They went 1-2 in their previous OOC games, picking up an expected win over FCS Albany, losing in a close game with Miami (FL) and well, getting Wisconsin’d by Wisconsin.
With the Aggies being an independent team without a formal national TV/streaming contract, they can be very hard to find information on. Thankfully, we’re good buds with one of the best blogs for New Mexico State news, and got former Belter and Underdog Dynasty manager Nic Lewis, the founder of Forgotten5,com, to join us for some tea and talk!
This season was always going to be a uphill battle from the start.
Nobody in their right Minds was expecting New Mexico State to do anything against Washington State and Alabama on the road other than leave those two games with a paycheck and healthy players.
But even that couldn’t happen since Roy Lopez got hurt and is now deciding to redshirt and come back next season.
The defense eventually recovered from that and has played well, but unfortunately the offense has struggled to get out of its own way and has yet to be able to consistently produce enough offensive momentum to be a serious threat to win the game.
Three turnovers each against the Cougars in the Crimson Tide? Okay, that’s clearly a much better opponent and things happen.
At home against San Diego State, another four turnovers, and two of those resulted in San Diego State starting offensive drives inside the New Mexico State 30-yard line, both of which produced touchdowns.
Against New Mexico, only a single turnover, but that one turnover was a pick-six in a game the Aggies lost by three points.
Against Fresno State, another three turnovers, one of which was returned 91 yards for a touchdown, a second of which put Fresno State starting a drive in field-goal range.
Against Liberty, another three turnovers, two of which were an interception on third-and-goal and a fumble on second-and-goal in a game the Aggies lost by seven points.
You may have noticed the trend by now, that the New Mexico State Aggies or a team who sits at 0-6 but if they could have their turnover margin somewhere closer to -4 instead of -14 they could be 2 -4 or 3-3 at this point.
It’s a minor miracle that the defense has only given up a little over 30 points per game in the last month considering how often they’ve had to defend a short field. The offensive struggles have been a strange mix of receivers dropping balls, a quarterback getting happy feet, and an offense that just doesn’t know what to do when it doesn’t have the space to move around and create plays in the red zone.
Facing a team that has had similar if not as bad turnover issues could be just what the doctor ordered, or it could be a recipe for disaster, and there’s no real way to tell.
On offense, there’s three names to know. Josh Adkins is the quarterback come hell or high water, which has involved a good bit of high water at the moment but that’s mostly been in the form of the interceptions (11 in six games, to be exact.)
Jason Huntley is the leading rusher, but his biggest issue is that he’s a small speedy guy who is best in space, and the offense thus far hasn’t really given him the time necessary to execute those please.
The receiving corps is anchored by Tony Nicholson, a transfer from Baylor, who has been Adkins’ go to receiver but hasn’t always been the most reliable option in terms of catch rate.
On defense, Jahvan Fergerson is the captain and the leading tackler filling the shoes that Terrill Hanks left empty in the front seven. Shamad Lomax is perhaps the best defender in the secondary, but Austin Perkins is the man with two interceptions so far this season.
Xander Yarberough is the intriguing one to watch and the x Factor. A converted tight end, he’s been making some noise in the pass rush and is bound to start producing more chaos as he gets more comfortable.
Many thanks to Nic for joining us! You can follow his work, along with the work of other team blogs under the F5 umbrella, on Twitter at @RememberF5, or on Forgotten5.com!