but NMSU's explosive potential on offense is scary when you look at the (lack of) body of work the UTEP defense has displayed so far this season.
5----Is the number of NMSU receivers who have averaged ten or more yards per catch in the first two games. If you're into rounding numbers up, another wideout Gregory Hogan averages 9.9 yards per reception. The NMSU passing game averages 12.7 yards per catch in the first two games so far this season. This goes hand in hand with the previous number; the Miners can't allow big plays or the same averages if they want to give themselves a chance.
310----Is the average weight of the UTEP starting offensive line, compared to 263.2 pounds of everyone listed on the NMSU two deep defensive line unit. The Miners of course need the run game no matter who is running the ball, and UTEP's offensive line is the key. On the flip side, the Aggies have only had two sacks themselves on defense, each coming from a linebacker. UTEP could have some success in once again controlling the line of scrimmage against the Aggie front seven.
4----The number of sacks NMSU has allowed in 85 pass attempts this season. UTEP's defense has to play behind the NMSU offensive line to help out the secondary in this one. It is imperative that the Miners pile up at least two sacks in this game, although the Aggie offensive line has played tough in the first games of the season.
25%----Is the percentage of NMSU's third down conversions so far. Both Arkansas and Texas Tech went a combined 45% on third down in UTEP's first two games. Just like getting to the quarterback, getting off the field on third downs maybe the most important aspect the UTEP defense has to execute on Saturday.
4.9----NMSU is allowing this per carry so far this year. If UTEP is able to match, or average more, UTEP should be able to keep NMSU's offense off the field. In total the Aggies have allowed 463 rushing yards.
7----NMSU's senior linebacker Rodney Butler has had seven tackles for loss this season. The athletic, and veteran linebacker has to be blocked, and identified on blitzes and basic run plays. He's a game changer, and could posses problems if UTEP doesn't have him accounted for.
12.2----NMSU is allowing this per completion so far this season. If UTEP can get guys out in space or just throw more than a 10-yard pass, I feel the Miners can really expose NMSU with their speed on the outside and make NMSU tackle in open field which their secondary has struggled mightily with this season.
21----The Aggies have allowed an average 21 yards per kickoff this season. Coach Martin expressed concern with his kickoff unit on Tuesday, meaning Autrey Golden could be a factor on kickoffs. Let just hope the Aggies aren't kicking off that much though. How much more in for your face Aggie could it be if Sir Golden ties the record at Aggie Memorial.
69----NMSU running back Larry Rose has 69 yards receiving this season. UTEP has struggled with defending the screen game, and if the right play call is made against a UTEP blitz, the Miners could be chasing Rose down the sideline. Technique, communication, proper blitz fits, and overall open field tackling have to be on point against NMSU's stud in the RB screen game.
-5----Is UTEP's turnover margin on the season. The UTEP defense has yet to record a takeaway, and NMSU has only committed two turnovers all season long, and haven't fumbled at all either. Like in most games, UTEP has to be at least +1 at the minimum to win.
2.11 per gallon---Is the lowest average cost of gas in El Paso right now. Fill up for cheap, buy a $12 general admission ducket and head to the Sun Bowl West to support the Miners.