The Aggies have had a bit more success in year two under Doug Martin after going just 2-10 in his first season back in Las Cruces, N.M., where he was the offensive coordinator in 2011. We’ll break down NMSU from every angle leading up to Saturday’s showdown, and today we’ll start with the offense.
NMSU brings a balanced offensive attack into Tiger Stadium, one that ranks fourth in the Sun Belt with an average of 30.2 points per game. The Aggies also rank fourth in the conference in total offense (425.8 yards/game) and passing offense (266.8 yards/game).
We’ll provide you with a breakdown of NMSU offensively after the jump, but first, here are the projected starters:
PROJECTED STARTING LINEUP
QB: Tyler Rogers (So., 6-3, 200)
RB: Xavier Hall (Sr., 6-0, 207)
H-Back: Teldrick Morgan (R-So., 6-0, 185)
WR (X): Adam Shapiro (Sr., 6-1, 192)
WR (Z): Jerrel Brown (Sr., 6-0, 190)
TE: Andrew Dean (Sr., 6-3, 244)
LT: Houston Clemente (Jr., 6-4, 303)
LG: Isaiah Folasa-Lutui (Jr., 6-3, 309)
C: Valerian Ume-Ezeoke (Sr., 6-3, 295)
RG: Andy Cunningham (So., 6-3, 308)
RT: Thomas McGuire (R-Fr., 6-5, 282)
Key Backups: RB Larry Rose III (Fr., 5-11, 180), WR Joseph Matthews (Sr., 6-2, 203), RG Abram Holland (Sr., 6-2, 270)
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Let’s start with the Aggie signal caller. Tyler Rogers takes over after spending his freshman season at Arizona Western, where he threw 1,832 yards and 14 touchdowns, until an injury cut his season short by two games. Rogers has found some success at NMSU as well, averaging 264 passing yards per game thus far.
He’s completed 61.4 percent of his passes with nine touchdowns and an efficient 128.7 passer rating. But Rogers has also thrown six picks through four games, and LSU’s stingy secondary will have their sights on adding to that total on Saturday.
Rogers’ go-to receiver has been Teldrick Morgan, who lines up in the H-Back role. NMSU finds different ways to get him involved, and the redshirt sophomore has nearly double the amount of receptions as the next receiver. Morgan’s reeled in four of the team’s nine touchdown grabs, and he’s averaging 15 yards/catch and 116 yards/game. Rogers has also regularly gone to senior receiver Joseph Matthews, who has three touchdowns on 17 grabs this season.
In the ground game, NMSU may list senior Xavier Hall as the starter, but true freshman Larry Rose III has been the workhorse. In just three games, Rose has found his stride in the college game, racking up 269 yards on 62 carries. He only has one touchdown though, and that’s where Hall’s had his impact this season. He’s taken three of his 37 attempts into the end zone but averaging fewer than 10 carries per game.
Don’t discount Rogers’ ability to run either. He doesn’t rack up a ton of yards, but he knows how to find pay dirt. He had 10 rushing scores a year ago at Arizona Western, and he has two so far for the Aggies.
The NMSU offensive line has been perfect so far in pass protection. The Aggies have not surrendered a sack this season. They have the size to match up with LSU, and those two on the left plus center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke are all experienced. Though Andy Cunningham is listed as the starting right guard, it’s actually been Abram Holland in the lineup the last two games.