UTEP-New Mexico State
Start Time: 8:00 P.M. ET, Saturday, Sept. 19
Location: Aggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, New Mexico
Radio: New Mexico State: here. UTEP: KOFX 92.3 FM/ESPN Deportes 1650 AM
Records: UTEP 0-2, New Mexico State 0-2. UTEP leads the overall series 55-35-2.
Live Stats: here.
Betting Line: New Mexico State +2.5. Over/Under: 61.
New Mexico State Outlook: The 2015 season could not have started much worse this season than in back to back defeats to Florida and Georgia State.
The New Mexico State Aggies showed much more life in the passing game versus Georgia State and are putting up 286.5 yards per game in the air, but only 6.9 yards per pass attempt. Quarterback Tyler Rogers (45-82/573/4TD) has been solid, throwing to eight different players this season, though Tyrain Taylor (12/225/2TD) and Teldrick Morgan (8/90/1TD) have been the go to receivers. The running game is a bit of a joke with only 156 yards, and Larry Rose III (30/133/2TD) is averaging 4.4 yards per carry with all but 16 of the team's rushing attempts.
The numbers are disturbing for the Aggies on defense after the first two games of the season. Opponents have put up 1,188 total yards and 7.1 yards per play, including 9.4 yards per pass and 4.9 yards per rush. The Aggies are giving up significant yards on nearly every play and creating second-and-shorts on nearly every possession, plus a touchdown pass every ten pass attempts. Jaden Wright (18 tkl), Rodney Butler (16 tkl, 2 tfl, 1 sack) Terrill Hanks (14 tkl, 1 tfl, 1 sack), and Lewis Hill (14 tkl) lead the team in tackles. Nine total Aggies defenders have 10+ tackles on the season.
EDITORS NOTE: WHOA WHOA WHOA. WE FORGOT TO INCLUDE THE DAMN RULES FOR THIS WEEK'S NMSU DRINKING GAME!!!
GENERAL RULES: Since Casa de Autos appears to have retired their Aggievision advertising, we focus instead on NMSU's defense finishing dead last in FBS last season with a whopping five sacks.
- Every time you hear "Eggies," take a sip, but only a tiny sip.
- If an opposing player's name is pronounced incorrectly, take a drink.
- If a vague comment is passed off for analysis by the color guy, take a big drink.
- When down and distance gets stuck on the wrong numbers for more than one play, take a shot.
- When the announcers accidentally say that NMSU has a winning record, take a shot.
- When the announcers completely miss an obvious penalty call and go silent with dumbfounded confusion for 10 seconds, take two shots.
- Any time a crowd shot includes a person with a neck tattoo, drink twice. If multiple people in the shot have a neck tattoo, finish your drink.
- Any time an Aggie records a sack, you drink from the time the quarterback hits the turf to the time the sack celebration ends.
Then, of course, our team-specific rules for the poor, poor Texas El=Paso Miners.
- In honor of Mike Price, any time an announcer makes a reference that could double as something you might overhear in a strip club, take drink.
- Any time a reference is made to Juarez, Mexico, take a shot.
- THE GAME ENDER: every time the announcers reference Aaron Jones (his absence, injury, etc), finish your drink.
UTEP Outlook: The opening two weeks of the season have been nothing short of disaster for the UTEP Miners with back to back blowout losses, as well as the loss of star running back Aaron Jones (32/209/1TD) for the season.
Jones was the star of an offense that could only scrounge up 618 yards in the first two weeks. Without Jones, the Miners will rely upon backs Darrin Laufasa (3/18/0TD), Jeremiah Laufasa (9/16/0TD), and Treyvon Hughes (7/-3/0TD) as well as wide receivers, waterboys, and maybe even random fans to try to duplicate Jones' production. For a team designed to run the ball, the passing game has not been horrendous, as Mack Leftwich (23-36/284/1TD) has given the Miners solid minutes behind center. Jones' loss also hurts the passing game as he was the team's leading receiver. Hayden Plinke (5/100/0TD) and Autrey Golden (2/10/0TD) will need to step up.
As many struggles as the Miners offense has faced this season, the defense might be worse. The defense has given up 1164 total yards on 9.2 yards per play and 117 points already. On 64 carries by Arkansas and Texas Tech, the offense scored a touchdown every 9 carries, plus another touchdown every 4.6 pass completions. Opposing offenses have scored on 11.9% of their plays versus UTEP this fall. Dashone Smith (11 tkl, 1 tfl) is the team leader in tackles.
Prediction: This could be one of the more intriguing games of the weekend as UTEP has to prove they can survive life without Aaron Jones. New Mexico State needs to prove that they can slow down anyone on offense. Expect UTEP to stick to the game plan that got them in a bowl last season, run the football as much as possible. Without a breakout player like Jones in the backfield for the Miners, expect this game to be much closer than last season. UTEP wins by less than seven points.