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Wyoming/New Mexico State Preview

Cowboys at Aggies

NCAA Football: Arizona Bowl-New Mexico State vs Utah State
New Mexico State is coming off of a big season where the Aggies won the Arizona Bowl.
Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Game Time - Broadcast:

Saturday, August 25th at 8:00 PM (Mountain) - ESPN2 Broadcast

Getting to Know the New Mexico State Aggies:

New Mexico State had a special season in 2017, finishing the year 7-6 with a win in the Arizona Bowl. In doing so, New Mexico State had their first winning season since 2002. More impressively, New Mexico State went to their first bowl game in fifty-seven years. Prior to 2017, the last year New Mexico State went to a bowl game was in 1960. That’s the same year New Mexico State became ‘New Mexico State’ as it was previously known as ‘New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts’ or ‘New Mexico A&M’. That’s a pretty large dry spell that was finally broken.

As to what has changed from 2017 to 2018, New Mexico State is now an Independent. The Sun Belt did not renew a membership with New Mexico State, so the Aggies are going it alone in the FBS. The offense lost much of their production. Gone are Tyler Rogers at QB, Larry Rose III at RB, and Jaleel Scott at WR. Tyler Rogers started all, four seasons at New Mexico State at QB, leaving the Aggies having thrown for over 10,000 yards in his college career. Larry Rose III was another four-year starter, and he accounted for over 4,500 yards rushing as an Aggie. Jaleel Scott was the go-to receiver for Rogers last season, finishing 2017 with 76 receptions for 1,079 yards and 9 TD’s. Scott was probably the best athlete on the 2017 New Mexico State team and was drafted by the Ravens in the 4th round of the draft this year.

Below is an amazing catch Scott made last season that showcases just how talented he really is:

Otherwise, Doug Martin is back for his 6th season as head coach of the Aggies. The New Mexico State defense returns a lot of experience from what was a pretty decent unit. The only problem is that the 2017 defense had a pretty good offense that scored points for the Aggies (29.3 per game) and allowed the defense a rest by putting up some yardage. The Aggie defense will likely need to carry New Mexico State early in the year - much like Wyoming’s defense likely will have to carry the Cowboys. Whether the New Mexico State defense will be able to do that, we’ll h ave to wait and see.

The other big takeaway might be that New Mexico State did not beat a team that finished above .500 in 2017. Utah State went 6-6 to qualify for the Arizona Bowl, but finished 6-7 after that loss. That Utah State win was the best win that New Mexico State had last year, and it took a 4th quarter drive to tie that game with an overtime to win it.

Here is the play that won the Arizona Bowl for New Mexico State in OT - the last play for New Mexico State prior to stepping out on the field versus Wyoming this Saturday:

The Matchup:

The Wyoming defense returns a lot of experience from a disruptive unit. The Cowboys should have the upper-hand versus an Aggie offense that is replacing so much experience.

On the other side of the field, New Mexico State returns most of a solid defense. Wyoming returns experience at most positions from an offensive unit that struggled much of 2017. Wyoming is looking to break-in a new QB in Tyler Vander Waal who will be making his first ever start on the road. Advantage to New Mexico State.

On special teams, New Mexico State and Wyoming both return the main characters from last season. Overall, Wyoming was better than New Mexico State in this area in 2017.

The Outcome:

This should be a close game. Most likely a low-scoring one where both defenses get the better of the other team’s offense. Turnovers will likely play a big factor. The Wyoming defense was great in this area in 2017. The Cowboy offense will need to be smart with the ball on the road, and the Wyoming defense could really help their offense out by creating some turnovers. Wyoming is favored by a 4.5 spread. That feels about right. Wyoming has a better roster, but New Mexico State has home field advantage. Final score should be something like 20-14 Cowboys.