Boston College (4-4) at New Mexico State (1-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 9, 3:30 p.m. (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Aggie Memorial Stadium (30,343) -- Las Cruces, New Mexico. Television: AggieVision, ESPN3.com. Home Record: BC 4-1, NMSU 1-4. Away Record: BC 0-3, NMSU 0-4. Neutral Record: BC 0-0, NMSU 0-0. Conference Record: BC 2-3, NMSU 0-0. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: In search of their first road win of 2013, the Boston College Eagles take a break from their ACC schedule to challenge the New Mexico State Aggies in the first-ever meeting between the schools on the football field.
Boston College has bowed at USC, Clemson and North Carolina, all by double digits, but the team did respond in a big way last week with a solid 34-27 home win over Virginia Tech. The victory snapped a two-game slide by the Eagles, but was just their second overall since defeating Wake Forest the first week of September.
As for the Aggies, their 2013 campaign continues to get worse and worse. Last weekend, the team dropped a 49-35 decision to Louisiana on the road, preventing it from posting back-to-back wins for the first time since October of 2011 when it topped New Mexico (42-28) and Idaho (31-24).
It has been almost as long since the Aggies defeated another program from the FBS, having squeezed out a 48-45 triumph over Fresno State on Nov. 12, 2011. Last year, NMSU's only win came in the season opener against Sacramento State (49-19) and this year the only win was a 34-29 outcome during Homecoming versus Abilene Christian.
Caught in a back-and-forth affair with Virginia Tech, the Eagles took over with 17 straight points in the fourth quarter, thanks to a pair of big plays as they upset the Hokies in Chestnut Hill.
Andre Williams ran for 166 yards and two touchdowns on 33 carries, one of those being a crucial 62-yard TD in the final period, while quarterback Chase Rettig completed all but three of his 14 pass attempts for another 93 yards and a TD in the close call.
There were a number of outstanding efforts on the defensive side of the ball for BC, not the least of which was a 33-yard interception return for a touchdown by Kevin Pierre-Louis. Manuel Asprilla, who combined with Pierre- Louis for 15 solo tackles, had an interception return of 49 yards, while Kasim Edebali logged two sacks and a couple of forced fumbles.
Edebali has been huge for the Eagles all season long, leading the team in tackles for loss (10.0), sacks (7.5) and forced fumbles (three). Because of his efforts and those of his defensive teammates, the Eagles are currently 16th in the nation in turnover margin with a plus-0.9 per game.
Forcing those turnovers has been crucial for the Eagles because their offense has been mediocre at best for most of the campaign. At this point, the squad is 112th in the country in passing with just 154.4 ypg, and that has been the main reason why it is generating only 333.4 ypg overall (111th nationally).
Williams has been outstanding as a runner, currently ranking second in the nation with 147.0 ypg and a total of 1,176 yards, all of which has led to 10 rushing TDs.
Andrew McDonald led NMSU with 327 yards passing and three touchdowns, while Austin Franklin reeled in a career-best 13 balls for 140 yards and two scores in the losing effort versus Louisiana last time out. The Aggies, who actually opened the contest with a 14-0 lead and then extended the advantage to 28-7 in the second quarter before falling apart, allowed Louisiana to run only 52 offensive plays, but the Ragin' Cajuns used those limited opportunities to average 8.5 yards per snap.
After scoring touchdowns on each of their first four possession, the Aggies made it into the end zone just one more time and were forced to punt on four straight possession and six times overall between the second and fourth quarters. Trashaun Nixon tried to keep the Cajuns in check by registering 1.5 sacks and forcing a fumble, but it all went for naught.
Outside of the win over Abilene Christian and a double-digit setback to San Diego State (26-16), the Aggies have permitted at least 42 points per outing, which is why the group is last in the nation in scoring defense, allowing a massive 46.2 ppg. The team has been trounced on the ground with a staggering 312.1 ypg permitted as well.
However, it is not just the defense that has made New Mexico State so difficult to watch because the offense has had some major issues as well. On the ground the team is generating just 137.1 ypg, leading to just 379.3 ypg overall. In terms of points, there are not too many programs that are producing fewer than the Aggies (20.3 ppg).
Against someone like Williams who continuously finds holes in defenses, the Aggies could be in for an epic downfall this weekend if BC doesn't back off late in the meeting.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Boston College 37, New Mexico State 17
11/06 10:41:57 ET