New Mexico State (1-10) at Texas State (3-8)
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Dec. 1, 4 pm (et).
FACTS & STATS: Site: Bobcat Stadium (30,000) -- San Marcos, Texas. Television: None. Home Record: NMSU 1-5, TSU 2-3. Away Record: NMSU 0-5, TSU 1-5. Neutral Record: NMSU 0-0, TSU 0-0. Conference Record: NMSU 0-5, TSU 1-4. Series Record: First-ever meeting.
GAME NOTES: The first-ever meeting between a couple of disappointing Western Athletic Conference programs takes place on Saturday afternoon, as the Texas State Bobcats play host to the New Mexico State Aggies.
New Mexico State is in danger of finishing the 2012 campaign winless in conference play, having dropped all five WAC outings to this point. Not only has the team come up empty against league foes, it is also winless versus opponents from the Football Bowl Subdivision as well.
Way back on Aug. 30, the Aggies began the season on a positive note with a 49-19 win over Sacramento State at home, but since then it has been nothing but defeat, 10 straight to be precise, which is tied for second-longest losing streak in the nation at the moment.
Last week, the Aggies closed out their home schedule with a meeting against BYU and the Cougars blew their doors off in a 50-14 decision which means NMSU has not defeated another member of the Football Bowl Subdivision since taking out Fresno State in a 48-45 final on Nov. 12, 2011.
As for Texas State, a program which is a part of the FBS for the first time this season, it is only making a brief pit stop in the WAC for this season before moving on to the Sun Belt Conference beginning in 2013. Like NMSU, the Bobcats have a grand total of just two wins thus far, taking out Houston in a stunner to kick off the campaign and then topping woeful Idaho at home in the middle of October.
Since that victory over the Vandals, Texas STate has come up empty in five straight outings, including a 38-31 defeat at the hands of the other latest addition to the WAC, Texas-San Antonio.
Since beating up on the Hornets in the season opener, New Mexico State has scored as many as 28 points just one time and over the last five games has been limited to 14 points or less every time out. In those five defeats NMSU has scored a combined 49 points, which is still one point shy of the damage BYU laid on the team over the weekend.
The NMSU defense was touched for more than 500 yards overall, including 384 yards and six touchdowns through the air by just one quarterback who had seen very little action all year long.
On offense, NMSU was led by Andrew Manley who converted 13-of-24 passes for 158 yards and two touchdowns, but he was also sacked five times which brought the team's overall rushing total down to a mere 29 net yards. Star receiver Austin Franklin was limited to only three catches for 19 yards.
Franklin really has been one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise gloomy season for the Aggies, reeling in 69 balls for 1,154 yards and nine touchdowns. In terms of all-purpose yards, Franklin averages 124.1 ypg which places him third in the league.
Unfortunately for Franklin, the rest of the offense is making it that much harder for him to generate numbers, especially since the running attack ranks 116th in the nation with a mere 90.9 ypg. It may not be talked about that often, but the fact that the Aggies are 119th in the country in punt returns (1.2 yards per attempt) also weighs heavily into why the offense has been floundering.
Averaging an even 10 tackles per game, Davis Cazares is tops in the conference but even he has not been able to stem the tied when it comes to the program giving up 37.0 ppg.
Texas State head coach Dennis Franchione, now in his second go-around with the Bobcats after leading the program for a couple of years more than two decades ago, has seen the highs and lows of this squad on a weekly basis and last time out the group nearly made it into the win column once again, before absorbing the seven-point loss.
Shaun Rutherford threw for 324 yards and a two touchdowns on 31-of-42 passing but was sacked five times in the loss to UTSA. Rutherford also had a team-high 42 yards rushing and a touchdown on the ground. Isaiah Battle brought in seven passes for 119 yards and a touchdown to lead 10 different receivers that caught passes.
As well as Rutherford may have performed, given the amount of pressure he was under, the defense for the Bobcats just could not hold down UTSA as they allowed 499 yards of total offense, including almost 300 on the ground alone.
Stopping the run this season has been a very tough proposition for the Bobcats as they give up 237.4 ypg, which has led to 23 touchdowns for the opposition, Unfortunately, with 253.4 ypg allowed through the air as well, Texas State doesn't have much say in how teams attack it these days.
Rutherford has found some opportunities during the 2012 campaign, completing better than 65 percent of his pass attempts, but overall he has just 14 passing scores on 282 attempts.
Outside of a couple of games this season, Texas State really hasn't been too explosive on offense, but given how weak the Aggies are on that side of the ball, anything is possible this weekend.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas State 31, New Mexico State 24
11/28 10:39:53 ET