New Mexico State (1-5) at Utah State (5-2)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, October 20, 3:00 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Romney Stadium (25,513) -- Logan, Utah.
Television: KMYU. Home Record: NMSU 1-2, USU 3-0. Away Record: NMSU 0-3, USU
2-2. Neutral Record: NMSU 0-0, USU 0-0. Conference Record: NMSU 0-2, USU 1-0.
Series Record: Utah State leads, 32-7.
GAME NOTES: Following up a tremendous performance on both sides of the ball
last week against San Jose State, the Utah State Aggies now set their sights
on visiting New Mexico State when the two teams collide in Western Athletic
Conference action at Romney Stadium in Logan on Saturday afternoon.
Not only did Utah State win for the third time in the last four outings last
Saturday, the team did so by scoring a season-high 49 points in a 22-point
victory over San Jose State on the road. Not only was the scoring output a
considerable change from the mere three points put up against BYU eight days
prior, the Aggies also stepped up to record a school-record 13 sacks as well.
To put in perspective just how impressive the sacks total was from last week,
the team had just 25 sacks all of last season through 13 games and already has
27 over the course of seven games in 2012.
As for those other Aggies from the WAC, the ones from Las Cruces, they enjoyed
some time off last week. Hopefully the program spent the time wisely in hopes
of halting what has become a five-game slide. New Mexico State, which opened
this season with a 49-19 romp over Sacramento State, has not defeated another
member of the Football Bowl Subdivision since taking down Fresno State, 48-45,
on Nov. 12, 2011 and hasn't won on the road since conquering New Mexico,
42-28, in Albuquerque on Oct. 1, 2011.
The most recent outing for NMSU came at Idaho on Oct. 6 with the team
suffering a 26-18 setback at the Kibbie Dome.
NMSU trails in the all-time series, 32-7, losing two straight and four of the
last five encounters. Last season, USU posted a 24-21 win in Las Cruces which
is where New Mexico State last won in the series three years ago in a 20-17
Positives for the NMSU program seem to be few and far between these days, but
there are a few rays of light for these Aggies, particularly receiver Austin
Franklin. Ranked second in the WAC and seventh in the nation with 123.7 ypg
receiving, Franklin is also second in the league and now tied for 15th in the
country with seven catches per game. Of the 11 touchdowns thrown by
quarterback Andrew Manley, all but four have gone to Franklin.
If you throw Kemonte Bateman onto that short list of standouts, what with his
30 catches for 405 yards and another couple of touchdowns, you have two
players who are responsible for 72 of the team's 119 receptions over six
Unfortunately, while the passing attack for NMSU appears to be functioning,
the team's run game is lagging severely with a mere 85.7 ypg which is 116th in
the country at the moment.
On defense, the Aggies from Las Cruces can't get much traction, particularly
at the line of scrimmage. In fact, the unit ranks 99th in the nation with just
4.83 tackles for loss per game and are also 118th in sacks with only 0.67 per
That lack of sacks by NMSU is in stark contrast to what Utah State has been
able to accomplish this season, especially last week when Connor Williams,
Jordan Nielsen, Nevin Lawson and Kyler Fackrell also recorded a pair of sacks
on their own versus San Jose State's overworked offensive line. For his
efforts Fackrell, who also led the way in total tackles (11), had one forced
fumble and one recovery, was named the WAC Defensive Player of the Week.
Also earning player of the week honors for USU was running back Kerwynn
Williams who bounced back from a weak effort against BYU by running for 176
yards and three touchdowns, matching his entire TD total from all of last
season. Not to be overlooked was quarterback Chuckie Keeton who converted 26-
of-35 passes for 273 yards and three touchdowns versus SJSU.
Keeton, who has his team on the verge of becoming bowl eligible, has completed
better than two-thirds of his pass attempts over seven games, resulting in 14
touchdowns and just four interceptions. Not only is Williams electrifying as a
running back, his 27 catches for 331 yards are both second only to Matt Austin
who has 28 grabs for 403 yards and four touchdowns.
Spreading the wealth on defense, Nielsen, Williams and Zach Vigil all have
four sacks to this point, the latter leading the team with 7.5 TFL and is
second with 59 tackles overall.
Winners of six straight WAC outings and off to their best start since 1982,
the Utah State Aggies showed last week that they can dominate in all facets of
the game, something NMSU will find out firsthand this week.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Utah State 35, New Mexico State 13
10/17 10:44:38 ET