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The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, November 30, 3:30 p.m. (ET)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Aggie Memorial Stadium (30,343) -- Las Cruces, New Mexico. Television: KGRT, ESPN3.com. Home Record: Idaho 1-4, NMSU 1-5. Away Record: Idaho 0-6, NMSU 0-5. Neutral Record: Idaho 0-0, NMSU 0-0. Conference Record: Idaho 0-0, NMSU 0-0. Series Record: Idaho leads, 14-5.
GAME NOTES: Former Western Athletic Conference foes get together in Las Cruces this weekend, as the New Mexico State Aggies battle the Idaho Vandals.
The 2013 campaign has been particularly brutal on both of these programs as they've combined to deliver just two wins in 22 opportunities. The lone victory for the Aggies came against Abilene Christian (34-29) during homecoming late last month, and since then the squad has bowed to Louisiana, Boston College, and Florida Atlantic.
NMSU, which won only one game all of last season, has not defeated another member of the FBS since topping Fresno State in 2011.
As for the Vandals, their only win of 2013 came against a pesky Temple team at home, 26-24, back in late September. The squad has lost six times since then, the most recent setback being an ugly 80-14 blowout to second-ranked Florida State last Saturday.
The all-time series between these two Independent programs currently stands at 14-5 in favor of Idaho.
The Vandals were one of two teams to surrender 80 points to an FBS opponent last weekend, bowing to second-ranked Florida State by 60 points in Tallahassee. Idaho gave up 645 yards of total offense to a Florida State squad that was 12-of-16 on third down, yet controlled the ball for under 27 minutes into the onslaught.
Offensively, quarterbacks Taylor Davis and Josh McCain combined to hit 21- of-45 passes for 286 yards and two touchdowns, but the former was sacked six times and tossed three interceptions. Dezmon Epps caught seven passes for a game-high 126 yards for a team that is last in the nation in scoring defense with a massive 48.8 ppg allowed.
At this point in the campaign, the Vandals are second-to-last nationally in yards allowed, giving up a whopping 541.8 ypg. The team is being taken advantage of on all sides, particularly through the air as foes generate a hefty 327.3 ypg. The yardage is one thing, but permitting 38 passing touchdowns is something else altogether.
James Baker might be the only solid performer on the offensive side of the ball for the Vandals these days, having posted 545 yards and six of their 12 rushing touchdowns, but still he hasn't made enough of a difference to change an outcome for the better.
The Aggies went down for the fourth straight time on Saturday, losing to Florida Atlantic by a score of 55-10. Quarterback Andrew McDonald converted 13-of-27 passes for 136 yards, while Austin Franklin caught four passes for 58 of those yards as the team lost for the 10th time in 11 outings. McDonald also ran the ball 12 times for a net of 11 yards and a score for a program that generated just 278 yards of total offense, compared to 585 yards for the Owls.
Like Idaho, the defense for the Aggies has been abysmal this season, currently last in the FBS in yards allowed with a staggering 557.7 ypg permitted. The team has allowed less than four touchdowns only once, which is why foes can expect to score anywhere from 40 points an up against a New Mexico State defense that just cannot get off the field fast enough.
Perhaps the only bright spot for the Aggies this season has been Franklin with his 46 catches for 606 yards and five touchdowns, but one has to wonder how much better his numbers would have been had he appeared in every game during the season.
Neither one of these teams is anything to write home about. If the offenses weren't so overshadowed by such horrific defenses then there might be some interest in this meeting, but it is tough to identify what to expect given how poor the squads have performed all season long. However, the fact that NMSU is playing at home has to count for something.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: New Mexico State 41, Idaho 32
11/27 11:08:42 ET
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