Ags look for win against rivals Miners
Each year, no matter what the records, two football programs separated by about 50 miles and an invisible state line tangle in a game with regional pride on the line.
The New Mexico State University football team plays host to rival Texas-El Paso Saturday, Sept 19 at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Kickoff is scheduled for 6 p.m.
The rivalry dates back to 1914. The Miners currently hold a 55-35-2 advantage in the series and have won the last six meetings between the two teams. The Aggies’ last win was a 34-33 victory on Sept. 20, 2008. Last year, UTEP grabbed a 42-24 win in El Paso.
Both the Aggies and Miners enter the I-10 showdown with identical 0-2 records. UTEP has started off with back-to-back poundings at the hands of Arkansas and Texas Tech, while NMSU was soundly beaten by Florida in its opener, but nearly knocked off Georgia State Sept. 12.
UTEP also enters the game without running back and offensive leader Aaron Jones who is now out for the season with an ankle injury.
As for the Aggies, they fell to Georgia State in front of a home crowd of 27,201. The crowd was the largest to ever attend a Sun Belt Conference game in Aggie Memorial Stadium. The previous high was 20,323 against Idaho on Oct. 13, 2001.
The Aggies had 529 yards of total offense, while Georgia State had 582 yards. Although NM State had 445 passing yards compared to the Panthers’ 372 passing yards, the visiting team racked up 210 rushing yards compared to the Aggies’ 84 rushing yards.
“At this point we didn’t stop the run and we didn’t play well enough on defense,” said head coach Doug Martin. “We didn’t give ourselves a chance. I thought our kids played hard and battled hard but we just have to keep working. We’re not quite there yet.”
Quarterback Tyler Rogers led NM State as he completed 31 of 55 passes for a career-high 445 yards. These yards rank ninth in the record books for NM State’s all-time single game passing yards. Additionally, Rogers racked up three touchdowns and one interception. Rogers now has 581 yards, four touchdowns and just one interception on the season.
Jaden Wright led the Aggie defense against the Panthers as he racked up 12 tackles, returned one fumble recovery for a touchdown and grabbed one interception. Wright leads the team with 18 tackles, one interception and one fumble recovery through the first two games.
“Offensively, taking care of the ball, we only had one turnover which was crucial,” said Martin. “We also got a couple of turnovers, which was big, so we were positive in turnover margin. If we continue to do that and stay true to who we are, we’re going to have a chance to win quite a few football games this year.”
Tyrian Taylor led the receiving corps against Georgia State as he amassed 206 yards on just 10 catches. With these yards, Taylor now ranks sixth all-time in the NM State record books for single game receiving yards. His catches included a 75-yard touchdown reception and a 29-yard touchdown reception. Taylor now has 225 receiving yards and two touchdowns. The junior averages 18.8 yards per catch.