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Aggie football brings us together


Perhaps the most community-unifying event I’ve ever seen in Las Cruces didn’t even happen in Las Cruces.

It took place four hours west of here in Tucson, Arizona.

You may have been there – it seemed half of Las Cruces was – for the 2017 Arizona Bowl, and the New Mexico State University Aggies’ exciting, last-play, overtime victory over Utah State. NMSU alumni from all over the country made its way to the Sonoran Desert, and Tucson was alight with Aggies for three days. Even the gas stations between Las Cruces become impromptu Aggie Fan Club meetings.

And when the game ended, it was pandemonium in the University of Arizona football stadium as Aggie fans celebrated. My favorite memory of the night came as the PA announcer repeated, “Fans, please refrain from going on the field.” At that moment, Aggie legend Barbara Hubbard, then a spring chicken at 89 years old, was climbing over the rails to get onto the field.

This year’s edition of Aggie football is making even more history than that team, and Las Cruces has a chance to celebrate them this weekend. The game starts at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, at Aggie Memorial Stadium against Jacksonville State.

By 2 p.m. on Saturday, we should all be emerged from our Thanksgiving turkey comas, and recovered from our Black Friday shopping injuries. What better way to cap off the weekend than watching the Aggies on a beautiful fall afternoon. It could be a mini-version of that Arizona Bowl.

It’s likely to be a very good game. Despite the Aggies’ stunning dismantling of Auburn last week, doing the same to Jacksonville State is easier said than done. Like NMSU, Jacksonville State is also 6-1 in Conference USA. The Aggies could use a loud crowd to help them shake the common letdown that can come following a huge upset victory.

There’s a possibility of another magical bowl game experience. Conference USA has a tie-in with the New Mexico Bowl, and it is certain that bowl game’s officials would want NMSU there, bringing the fans and money the Aggies would bring. That game is scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 16. A packed stadium full of Aggie fans in Albuquerque would be a sight to see.

However, there’s no guarantee the Aggies will go to the New Mexico Bowl. C-USA has tie-ins with other bowls, and there is still quite a bit of football to be played, and the bowl matchups won’t be announced until Dec. 3.

Of course, we all hope the Aggies get to stay in New Mexico.

But nothing’s changing the Saturday, Nov. 25, game at Aggie Memorial Stadium. It will be a great sendoff for our football team, and a great community celebration for Las Cruces.

Don’t have a ticket? Check out the coupon for a $10 one on Page 23 of this edition of the Bulletin.