NMSU kicker Aguiniga has sights set on postseason

Senior place kicker Dario Aguiniga has come a long way in three years at New Mexico State. During his freshman campaign, he struggled early and often, but he recovered nicely, making 8 of his last 12 fie

Senior place kicker Dario Aguiniga has come a long way in three years at New Mexico State.

During his freshman campaign, he struggled early and often, but he recovered nicely, making 8 of his last 12 field goals.

The past two years, the native of Tijuana, Mexico, has been one of the top kickers in the Sun Belt Conference and in the nation, making 25 of his last 34 field goal attempts and 60 of 63 extra points.

Entering his senior season, he is one of 30 finalists for the Lou Groza Award, given annually to the nation's top college kicker.

"The first year was tough, but I hung in there and I just wanted to keep improving," Aguiniga said. "I worked hard and things have worked out. The last two years have been great. I've been consistent, I've been put in good positions to make kicks."

Aguiniga has been clutch as well, making six straight fourth-quarter field goals, including a game-winner against Louisiana-Lafayette at home last season. He is just eight field goals short of setting a school record and needs just 51 points to becoming the school's all-time leading scorer.

"The records would be nice, but going to a bowl and winning the league would be an even better accomplishment," Aguiniga said. "I want to help this team get to the next level. We were so close the last couple of years. If I'm called on in a tight situation, that's what I want, and I look forward to the challenge."

Aguiniga also had quite an experience off the field this summer as he visited Havana, Cuba.

"Visiting Cuba was something I've wanted to do for a long time," he said. "It was a great experience. I learned so much about people, about a different culture and about how good we have it here. People in Cuba don't have it easy.

"I remember talking to one man who told of his desire to leave Cuba and he just wanted opportunities to do and have things that he couldn't do or have in Cuba. I learned a lot from just listening to him."

Aguiniga said he hopes to have a chance at an NFL career, but if not, he has plans to use his degree in business.

"I would love the chance to play in the NFL, that would be my ultimate workplace next year," Aguiniga said. "To have a chance to go against the best is something a lot of guys dream about.

"But I have to work hard this season and have a good year. My focus is on winning this year and doing the best job I can. Everyone has a job to do, mine is to kick well and when I get a chance to put us ahead or make that big extra point I have to do it."


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