This Is New Mexico State's Bowl Game

New Mexico State's football team hopes to catch the Broncos napping Saturday afternoon. Winless this season, they will try to accomplish what no one has been able to do since Washington State won at Bronco Stadium back in September of 2001. Despite their record, the Aggies have talent, as the following preview shows.



New Mexico State entered its first season in the Western Athletic Conference with high hopes. Several media experts had them pegged for the upper half of the league standings, but they have yet to win a game. What better opportunity than this weekend, playing the 30th-ranked Boise State Broncos?

After all, Boise State was a huge favorite last year against San Jose State, Tulsa and BYU but needed last-minute heroics and miracles to win. They also were supposed to win big against Portland State and had to muster a late drive to win. Make no mistake about it, a win tomorrow against the Broncos would give the players of New Mexico State at least as big a thrill as any of the teams that win bowl games this December, if not more of one. This group of Bronco players has not played well against heavy underdogs, which is very much a concern among Bronco fans who know that you can't simply turn the faucet on and off when you want to, especially this late in the season. The top teams in the country will be those that consistently play well week after week. Boise State has done that of late, and has another opportunity this weekend to show that they are a different team than the one that started the season. So what can we expect from New Mexico State?

Royal Gill is injured so it appears that Joey Vincent will get the start against the Broncos. Vincent came off the bench to throw for 340 yards and three touchdowns last week against Idaho. He also had a 42-yard run in the game. Vincent is 64 for 122 on the season with 3 TD passes and 7 interceptions. If the Bronco secondary is looking to continue their aggressive play and have a big afternoon, this is the one to do it.

The Aggies have done a good job of spreading the ball around in their passing attack as 7 players have caught more than 10 passes. Senior Paul Dombrowski (6-0, 206) leads that group with 39 catches for 436 yards and 2 touchdowns. Brandon Allen (24 catches for 267 yards and 4 scores), Derek Dubois (22 for 299 and 4 TD's) and Tim Tolbert (19-251 and 1 TD) are other threats. Tolbert returned to the lineup last week for his first game since the contest with California, catching 4 passes for 68 yards and a touchdown. As you can tell from the yards per catch season statistics, New Mexico State does not have a receiver close to 20 yards per catch. Add in that they'll be going with a substitute at quarterback and the Broncos would be wise to play up close to stop the Aggies' short passing game.  

FB Justine Buries is by far the leading carrier with 621 yards on 132 carries (4.5 average) and 4 touchdowns. He topped the 100-yard mark for the 4th time this season with 100 yards against Idaho. Buries is 3rd in the WAC and 46th in the nation in rushing. In addition, Derek Dubois is dangerous from his "H" back position, gaining 43 yards and a touchdown on just 6 carries.

The offensive line has some size but hasn't been able to get it done this season, as the Aggie runners average just 2.9 yards per carry as opposed to 4.7 for their opponents. The game is won and lost on the line of scrimmage, and New Mexico State has not won that battle at all.

The defense is paced by senior Jimmy Cottrell (6-0, 244) who has been amazing in his career at New Mexico State. He was flying all over the field against Idaho, credited with a career-tying 19 tackles. He now is 3rd on the school's all-time list with 394 career tackles. Cottrell leads the WAC and is 2nd in the nation with 13.75 tackles per game! Cottrell is but one of an oustanding group of linebackers for the Aggies. Junior Tim McManigal made his first start last week and responded with a career-high 12 tackles and one for a loss.

Brandon McKinney (So., 6-3, 240) and Dustin Sober (Sr., 6-2, 215) lead the team in tackles for loss with 8 and 5 respectively.

It's a fine secondary for New Mexico State. Courtney Bryan has only started three games but already leads the team in pass break-ups with 9. Bryan is 2nd in the WAC and 8th in the country with those 9 deflections and 1 interception. Senior Matt Griebel now has 276 tackles, including 89 this year (4th in the WAC and 16th nationally) despite the fact that he broke his left arm during spring practice and suffered a cut to his right arm last week that required 10 stitches.

Brad Evans handles both the punting and kicking duties for Coach Hal Mumme's squad. He's 3rd in the WAC in punting, with a fine 41.6 average. He gets good hang time, as evidenced by the fact that New Mexico State leads the league in net punt average with 39.1 yards per kick. Eight of Evans' kicks have sailed over 50 yards and 9 of his punts have been downed inside the 20.

The talent is there for New Mexico State, and the school is looking for a breakout game against Boise State. They'll be loose and fired up to knock off a giant.






12 Steven Harper (Jr., 5-6, 150)

7 Brandon Allen (So., 6-1, 176)


10 Paul Dombrowski (Sr., 6-0, 206)

33 Derek Dubois (So., 5-8, 171)


75 Kyle Smith (Jr., 6-2, 290)

74 Adam Honaker (So., 6-3, 295)


77 Justin Shopbell (Sr., 6-3, 290)

50 Martinues Albert (Jr., 6-2, 362)


69 Mike Martinez (So., 6-4, 310)

67 Courtney Snowden (Fr., 6-3, 260)


64 Nike Cole (Sr., 6-1, 335)

66 Kevin Cimador (So., 6-4, 305)


71 Alex Gottlieb (So., 6-3, 280)

78 Ray Zielinski (Fr., 6-3, 308)


6 Anthony Lonon (Sr., 6-4, 196)

35 Andrew Mooney (So., 6-3, 230)


84 Tim Tolbert (Jr., 6-2, 180)

5 Jarrod Kaufman (So., 6-1, 176)


4 Joey Vincent (Jr., 6-0, 207) or

11 Royal Gill (Jr., 6-5, 215)


20 Muammar Ali (Jr., 5-8, 169)

47 David Romaka (Jr., 5-10, 215)


34 Justine Buries (So., 6-0, 200)

37 Dawson Wilber (Fr., 5-11, 205)




96 Chase Spicer (Sr., 6-5, 280)

62 Zach Monono (So., 6-3, 270) or

98 Skylar Sargent (So., 6-0, 261)


92 Sam Ford (Sr., 6-3, 295)

90 Jermey Weeks (Jr., 6-1, 265)


91 Jarod Naylor (Jr., 6-2, 280)

46 Maurice Murray (Jr., 6-3, 280)


44 Brandon McKinney (So., 6-3, 240)

13 Dustin Sober (Sr., 6-2, 215)


42 Jimmy Cottrell (Sr., 6-0, 244)

53 Michael Hernishin (Fr., 6-2, 235)


24 John Howell (Sr., 6-1, 240)

8 Tim McManigal (Jr., 6-0, 222)


58 Chris Sneed (Fr., 6-1, 216)

59 Michael Brewer (So., 6-3, 210) or

17 Nathan Nutall (Jr., 6-0, 203)


31 Shukree Shabazz (Sr., 5-9, 186)

15 Spencer Moore (Jr., 5-9, 167)


3 Eric Carrie (Jr., 5-10, 200)

40 Nick Cleaver (So., 6-3, 220)


2 Matt Griebel (Sr., 5-11, 186)

36 Alex Bernard (So., 5-8, 185)


25 Gill Byrd (Jr., 5-9, 166)

27 Courtney Bryan (Jr., 5-11, 195)

Special Teams


48 Brad Evans (Jr., 6-4, 184)


48 Brad Evans (Jr., 6-4, 184)


1 Dan White (So., 6-0, 197)


12 Steven Harper (Jr., 5-6, 150)


12 Steven Harper (Jr., 5-6, 150)

25 Gill Byrd (Jr., 5-9, 166)

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