It will be just the second time that the Bobcats face an opponent with a losing record this season. In fact, their first seven opponents have a combined 38-16 record, while their remaining five opponents are 13-27.
The Last Matchup
The Bobcats are 2-0 all time against the Aggies, a 37-29 victory in Las Cruces last season. Despite allowing NMSU to run 100 plays on offense and gain 639 total yards, TXST was able to win the game thanks to some key defensive and special teams plays. An interception each by Craig Mager and Germod Williams, plus a blocked punt returned for a touchdown by Terrence Franks proved to be the difference. Tyler Jones completed 17-30 passes for 143 yards and a 23-yard touchdown to Lawrence White. Rob Lowe rushed 16 times for 65 yards and two touchdowns.
Head Coach Doug Martin
After being the head coach at Kent State from 2004-10, Martin became the offensive coordinator at NMSU in 2011. That year, he helped produce an offense that ranked 47th nationally. He took a job the following season to be the offensive coordinator at Boston College but returned to Las Cruces in 2013, this time as the head coach. In two plus seasons as the Aggies’ head coach, he owns a 9-27 record.
Nation’s Longest Losing Streak Ended
The Aggies were on an epic losing streak before winning last week, dropping their previous 17 games, which was the most in FBS football. They couldn’t have done it in a more dramatic fashion in a come-from-behind, overtime win against the Idaho Vandals. Down 40-21 in the fourth quarter, sophomore running back Larry Rose III exploded for three touchdowns in the fourth and one more in overtime, the game winning score. Rose’s performance was even more crucial considering the Aggies’ starting sophomore quarterback Andrew Allen went down in the fourth quarter with an MCL sprain. He was replaced by redshirt freshman Nick Jeanty on the last drive in regulation. Jeanty is expected to start against the Bobcats in place for the injured Allen.
Players to Watch
Larry Rose III, Sophomore Running Back
A Fairfield, Texas native, Rose became the first freshman to rush for over a 1,000 yards at New Mexico State when he finished with 1,102 on 86 carries and nine touchdowns last season. After his 212 yards last week, he is already over the 1,000-yard mark again with 1,084 yards on a 139 carries for a whopping 7.8 yards per carry average. He is sixth all-time in rushing yards at New Mexico State. He also already surpassed his 2014 touchdown total, scoring ten times on the ground this year, including four last week. Remember the name: Larry Rose III.
Nick Jeanty, Redshirt Freshman Quarterback
The Aggies are on their third quarterback after injuries to junior Tyler Rogers earlier in the year and to Allen last week. Jeanty made his first collegiate start in a 52-3 loss to Ole Miss earlier this year but he and Allen alternated series in that game. Jeanty completed 12 of 23 for 86 yards. His only other game action besides Ole Miss was in relief of Allen last week so it’ll be interesting to see how he does in first full game.
Keys to Victory
Offense: Tyler Jones needs to find his rhythm
He’s only thrown four interceptions this season but his passes, especially the past couple games have been completely off target. A lot of this can be attributed to an injury riddled offensive line allowing pressure on him but he needs to settle down and deliver the ball on target this week. Against an Aggies’ defense that allows 560.5 yards per game, Jones is primed for a strong outing.
Defense: Get a damn pick, already.
The Bobcats STILL haven’t gotten an interception this year. They recovered some fumbles last week but it’s time to take one from the air. They have as good a chance as ever this week with a redshirt freshman under center for the Aggies.