Dombrowski earns Sun Belt Freshman of the Year

Dombrowski earns Sun Belt Freshman of the Year & Six Aggies Earn All-Sun Belt Conference Football Honors

Quarterback Paul Dombrowski (Hesperia, Calif./Sultana HS) earned Freshman of the Year honors while offensive guard Shalimar Jackson (San Diego, Calif./Morse HS), safety Siddeeq Shabazz (Chaparral, N.M./Gadsden HS) and placekicker Dario Aguiniga (Tijuana, Mexico/San Diego Marian Catholic HS) were unanimous first team picks on the Sun Belt Conference Football team for 2002.

Offensive center B.J. Van Briesen (George, Iowa/Central Lyon HS), Dombrowski and linebacker Rich Glover (Las Cruces, N.M./Onate HS) all earned second team all-conference honors.

Dombrowski went 5-3 as the starting quarterback after injuries plagued season opening starter Buck Pierce. His 10 rushing touchdowns and 868 rushing yards are school records for an Aggie quarterback and he rushed for at least 100 yards in 4 games. He scored nearly half of the team's rushing touchdowns (48%), threw more than half of the team's touchdown passes (54%) and completed 60% of his passes for the season. His 2,195 yards of total offense were the most for an Aggie player since K.C. Enzminger had 2,236 yards in 1999. He became just the second player in Aggie history to lead the team in both rushing and passing. The only other player to pull off that feat was Rick Horacek in 1977 when he passed for 1,111 yards and rushed for 423 yards.

His pass efficiency rating of 138.9 is the third highest in school history and he was twice named the Sun Belt Conference Offensive Player of the Week.

Jackson started the final 36 games of his Aggie career and was a second team all-Sun Belt Conference pick in 2001. During his 3 years as a starter, the Aggies averaged 400 yards per game of total offense including 231 yards per game on the ground. The Aggies lead the Sun Belt Conference in total offense, scoring offense and rushing offense in 2002. New Mexico State ranks 18th in the nation in rushing offense and 22nd in the nation in total offense. Last year the Aggies led the conference in fewest sacks allowed (13) and in 2000 the Aggies ranked 6th in the nation in rushing offense and 17th in total offense.

Aguiniga, a second team all-conference pick last year, leads the Sun Belt Conference in scoring with 83 points and tied the NMSU single season record of 17 field goals made in a season set by NMSU Hall of Fame member Dat Ly in 1988.

His 83 points are the most ever for an Aggie kicker and the most for any player since wide receiver Ryan Shaw scored 84 points in 1988. His 83 points are also the 9th highest single season total in New Mexico State history.

Aguiniga now has 196 career points and has made 34 career field goals. The 196 career points ranks 6th in Aggie career history while the 34 field goals is the 3rd best total. He will need 7 more field goals to break Ly's record of 40 (1987-90). He was twice named the Sun Belt Conference Special Teams Player of the Week. He had the two longest field goals in the conference this year (50 vs. Cal; 52 vs. New Mexico) and his 41-yard field goal as time expired gave the Aggies a 31-28 win over UL Lafayette. He is the first Aggie kicker to earn first team all-conference honors since Ly earned first tam all-Big West honors in 1988.

Shabazz earned first team all-Sun Belt Conference honors for the second consecutive season. He finished third on the team in total tackles with 93, had 4 tackles for loss, 1 quarterback sack and 2 pass interceptions, fumble recoveries and forced fumbles. He was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week for his performance in the Aggies' 31-28 win over UL Lafayette on October 12. Shabazz finished with 253 career tackles and 4 interceptions with 200 of those tackles and all 4 interceptions coming over the last two seasons. Shabazz was also a two-time Verizon Academic All-District pick.

In his first season at New Mexico State, Glover finished second on the team in total tackles (95) and led the team in tackles per game (8.6). Glover intercepted a pair of passes in 2002, running one back for a touchdown in a 49-14 win over UTEP. Glover was named the Sun Belt Conference Defensive Player of the Week after registering 17 tackles and an interception in the win over UTEP.

Van Briesen started 11 games at center and one game at tackle this year after starting the final 5 games at center last year. He came to NMSU after playing his first season at the University of Iowa and his second season at Iowa Central College. This season that Aggies averaged 409 yards per game of total offense, an improvement from last year's average of 360 yards per game.

The Aggies are still in the running for an at-large bowl bid. If a conference can not fulfill their commitment to a bowl game, then the bowl can pick a wild card team. NCAA rules prohibit a bowl from taking a 6-6 at large team over a 7-5 at large team.

New Mexico State finished the season 7-5 overall including one win over a team advancing to a bowl game (New Mexico). The Aggies were 5-1 in the Sun Belt Conference and finished in second place. Four of the Aggies' five losses came to teams either advancing to a bowl game (North Texas) or were ranked in the top 25 this season (South Carolina, Cal, Georgia

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