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New Mexico St. @ Utah State Preview: Aggie vs Aggie Throwdown

USU looks to rebound from a tough loss with a win over a weaker NMSU

NCAA Football: Arizona Bowl-New Mexico State vs Utah State Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Location: Logan, UT (Maverik Stadium)

Date/Time: Saturday, September 8th at 6:00 p.m. (MDT)

Television: N/A

Streaming: Facebook (Stadium College Football)

Radio: Aggie Sports Network (92.3 FM local)

Head-to-Head: USU is 30-8 all-time against NMSU

What to look for:

The Aggies Up-tempo Offense:

- Utah State came out blazing against Sparty last week, cruising to an opening score in just two minutes and two seconds. That’s thanks to an up-tempo, virtually no huddle offense orchestrated by QB Jordan Love and Offensive Coordinator David Yost. This offensive strategy gave Michigan State’s defense fits, so it will certainly give any other teams defensive unit trouble as well.

Keeping up the Red Zone Success:

- The Aggies went 3/3 in the red zone last week, scoring three touchdowns on each trip inside the 20. It doesn’t get much better than a 100% success rate, so keeping that up will pay very nice dividends. The running game is a threat from anywhere on the field, it only gets scarier when the offense is so close to the endzone.

Taking Advantage of NMSU’s Paltry Defense:

- Through two games, New Mexico State’s defense has allowed an average of 38.5 points and 485.5 yards of offense per game. The key stat within those numbers is the 303.5 rushing yards they allow on average. If there’s any time for the USU running backs core to shine, it’s this game. Think rushing isn’t important? USU has won 26 of its last 29 games when rushing for over 100 yards.

Spreading the ball out:

- While the rushing attack is potent, the air game is just as dangerous. Utah State was able to keep up against a stalwart MSU defense by spreading the ball to multiple targets. In fact, 10 different players caught at least one pass last week. Highlighted by TE Dax Raymond bringing in 7 catches for 76 yards and WR Jordan Nathan with 4 for 64. Keep that up, and the defense will have to choose between defending the pass or the run, leaving it open for attack.

Revenge for the Arizona Bowl:

- It was nice to see New Mexico State win a bowl game for the first time in 57 years, unfortunately the victory came against these very same Utah State Aggies in the 2017 Arizona Bowl. While NMSU doesn’t look like the same team USU saw in the bowl game, revenge is most definitely still on the mind of the Utah State players. They’d like to make up for what was such a narrow defeat.

PREDICTION:

Coming off an impressive and passionate effort against Michigan State, Utah State gets to come home to Maverik Stadium and play in front of their fans, The Herd. There are myriad reasons why Utah State should win this game: revenge for the bowl loss, home-field advantage, the porous New Mexico State defense, and the USU defense’s elite ability to take the ball away. Don’t want to get too overconfident here, but this should be an easy one. Here’s to hoping I don’t regret those words.

Utah State 35, New Mexico State 6

Follow Alex Eiden (UnderDogsAlways) on Twitter @alexyatta_ and follow the MountainWestConnection @MWCConnection