Aggies Headin' to The Dome

Idaho takes on its oldest current rival in the Sun Belt Conference when it takes on New Mexico State University in The Dome this Saturday at 2pm PST. This season finale game will be the 10th meeting between the two schools (Idaho holds a 7-2 edge), in a series dating back to 1971. NMSU has won 2 of the last 3 meetings however, including a 46-39 victory last season after Idaho had taken a 39-38 lead with 1:37 left in the game.

GAME TIME: 2:00 PM (PST), Moscow, ID (The Dome)

LINE: NMSU (4-1 SBC, 6-5) by 4.5 over Idaho (1-4 SBC, 2-9)

TV: None

SERIES RECORD: Idaho leads 7-2

Ah, how far these Aggies have come. NMSU can almost always be counted on to give most teams they play a tough game. But, more often then not, they've come out on the losing end of the stick. Not so this year. NMSU has had what should be considered a "mostly" gratifying season, and are on the verge of notching 7 wins in a single season for the first time since 1967. They've beaten their 2 biggest rivals this year, New Mexico (24-13) and UTEP (49-14), and did so convincingly. However, with the conference championship on the line last weekend at North Texas, the Aggies fell short.

They should be proud of what they've accomplished this year, especially considering the youth of their squad. They've struggle a bit of late, losing last week by 11 to UNT, and by 2 points (32-30) at Utah State 2 weeks ago. But they will certainly be ready to play this weekend, and will be gunning for their first ever back-to-back victories over Idaho.

Below is a quick glimpse at the players to look for this weekend, followed by links to additional information on the New Mexico State University Aggies.

Danny Johnston / AP
Huge senior Left Guard, #75 Shalimar Jackson, shown here displaying his running skills against New Mexico.
Aggie Offense

Projected starting lineup:

QB Paul Dombrowski, 6-1, 208, Fr
RB Walter Taylor, 5-9, 180, Sr
FB Marcus Dixon, 5-8, 231, Jr
WR H.B. Briscoe, 6-3, 188, Sr
WR P.J. Winston, 6-0, 188, Sr
TE Frank Arritt, 6-3, 247, Jr
LT Trevor Kine, 6-6, 274, Jr
LG Shalimar Jackson, 6-3, 324, Sr
C B.J. Van Briesen, 6-3, 325, Sr
RG Steve Subia, 6-3, 370, So
RT Steve Mascorro, 6-5, 346, Sr

The Aggies have a huge, physical, veteran offensive line, led by senior guard Shalimar Jackson, an All-Conference lineman and legit pro prospect. All told, they start 3 seniors up front, a junior and a sophomore, averaging 6-4 and over 325 pounds. These guys are built to drive defensive linemen off the line, and they are doing it to the tune of 219 yards rushing per game (#1 in the SBC).

The Aggie offense calls for a quarterback who is a tough runner and a proficient passer, and they have that in redshirt freshman Paul Dombrowski. His numbers are not staggering by any stretch (70 yards rushing per game, 100 yards passing per game), but he is making few mistakes, and he's leading an offense which #1 in the conference in scoring (26.5 points per game), #1 in total yards per game (401), and #1 in Time of Possession (32:25 per game).

On the ground look for NMSU to mix it up between Dombrowski and senior I-Back Walter Taylor. Through the air, look for senior wide receiver H.B. Briscoe to be the primary receiver (72.6 yards per game). Senior P.J. Winston is also a threat on the other side.

David Quinn / AP
Senior Strong Safety #28 Siddeeq Shabazz tackles a UTEP runner.
Aggie Defense

Projected starting lineup:

LE Traydell Bullock, 6-0, 256, So
DT Lionel Apineru, 6-1, 280, So
NT Joe Olivo, 6-2, 260, Jr
RE Greg Scaffidi, 6-4, 255, So
SLB Tim Patrick, 6-1, 224, Jr
MLB Jimmy Cottrell, 6-1, 224, RS-Fr
WLB Rich Glover, 6-0, 226, So
LC Robert Canidate, 5-8, 177, Sr
SS Siddeeq Shabazz, 5-11, 202, Sr
FS Tyrone Gifford, 6-0, 201, Sr
RC Darrell Bernard, 5-11, 177, Sr

NMSU's defensive front seven is mighty young this year (due in part to injuries this season), starting 3 sophomores and a junior in their 4-3 base defense. That said, this group is becoming a strength in the conference, and are led by redshirt freshman Middle Linebacker, Jimmy Cottrell, who has stepped up big this year and currently is #3 in the conference in tackles. Sophomore weakside linebacker Richard Glover is also 6th in the Conference in tackles.

Overall, this young front seven is not over-powering, but they are stingy, giving up just 159 yards per game on the ground (#2 in the conference). They have good speed at linebacker, and their young defensive linemen are fairly quick to the ball.

For all the youth up front, the Aggies start 4 seniors in the defensive backfield, led by Strong Safety Siddeeq Shabazz. They've had their work cut-out for them this fall with the youth up front, but as the front seven improves, so does this group.

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