Aggies host Panthers in home opener
The opening game was supposed to be rough, and it was.
New Mexico State University’s football team fell 61-13 at the University of Florida, Saturday, Sept. 5.
The Aggies, though, get a chance for a fresh start as they play their home opener and their first Sun Belt Conference game of 2015 against the Georgia State Panthers, at 6 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 12 at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Both NMSU and Georgia State enter the contest 0-1.
The Aggies and the Panthers met for the first time last year in the second game of the 2014 season. NMSU scored with 15 seconds remaining to complete a 17-point comeback in a 34-31 victory in the Georgia Dome.
That was also the last time NMSU won a game.
In the season opener at Florida, the Aggies played in front of 90,227 fans.
Quarterback Tyler Rogers led NM State as he completed 14-of-27 passes for 128 yards and threw for one touchdown.
“I think we’ve made a lot of progress with our quarterback and how he played, and taking care of the football,” said head coach Doug Martin. “Turnovers are one thing that really decimated us last year. To come out of the game against Florida with only one turnover was huge.”
Additionally, running back Larry Rose III racked up 106 all-purpose yards with a game-high 64 rushing yards and a teamhigh 42 receiving yards. The receiving yards were just eight shy of his career- high 50.
After allowing an average of almost 310 rushing yards per game last year, the NM State defense held Florida to 224 rushing yards, with only one Gator collecting more than 50 rushing yards.
“I thought defensively we played much better against the run, which was huge for us,” said Martin. “What our defense has to do is cause turnovers. We got one tonight and that was key for us. But, the biggest thing is our defense playing tougher against the run.”
Linebacker Terrill Hanks had a solid performance in his collegiate debut as he collected a game-high seven tackles and a sack. Hanks also garnered a forced fumble that, six plays later, allowed Rose to score his first touchdown of the season.
As for Georgia State, the Panthers fell behind 23-6 at home to Charlotte before a fourth-quarter rally came up short; they dropped a 23-20 decision to the 49ers.
The Panthers tallied 93 rushing yards with running back Taz Bateman contributing 64 rushing yards. Quarterback Nick Arbuckle completed 25 of his 43 pass attempts. Arbuckle also threw for two touchdowns, had one interception and was sacked twice on the night. Wide receiver Robert Davis led the receiving corps with 57 yards. Overall, the Panthers racked up 299 receiving yards.
The game against Georgia State will be televised on AggieVision and will be broadcast on AM 570 in Las Cruces.