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Aggies’ history-making season comes back to Cruces


As recently as Oct. 3, the Aggie football team’s record was 2-3. They had lost to Hawaii on the road, 20-17, and were preparing for their first-ever Wednesday night game, a Conference USA home game against Florida International.

They won 34-17.

The Aggies have not lost since.

Their record heading into the season’s final home game at 2 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 25, is 9-3. NM State hasn’t won nine games in a season since their 1960 masterpiece season, which ended with an 11-0 record and a Sun Bowl victory.

It’s fun to look back at history, but the last three weeks, the 2023 Aggies have made their own.

Three weeks ago, they clinched a post-season bowl berth. They are only the second Aggie team in history to do that.

Two weeks ago, they clinched a berth in the Conference USA championship game. They are the first Aggie team ever to play in a conference title game. This one will be Dec. 1, against Liberty, at Liberty, who is undefeated at 11-0 and ranked No. 22 in the country.

And last week, they were the first Aggie team to beat a Southeastern Conference team, with their nation-shocking 31-10 victory over Auburn in Alabama in front of more than 88,000 people, almost three times as many as Aggie Memorial Stadium will hold.

NM State dominated every phase of the game against Auburn. They scored first, they scored last, they made no turnovers, Coach Jerry Kill and his staff made nervy calls to go for it on fourth down in a couple of key situations.

The Aggies outrushed Auburn 213 yards to 65. They outpassed Auburn 201-148. They dominated time of possession 39 minutes to 21. They even outsacked Auburn 4-1.

Before they head off to the Conference Championship game, however, the Aggies have that last home game, against Jacksonville State, a team that’s been making its own history this season.

Frequently confused with Jacksonville in Florida, the Gamecocks are from Jacksonville, Alabama, and are playing their first season in the Football Bowl Subdivision. Their record is 8-3 and, like the Aggies, their only Conference USA loss has been to Liberty.

The NM State-Jacksonville State game comes at 2 p.m. the Saturday afternoon after Thanksgiving at Aggie Memorial Stadium.