New Mexico State is eager to prove themselves against the Broncos this Sunday in Las Cruces. This game is very similiar to past contests against UTEP and San Jose State, and a strong effort by the Aggies will catapult the program forward.
Coach Hal Mumme was hired to revitalize the New
football program. In just his second
year, he has done that. While the Aggies
are 2-3 (with losses to New Mexico,
UTEP and Idaho, all within a
touchdown and a conversion), Mumme has the New Mexico
State offense in high gear.
If a team can accumulate 500 yards per game of total
offense, that's an impressive feat. This
team averages that! New
Mexico State is
passing for an incredible 422 yards per game.
Quarterback Chase Holbrook is enjoying a fine season, having completed
167 of 253 passes for 2,053 yards and 16 touchdowns. His completion percentage stands at 66
percent and he's only been intercepted five times. He's dangerous from every spot on the field;
backed up on his own four, he hooked up Chris Williams for a 96-yard touchdown.
Holbrook has six main targets that will see considerable
action Sunday. Chris Williams and Nick Cleaver are both big play threats—Williams averages 16.2 yards per catch (33
receptions for 535 yards and four touchdowns) while Cleaver nets 17 per catch
(20 for 341 and three scores). A.J. Harris (31 catches for 366 and two TD's) and Derek Dubois (27 for 360 yards and
four touchdowns) will also be big challenges for the Bronco secondary. Jeremiah Williams has been utilized
extensively out of the backfield, grabbing 21 passes for 172 and two
touchdowns. C Buckner (18 for 135) is
another of Holbrook's main targets.
Chris Williams is third in the WAC in
receiving, Harris is fifth, Dubois is seventh and Jeremiah Williams is ninth.
The team is vulnerable in that they have lost 169 yards
rushing in five games, or an average of 34 yards per game. This indicates a breakdown in blocking
assignments that results in either sacks or tackles for loss. New Mexico
State has given up 19 sacks already
this season. Boise
State will need to exploit this
weakness to hold the high-powered Aggie attack in check. Another vulnerability is that the Aggies have
fumbled 14 times in the five games, and have lost 10 of them.
Overall, New Mexico
State is averaging 80.6 yards
rushing after taking those losses into account, which is last in the WAC. Jeremiah Williams and Justine Buries have
both been effective, with Williams sporting a 5.2 yards per carry average and
248 total yards and Buries totaling 143.
Clearly, Mumme uses the run mostly to keep defenses honest.
The Aggies are outscoring opponents by an average of 33 to
27. They are third in the WAC
in scoring behind Boise State
(39.3 points per game) and Hawai'i
The defense allows 107 yards rushing per game while giving up
261 yards per game passing. New
Mexico State is
last in the league in the latter category.
They allow an average of 16.3 yards per catch, a very porous number that
reveals the possibilities for deep passes against the Aggie secondary. Overall, that adds up to 368.4 yards per game
for Aggie opponents.
Chris Williams is the top kickoff returner with seven for
193 yards, number one in the WAC. He
also handles punts for the Aggies but he's had limited opportunity thus
far. Williams has returned two punts for
63 yards this season. He's obviously
dangerous in the open field.
Jared Kaufman gives Coach Mumme a weapon on the few
occasions that defenses have been able to stop the New
offense. Kaufman averages 45.2 yards per
punt with good hang time. Kaufman leads
the league in net punting while Boise
State's Kyle Stringer is
second. It will be challenging for the
Broncos to set up punt returns.
Matt Pratt has connected on just 2 of 5 field goals and is18-22
on extra point tries. Three of Pratt's
field goals have been blocked already this season.
New Mexico State
is a second half team, dominating opponents 73-30 in the last 30 minutes. In the third quarter, the Aggies are
outscoring their opposition 32-0.
This is a young team that has bought into what Mumme is
selling. They've gained some confidence
with a couple of lopsided wins over Division I-AA teams and have had a shot to
beat the three I-A squads. In the Moscow
game, two touchdowns against the Vandals were called back because of penalties
yet they still were within a touchdown and two-point conversion of sending the
game into overtime.
Mumme has brought talent to Las Cruces,
and for this reason they are a dangerous team.
The matchup with Boise State
represents an incredible opportunity for New Mexico
State to establish itself for the
future. The team has generated
excitement within the community, averaging over 20,000 fans this season. You can bet that number will be up considerably
this Sunday for a game against #19 Boise
State that will be nationally
televised on ESPN. The home crowd will
bring the "Overrated" cheer with them into the stadium, eager to bring it out
at the first opportunity against the Broncos. Boise
State must grab the lead early on this
team and not let up. This is the first
of several trap games for the Broncos, and they must be ready for the
The Sunday night game will be televised nationally on ESPN. Kickoff is set for 6:05 P.M.