NMSU has struggled in recent years, but has played Tech tough since they joined the WAC. The Aggies seem to be playing well, but they haven't exactly played a tough schedule. They have three wins on the season; beating New Mexico and Utah St. by identical scores of 20-17 and beating Prarie View A&M by an almost identical score of 21-18.
The Aggie losses have also been by similar margins. 34-17 to SDSU, 38-12 to UTEP, and 21-6 against Idaho. Not counting Idaho, New Mexico State's FBS opponents have five wins combined; two against NMSU, two against Southern Utah, and UTEP's big win over Houston.
Idaho opened the season beating NMSU by 15, then went on to beat common opponent SDSU and WAC rival SJSU. The Vandals have nice wins over Colorado State and Northern Illinois.
In their three wins, the Aggies have beaten three teams with a grand total of zero FBS wins. NMSU has zero wins, Utah St. has only beaten Southern Utah, and Prarie View has three FCS wins.
Louisiana Tech has only beaten one team with one FBS win. Hawaii beat Washington State early in the season. The Bulldogs schedule has been much tougher than New Mexico State's so far. Auburn, Navy, and Nevada are all stronger opponents than what Idaho has faced.
The Aggies have had success the last three years against Tech by passing the ball. With Chase Holbrook gone, NMSU has struggled a lot with accuracy. Trevor Walls was only 8-25 with an interception in the win over Utah State. Walls had just 81 passing yards for the entire game.
NMSU Coach DeWayne Walker said he is trying to install more of a defensive mindset in his team. On offense, he wants to add a power running game to go with the passing game. Seth Smith has 566 yrards rushing on the season for a 4.4 average. He had 150 yards and a 6.0 average against Prarie View, putting him right at 4 yards a carry in the other 5 games. Smith is 5'8" 200 pounds and has just one touchdown on the season.
New Mexico State has been outscored 145-96. They have thrown 8 interceptions and their oppenents have thrown just four picks. The Aggies have fumbled 10 times already this season and lost 6. Their opponents have fumbled just four times and lost two. NMSU has held the ball longer than the other team by an average of 6 and a half minutes. Helping them hold onto the ball is their 8/15 conversion rate on fourth down.
NMSU is 117th in the nation in passing offense with just under 120 yards per game. The Aggies are 114th in scoring offense with 16 points per game. NMSU is in last place in total offense with 268 yards per game.
Louisiana Tech is strong against the pass, ranking 37th in the country. The Bulldogs are 103rd in total defense and will look to pad their stats with another dominating performance at home. Tech had seven sacks and held Hawaii to just six points two weeks ago and should have similar success against NMSU.
NMSU ranks 85th in rush defense. Daniel Porter is questionable and we may see Myke Compton along with freshmen backs Tyrone Duplessis and D.J. Morrow trying to take advantage.
While the Aggies are better against the pass, Ross Jenkins will look to make quicker decisions and be more confident throwing the ball. Jenkins had a good game last year against NMSU and has had his best games at home in 2009.
The offense may come down to the offensive line for Tech. The Bulldogs need to control the NSMU defense up front. With Phillip Livas and Porter being banged up, the rest of the offense will need the line to protect Jenkins and open holes for the running backs.
NMSU has lost by 15, 16, and 17 points this year. Louisiana Tech will make it 18 with a 31-13 win over New Mexico State. The Bulldogs need to get back on the winning track before heading to the previously mentioned and much improved Idaho Vandals on Halloween.