LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Saturday's game between New Mexico State and UTEP is the 91st meeting between the two schools. The game is scheduled for a 6 p.m. (MT) start at Aggie Memorial Stadium, Sept. 14 in Las Cruces. This season NM State is sitting at 0-2 while the Miners are 0-1, 0-0.
The Miners have won seven of the last 10 meetings between the two schools, winning the last four games. The Aggies last win in the series was in 2008 in El Paso. NM State last won at home in 2007, a 29-24 final.
The game will be televised live on AggieVision, as Glen Cerny (Play-by-Play) and Danny Knee (Analyst) bring you all the action from the television booth. The game will be on live locally on Comcast in New Mexico, KASY (Albuquerque), CSN-Houston (9/15 at 7 a.m.) and Altitude2.
You can listen to all the action with the ‘Voice of the Aggies' Jack Nixon and color analyst Preston Williams beginning at 5 p.m. on KGRT 104 FM. Also catch the action in Spanish with Bob Sherman and Sal Betancourt on Vista 98.7 FM.
New Mexico State-UTEP Rivalry
The Aggie football team renews the program's second longest rivalry with the Miners of Texas-El Paso, Sept. 14, at Aggie Memorial Stadium. The game will mark the 91st meeting between the Miners and Aggies with UTEP leading the series, 53-35-2. This will be just the 11th meeting between the two rivals in the last 12 years after the two schools played every year from 1935 to 2000. The series took a break in 2001 and 2003.
Doug Martin and Sean Kuglar will square off for the first time as head coaches. Last season the Aggies fell to UTEP, 16-10 in Las Cruces.
Scouting the Miners
This season the UTEP Miners are 0-1 after falling to New Mexico past week in an overtime thriller, 42-35. This will be the Miners second game of the season. UTEP is 7-3 over the last ten games against the Aggies.
The Miners scored 35 points and racked up almost 400 yards of total offense this past weekend but gave up over 480 total yards to the Lobos. UTEP was 4-of-5 in the redzone.
Individually, the Miners are led by running back Aaron Jones, who recorded 127 yards on the ground and two scores. Miner quarterback Jameill Showers threw for 119 yards and a touchdown, while rushing for an additional 44 yards and a score. Jordan Leslie and Ian Hamilton led the receiving corps with five and four catches respectively.
Defensively, Traun Roberson led UTEP with 13 tackles, followed by Devin Cockell with 10. Three other defensive players had eight or more tackles for the Miners.
Miscellaneous NM State versus UTEP Notes
· Historically speaking, the Aggies are better off playing in tight games against their I-10 Miner rivals. In the 90 previous meetings between NM State and UTEP, there have been two ties, 37 games decided by seven points or less and 51 games decided by more than eight points. In games decided by seven points or less, New Mexico State owns a 21-16 record against UTEP. In the 51 games decided by more than seven points, the Aggies are just 14-37. Here is a breakdown of the scoring margin in series history:
· NM State's record against UTEP in games decided by:
o Three points or less: 11-8
o From 1972-85, nine games between the Aggies and the Miners were decided by three points or less, including five straight from 1976-80. In that span between 1972 and 1985, New Mexico State won six of those nine games. The last game in the series that was decided by three points or less was in 2008, a 34-33 New Mexico State victory in El Paso, Texas.
o Four to seven points: 10-9
o Eight to 14 points: 5-10
o 15+ points: 9-27
o Saturday's game against UTEP will be New Mexico State's third game in the series played on Sept. 14. UTEP won both games, one in Las Cruces and one in El Paso.
NM State vs. UTEP Traveling Trophies
Over the course of the 90-year football rivalry between neighboring New Mexico State and the UTEP, two traveling trophies have been created to honor the series victor:
The Silver Spade
Since 1955, the winner of the New Mexico State vs. UTEP football game has taken home the Silver Spade, a replica prospector's shovel. The origin of the Silver Spade dates back to 1947, when an old prospector's shovel was unearthed in an abandoned mine in the Organ Mountains near Las Cruces. The whereabouts of the original spade is a mystery, but the current spade (on which are engraved the score of each year's Aggie-Miner game) has been traded between the two schools since 1955. The relevance of the spade may be due to the fact that at the time of its discovery, the tool was related to the major field of study at both universities—agriculture at New Mexico A&M, and mining and metallurgy at the College of Mines.
The Brass Spittoon
The newer of the two traveling trophies in the New Mexico State - UTEP series is the 17-year-old Brass Spittoon, formally titled the Mayor's Cup. The Brass Spittoon came into existence in 1982, when former Las Cruces Mayor David Steinborn and former El Paso Mayor Jonathan Rogers agreed to present an additional trophy to the winner of the storied Aggie-Miner football rivalry.
Last Season against UTEP
The New Mexico State football team lost the 90th meeting with its I-10 rival UTEP Miners, 41-28, at the Sun Bowl in El Paso.
The Aggies found themselves down early, played well during the middle portion of the game, but could never quite catch up to the Miners. NM State fell to 1-2 on the season while the Miners also sat at 1-2.
Aggie sophomore quarterback Andrew Manley finished the game 20-of-47 with 290 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception. NM State had a couple of 100-yard receivers in the game, senior wide receiver Kemonte' Bateman finished with seven catches for a season-high 115 yards receiving and one touchdown while sophomore wide receiver Austin Franklin also finished with seven catches for 107 yards and two touchdowns. On the ground, NM State was led by junior running back Germi Morrison who ran the ball 12 times for 76 yards. Junior running back Tiger Powell had the only touchdown on the ground for the Aggies and finished with 49 yards on 12 carries.
Defensively, senior cornerback Jeremy Harris and junior strong safety George Callender each had nine tackles to lead the Aggies.
After receiving the opening kickoff, Manley threw an interception on his second throw of the game. UTEP senior strong safety Richard Spencer picked off Manley at the Aggie 47-yard line. The Aggies would not score their first points until their final possession of the half.
The Miners scored a touchdown on their first four possessions. UTEP had two rushing touchdowns from sophomore running back Josh Bell and two throwing touchdowns from senior quarterback Nick Lamaison. With 10 minutes left in the first half, the Miners had a 27-0 lead.
One of the bright spots for NM State in the half was a blocked extra-point attempt by Aggie senior Desmond Anaya.
NM State finally got on the board with 3:05 left in the half when Manley hit Franklin who was running a deep cross route. The 37-yard touchdown pass cut the Miner lead to 27-7.
UTEP proceeded to drive down the field, but botched a 25-yard field goal with 15 seconds left in the half.
Manley finished the half 8-of-17 with one interception, one touchdown and 116 yards passing. Franklin had four catches in the half for 71 yards and a touchdown. Powell led the Aggies on the ground in the first half with 11 total rushing yards.
NM State cut the Miner lead to 13 on its second possession of the second half. After a UTEP late hit penalty, Manley hit Bateman on a 47-yard pass play down the right side that put the ball on the Miner 1-yard line. Powell punched it in a couple of plays later to make the score 27-14 with 6:03 left in the third quarter. It was Powell's fourth rushing touchdown of the year. He has scored at least one touchdown in each of the Aggies' first three games.
It took the Miners only three plays, however, to answer the Aggie touchdown. The 58-second drive was punctuated with a 17-yard touchdown pass from Lamaison to junior tight end Craig Wenrick. The third quarter ended with the Miners on top 34-14.
NM State drove into Miner territory during its next two drives but could not convert on fourth down on both drives, once at the Miner 21-yard line and again at the Miner 39-yard line.
UTEP took advantage of the second missed conversion by the Aggies and capped off a 6-play, 61-yard drive with a 36 yard touchdown pass from Lamaison to senior wide receiver Michael Edwards which gave the Miners a 41-14 lead with under 10 minutes left in the game.
Aided by a 25-yard pass play from Manley to junior tight end Perris Scoggins, NM State once again drove deep into Miner territory and for the third straight series found itself with a fourth down conversion opportunity. This time, however, Manley hit Bateman in the right corner of the end zone for a 25-yard touchdown pass.
The Aggies added a late 11-yard touchdown pass from Manley to Franklin to make the final score 41-28.
Morrison Scores Twice
Running back Germi Morrison recorded his first career multi touchdown game against Minnesota with both runs measuring 1-yard a piece. In the game, Morrison rushed for 32 yards on 19 carries, while grabbing three passes for 21 yards.
On the season, Morrison has 57 yards on the ground and two scores. For his career, Morrison has rushed for 824 yards and two touchdowns, averaging 58.9 yards per game. He is just 176 yards away from becoming a member of the 1,000 yard rushing club.
King gets a Shot
Freshman quarterback King Davis III has saw limited action in the Aggies' first two games but at the end of the Minnesota game, he led the Aggies in a last minute scoring drive.
Davis III was 7-of-9 on the drive for 67 yards, including four rushing attempts for 29 yards.
He also saw action against then No. 15 Texas in the second half.
Bergstrom Grabs Career-High
Wide receiver Jordan Bergstrom was all over the field against Minnesota, recording a career-high in both receptions with eight and receiving yards with 60, including a long of 18. Against No. 15 Texas, Bergstrom grabbed three passes for 14 yards.
On the season, Bergstrom has 11 catches for 74 yards. He has also rushed the ball once in each game for nine yards.
Bowen Consistent after Two
Wide receiver Joshua Bowen has started off the season on a hot streak. Against No. 15 Texas, Bowen caught his first touchdown of his career, pulling in eight total passes for 83 yards. He followed that performance with six catches for 38 yards.
On the season, Bowen has 14 catches for 121 yards and the Aggies only receiving touchdown of the season.
Coming into the season, Bowen has played in just two games with no receptions. This year, he is averaging seven catches a game and 8.6 yards per catch.
Nixon Solid Day at the Office
Linebacker Trashaun Nixon came out on fire against Minnesota in the season home opener. He recorded a season-high 11 tackles, a tackle-for-a-loss and a forced fumble. This was the third time in his Aggie career he recorded double-digit tackles.
Nixon started all 12 games at linebacker for the Aggies for the 2012 season and was selected to the All-WAC second team for his efforts. He recorded 96 tackles, 9.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, one interception and four pass break-ups on the season. He recorded eight tackles per game, which ranked sixth in the WAC. Nixon also ranked fifth with 9.5 tackles for a loss on the season. Nixon set a career high in tackles with 15 in the first game of the season against Sacramento State (Aug. 30).
For his career, Nixon has 112 tackles, 11.5 tackles-for-a-loss and 2.5 sacks.
Cazares is back in Double-Digits
Safety Davis Cazares recorded 11 tackles against Minnesota this past weekend, marking the seventh time in his career that he has tallied double-digit tackles. Cazares has the most double-digit tackle games than any other player on the team.
In 2012, Cazares started 10 games for the Aggies at free safety and played in all 12 games. He led the WAC with 9.7 tackles per game and was ranked 27th nationally. For his efforts on the season, Cazares was selected to the All-WAC second team. He recorded 116 total tackles, three tackles for a loss, one forced fumble, one pass break-up and one blocked kick on the season. Cazares led the team with 19 tackles against New Mexico (Sept. 22), which was also a career high.
For his career, Cazares has 154 tackles.
Defensive lineman Willie Mobley earned his first career sack as an Aggie against his hometown team Minnesota this past weekend. He also recorded four tackles and a tackle-for-a-loss.
On the season, Mobley has seven tackles. He also recorded the first sack of the season for the Aggies.
Laudermill Right Place-Right Time
Defensive lineman Kevin Laudermill recorded his first career interception against Minnesota. It was the third interception for the Aggies this season. Laudermill returned the ball one-yard, while recording two tackles in the game.
The Aggies had just four interceptions in 12 games in 2012.
Last season, Laudermill played in 11 games for the Aggies on the defensive line for the 2012 season and started all 11. He recorded 35 tackles, two tackles for a loss, one sack and one pass break-up. He set a career high in tackles with six against Ohio.
New Mexico State is just one of two schools in the country that have a left-footed kicker at both its starting punter (Cayle Chapman-Brown) and starting field goal kicker (Maxwell Johnson). Tennessee is the only other school to have this combination however Michael Palardy handled both positions for the Vols.
Wallace and the Streak
Offensive left tackle Davonte Wallace returns for his senior season, anchoring the Aggies' offensive line. He has started in 38 straight games for the Aggies on the offensive line. Against No. 15 Texas Wallace recorded four knockdowns.
In 2012, Wallace earned second team All-WAC honors for the second straight season. He became the first offensive lineman since the 2003 and 2004 season to earn back-to-back all-conference awards. He was a vital part of the Aggies pass protection that allowed wide receiver Austin Franklin to earn All-America honors.
Wallace also helped quarterback Andrew Manley throw for 2,764 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2012, as he ranked 47th in the nation in passing. The 2,764 passing yards by Manley is sixth all-time in a single season, while the 18 touchdown passes rank tied for seventh in a single season.
NM State Football Fans Encourage to join the ‘Aggie Walk'
This season the New Mexico State football team, along with the Pride Marching Band, NM State Cheerleaders and Sundancers will begin a new tradition called the ‘Aggie Walk'. This tradition will be in similar fashion to a short parade.
Before every home football game, the football team will walk starting at the Saratoga room (across the street from the Pan American Center) at 3:10 p.m. after finishing their pregame meal. They will be escorted across University Avenue to the North Pan American Center parking lot. From there, the team will meet the Pride Band, Sundancers and NM State Cheerleaders.
This group led by the Pride Band will start marching in the two south bound lanes of Arrowhead Street towards Aggie Memorial Stadium at 3:15 PM. At the intersection of Stewart and Arrowhead the group will turn right on to Stewart Street and head towards the football field house. The ‘Aggie Walk' will end at approximately 3:30 PM outside the football field house. These times are set to coordinate with a 6:00 p.m. kickoff.
Aggie fans are encouraged to line the streets on Arrowhead and Stewart to show support for the team before the game.
Local New Mexicans Heavily Represented on 2013 Roster
The 2013 New Mexico State football team is well represented with players from the Land of Enchantment. The roster features 20 players in all from New Mexico, including six from Las Cruces and 10 from the surrounding Albuquerque area.
Local players expected to contribute to the squad this season include wide receivers Joshua Bowen and Adam Shapiro, running backs Brandon Betancourt and Xavier Hall, kicker Brock Baca, offensive lineman Abram Holland and defensive lineman Matt Ramondo.
NM State joins Sun Belt in Football Only Starting 2014
New Mexico State University and its athletics department announced in the spring of 2013 that an invitation has been extended and accepted to join the Sun Belt Conference as a football-only member. This move is pending NM State Board of Regents approval. NM State will begin competition in the Sun Belt in the fall of 2014.
There is no question that the Sun Belt Conference is a league on the rise in football. The conference finished with its most non-conference wins in league history in 2012 and also sent a record four teams to bowl games. The conference also finished the 2012 season with its best ever average computer ranking – finishing ahead of Conference USA and the Mountain West. The league also had two wins over top-25 ranked opponents and Louisiana-Lafayette and Arkansas State won their respective bowl games.
Having reached the 12-team mark, the Sun Belt Conference can now play a football championship game should it choose to do so. Both New Mexico State and Idaho will be immediately eligible to compete for the Sun Belt football championship and also for a spot in postseason bowl games.
NM State, which was most recently a member of the Sun Belt Conference from 2001-2005, will also renew several historic rivalries with former conference foes Arkansas State, Louisiana, and Louisiana-Monroe.
The Aggies began conference affiliation in athletics in 1932 when they joined the Border Conference. The Aggies left that league at the end of the 1961-62 academic year and became independent for the next nine years. NM State rejoined conference play in 1971 when the school joined the Missouri Valley Conference. The Aggies left the MVC at the end of the 1982-83 academic year and joined the Pacific Coast Athletic Conference, which became the Big West Conference in 1989.
The Aggies left the Big West at the end of the 1999-2000 academic year and joined the Sun Belt, where they were members from 2000 until the summer of 2005. Most recently, NM State was a member of the Western Athletic Conference starting in the 2005-06 academic year and will remain as members in all sports, except for football. The Aggies' women's athletic teams were also members of the Intermountain Conference of the AIAW from 1973 through 1982 and the High Country Athletic Conference from 1982 through 1990.
Best Home Schedule in School History
The NM State Football team will play an Independent football schedule in 2013, perhaps the greatest home schedule in school history. NM State will face four teams from BCS conferences in 2013, including two of them at home. The Aggies will be one of six schools in 2013 to play an Independent football schedule.
The home schedule includes several high points:
Seven homes game, tied for the most to ever be held in Aggie Memorial Stadium
NM State will host two schools from a BCS conference, the first time in program history
For the first time, a Big 10 opponent will play in Aggie Memorial Stadium (Minnesota)
For the first time, an ACC team will play in Aggie Memorial Stadium (Boston College)
Two Conference USA teams in rival UTEP and Houston-based Rice
· Mountain West stalwart San Diego State
Chapman-Brown named to Ray Guy Watch List
Punter Cayle Chapman-Brown was named to the Ray Guy Award Preseason Watch list for the best punter in the nation.
In the first game of the 2013 season, Chapman-Brown punted the ball nine times for an average 39.3 yards per punt with a long of 47 yards. Against Minnesota in game two, Chapman-Brown booted the ball five times for an average of 48.8 with a long of 73 yards. His 73 yard punt if the fifth longest punt in school history.
Chapman-Brown played in all 12 games for the Aggies as a punter in the 2012 season. He was named a second team all-WAC selection in 2012, while being named the WAC Special Teams Player of the Week once during the season. He had a record-setting year as well as he found his way into the record books in several categories. Chapman-Brown had 70 punts on the season, which ties him for eighth with Cliff Olander in number of punts in a season. He totaled 3,099 yards punting which put him at fifth in punting yards in a season. He also averaged 44.3 yards per punt, which ranks first in punting average in a season. He had 19 punts go over 50 yards in 2012. Chapman-Brown had 22 of his punts land inside the opponent's 20 yard-line while only punting four touchbacks.
Ume-Ezeoke named to 2013 Rimington Trophy Watch List
Junior center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke has been named to the Rimington Trophy 2013 Spring Watch List. The list includes 17 returning players from the 2012 Watch List. In all, there are 44 players on the Watch List.
Ume-Ezeoke recorded six knockdowns against No. 15 Texas to open the 2013 season.
Ume-Ezeoke played in all 12 games for the Aggies in 2012, starting at the center position. He recorded 44 knockdowns and allowed no sacks during the season. He was a vital part of the Aggies pass protection that allowed wide receiver Austin Franklin to earn All-America honors. Ume-Ezeoke also helped quarterback Andrew Manley throw for 2,764 yards and 18 touchdowns in 2012, as he ranked 47th in the nation in passing. The 2,764 passing yards by Manley is sixth all-time in a single season, while the 18 touchdown passes rank tied for seventh in a single season. Ume-Ezeoke was named an Academic All-WAC selection and a 2012 Capital One Academic All-District VII first team member for his work in the classroom.
The Lineman Chart
The offensive line is a position in the game of football that has no stats or glory but could possibly be one of the most important positions on the field. Let's take a look at the grade sheet for the NM State offensive line in week two of the season:
Guard Andy Cunningham led the Aggies with nine knockdowns against Texas. The O-Line did not allow a sack against Minnesota.
House, Green, Rogers, Bateman and Harris Playing in the NFL
The Aggies currently have five players in the NFL. Defensive back Davon House who was drafted by the Green Bay Packers in the fourth round of the 2011 NFL Draft, becoming the first Aggies to be drafted since 2003. In 2012, defensive back Jonte Green was selected in the sixth round by the Detroit Lions, while wide receiver/kick returner Taveon Rogers was signed as a free agent by the Cincinnati Bengals. Rogers has since moved to defensive back. In 2013, Jeremy Harris was selected in the seventh round of the draft by the Jacksonville Jaguars, while wide receiver Kemonte Bateman signed a free agent contract with the Denver Broncos.
Aggies on Twitter
The Aggie Athletics department has a Twitter account where media and fans can get all your in-game scores at www.twitter.com/nmstateaggies.
Source: NMSU Athletics