New Mexico State Scouting Report: Defense

The Aggies' 4-3 defense has been markedly better against the pass than the run in 2014. Learn more about the New Mexico State 'D' inside.

No. 17 LSU (3-1) will welcome New Mexico State (2-2) of the Sun Belt Conference into Death Valley Saturday night for the Tigers’ final non-SEC matchup of the season.

TSD is previewing the Aggies on both sides of the ball. Yesterday Hunter Paniagua took a look at the balanced NMSU offense, which is averaging 30.2 points a game in 2014.

Today I’ll bring the opposition scouting reports full-circle with an in-depth look at the Aggies’ 4-3 defense under coordinator Larry Coyer, who’s also the position coach for the secondary and linebackers.

Check out my breakdown of the New Mexico State defense after the jump, but first, here are the projected starters.



DE: Jay Eakins (Sr., 6-2, 275)
DT: Kalie Auelua (So., 6-2, 240)
DT: Stody Bradley (Fr., 6-2, 240)
DE: Noah Brown (R-So., 6-1, 235)
SLB: Derek Ibekwe (Fr., 6-0, 214)
MLB: Rodney Butler (So., 6-1, 212)
WLB: Dalton Herrington (Fr., 6-2, 195)
CB: Adaryan Jones (Fr., 6-1, 170)
FS: Kawe Johnson (So., 5-8, 177)
SS: King Davis III (So., 6-1, 200)
CB: Lewis Hill (Jr., 5-10, 175)

Key Backups: DE Brandon Agomuo (Fr., 6-3, 247), LB Clint Barnard (R-Sr., 6-3, 240)


The Aggies, coming off a 38-35 home loss to rival New Mexico, have been stingy against the pass but are tissue paper-soft versus the run.

Through four games opposing offenses have lit up NMSU for 299.2 rushing yards per game, averaging 6.0 yards per carry against Larry Coyer’s group. By contrast teams are only passing for 123.2 yards per game on the Aggies. This won’t come as the most welcomed news for LSU fans considering the Tigers’ offense could benefit from more frequent explorations of the passing game. This Saturday’s opponent, however, is set up perfectly to be run on … early and often.

Three Aggies have registered 39 tackles or more on the season, including middle linebacker Rodney Butler (47), strongside linebacker Derek Ibekwe (44) and free safety Kawe Johnson (39). On the defensive line the most active player is senior end Jay Eakins, who’s notched 27 tackles to go with 3.5 tackles for loss and a sack.

In a pretty damning statement, Eakins’ one sack leads New Mexico State. So this is not a group that’s defending the pass well because of a stout rush on the quarterback by any means. But the secondary play helps make up for a number of deficiencies, as the Aggies have picked off four passes already.

When looking at size NMSU is more reminiscent of Sam Houston State than ULM. Especially in the middle of that Aggie defensive line, it shouldn’t even be a fair fight in Tiger Stadium – and that’s even knowing the struggles of LSU’s offensive line lately.

Starting defensive tackles Kalie Auelua and Stody Bradley, a sophomore and true freshman, respectively, both measure in at 6-foot-2 and 240 pounds. The combination of Elliott Porter (6-4, 297), Ethan Pocic (6-7, 301) and Vadal Alexander (6-6, 340) project to have a field day with their distinct size advantages.

All things considered New Mexico State’s defensive backfield may give a good look to LSU’s receivers, but otherwise this will be a tune-up more on-par with Sam Houston State, which the Tigers won 56-0, than ULM, 31-0.

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