Aggies: We won't overlook WNMU

The pain is expected to end for one team this weekend. New Mexico State's football team plays host to Division II Western New Mexico Saturday in the Aggies' home opener. Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.

The pain is expected to end for one team this weekend. New Mexico State's football team plays host to Division II Western New Mexico Saturday in the Aggies' home opener.

Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. NMSU lost at Texas Sunday 66-7 while WNMU fell to Colorado School of the Mines 55-10.

There is no betting line for the game since the teams are from different divisions, but the expectation is for an Aggie romp.

NMSU head coach Tony Samuel, though, refused to give the Mustangs any bulletin board material. "We don't have room to be overconfident about anybody we play," he said at his weekly media luncheon. "You respect everybody, but not fear anybody. We need to work on our own game and get better at what we do."

"They (Mustangs) do a lot of things," he added. "They will do anything from one back to no backs to three backs. They run screens, they will throw the ball down field. They are very multiple. They have a new defensive coordinator so we have only one game to go by. We'll work on quite a few things this week to get them ready."

NMSU quarterback Paul Dombrowski agreed. "We lost by 50 some points this weekend. We can't feel like we're better than anyone else," he said. "We have to go out there that show people we know how to play football. They won't be as good as Texas. We just have to go out and play as good as we can."

The sophomore signal caller, who split time behind center with junior Buck Pierce against the Longhorns, said he is not worried about the Aggies losing confidence. "I think we'll be fine," Dombrowski said. "It was a tough loss. We all know we gave Texas too much and that was on us. We didn't play our best football and you can't do that against the #4 team in the country. We will try and get better at what we are doing. We need to go out and have a good game Saturday. We have 11 games left, hopefully 12, so we can't let one bad game get us down for the rest of the season."

Comin' back
The NMSU staff hopes center Andy Dale will return to at center - he has eight career starts - and I-back Eric Higgins can return to his starting role. Higgins - a preseason All-Sun Belt selection - sat out the Texas game with a sore groin.

Cameron Wright, who was supposed to start at cornerback, missed the Texas game with an ankle injury and his status is still uncertain for this week's contest.
Defensive tackle Joe Olivo - also a preseason All-Sun Belt selection - continues to sit due to academic reasons. NMSU's weekly release stated that Olivo will be out "for at least a couple of additional weeks."

Good start at home
The Aggies are looking for back-to-back victories in home openers. Last season kicked off its home slate with a 23-14 win against rival New Mexico. It was the first career start for Dombrowski.

A victory would give Samuel his fourth home-opening win as Aggie coach. He also led the Aggies to victories in their first home games of 1998 (against New Mexico) and 1999 (against New Mexico Highlands). Other Aggie coaches who've had success in home openers include: Warren Woodson who won nine of ten from 1958-67; current Mayfield High coach Jim Bradley won all five home openers as NMSU's coach from 1973-77; Samuel's predecessor Jim Hess picked up victories in four of his seven home openers from 1990-96.

Kicking closing in on records
NMSU placekicker Dario Aguiniga needs three points to become just the sixth player in the school's history to score at least 200 points in their career. With six points the Tijuana, Mexico native will move past former kicker Steve Vernon (1975-78) info fifth place on the Aggies' all-time scoring list and he needs just seven points to pass former running back Bob Gaiters (1959-60) into fourth place.

Aguiniga is also six field goals shy of the school record of 40 set by Dat Ly (1987-90) and the senior needs 49 points to catch all-time leading scorer Ron ‘Po' James (1968-71) at 246 points.


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