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Idaho vs. New Mexico State: Preview, Start Time, TV, Radio, Prediction

Two former WAC and current Sun Belt rivals will play each other for the final time Saturday, possibly both with backup quarterbacks.

Idaho Vandals v Oregon Ducks
Idaho will play in their second to last FBS game this Saturday against NMSU.
Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

Date: Saturday, November 25

Kickoff: 2 p.m. MT

Location: Aggie Memorial Stadium, Las Cruces, New Mexico

TV: ESPN3

Radio: 99.5 KXPZ or any other station on the Aggie Radio Network

Betting Odds: The New Mexico State Aggies are favored by eight.

Series History: The Vandals lead the all time series 16-7, winning last year 55-23.


Idaho Preview

The Idaho Vandals enter Saturday’s game 3-7 overall and 2-4 in the Sun Belt after losing to Coastal Carolina 13-7 last week.

The Vandals played most of the game without their star quarterback Matt Linehan, who was injured the prior week. Mason Petrino filled in for him and finished 18-26 for 177 yards, with one touchdown and one interception.

NCAA Football: Idaho at Missouri
Petrino (4) has played both quarterback and wide receiver this season and will make his second start Saturday.
Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Petrino is usually a wide receiver but also plays quarterback and is very mobile. That doesn’t look too good for an NMSU defense that has given up 221 yards per game rushing the past two weeks and is 10th in the SBC in rushing defense.

What’s worse is that Idaho has the SBC’s leading rusher, Aaron Duckworth who has 873 yards this season.

The name you really need to know about is Kaden Elliss. The junior linebacker has 47 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, five sacks and two forced fumbles. He combines with Tony Lashley, who is nine tackles from 100 total stops, to create a dangerous linebacking corps.

NCAA Football: Idaho at UNLV
Kaden Elliss is one of the nation’s best two way players and will certainly make an impact on both sides of the ball for the Vandals
Joshua Dahl-USA TODAY Sports

Elliss also lines up as a fullback and tight end and is dangerous in both roles (four catches, 101 yards, two touchdowns).

NMSU Preview

"I feel like we are in the playoffs right now. I can say it's the biggest game of my life considering what we are playing for. No doubt changing the program is what I came here to do."

Well said Ron LaForce.

New Mexico State comes into Saturday fighting for bowl eligibility and possibly ending the longest bowl drought in the FBS at 57 years.

Normally, the Aggies would be able to rely on their 4th nationally ranked passing attack to carry the load but starting quarterback Tyler Rogers is injured.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Texas A&M
Nick Jeanty will start for an injured Tyler Rogers. Can he lead the Aggies to their 5th win?
Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports

Starting in his place will be Nick Jeanty who has looked both good and bad this season. Last week, he threw three interceptions that led to the Aggies losing to the Cajuns.

Larry Rose III might have to carry the offense but that’s ok to me with what he has said about his focus coming into the game.

The defense will need to correct some tackling mistakes and shore up against the run if the Aggies are to get win number five. They will be without starting linebacker Javahn Fergurson and Malik Demby due to targeting, so that will be no easy task.

Hopefully they can force Petrino into turning the ball over and add to their 19 turnovers forced (37th in the nation).

Prediction

The Aggies and Vandals will play close through two quarter but New Mexico State will adjust and force Petrino into a turnover late in the game to secure their 5th win, the most since 2004.

NMSU 35, Idaho 31