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NMSU veterans coming on strong as Senior Day approaches


As the New Mexico State Aggies try for a second-straight win this weekend (Nov. 23) against I-10 rival UTEP, they are riding the exploits of their old hands.

Senior all-purpose runner Jason Huntley, the durable, diminutive speedster from Arlington, Texas, exploded for a career-high 174 rushing yards and a touchdown in last weekend’s season-first victory, over UIW at Aggie Memorial Stadium.

Senior defensive back Jared Phipps, also of Arlington, intercepted two passes against UIW, as the Aggie defense tallied a season-best 6.0 sacks and forced two turnovers.

And, graduate student wide receiver Tony Nicholson of Grand Prairie, Texas, earned honorable-mention recognition for the Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award in recording six catches, a career-high 101 yards and two receiving touchdowns in the Aggies' 41-28 victory over the Cardinals.

The Campbell award recognizes the top offensive player in Division I football who also exhibits the enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community, tenacity and determination to overcome adversity. The nominee must have been born in Texas, graduated from a Texas high school or played at a Texas-based college.

Fittingly, the veterans will look for an encore in their final home game Saturday on Senior Day. Kickoff is 2 p.m. inside Aggie Memorial.

"Hopefully, they'll be ready to move forward to … playing a tough UTEP team and a rival,” Head Coach Doug Martin said after the UIW game. “We'll see if we can hang on to that trophy. That's going to be our bowl game."

The Miners lead the all-time series 57-37-2, including eight wins in a row from 2009-2016. The Aggies have won the last two, including 27-20 in El Paso last season.

The 2019 versions of these teams have been Bottom 10-worthy. The Miners and Aggies are both 1-9 but heading in opposite directions. The Miners won their first game of the season (over Houston Baptist) and now have lost nine straight. The Aggies lost their first nine before finally winning last week.

The Miners are led by quarterback Kai Locksley (871 yards passing, 3 TDs), running back Treyvon Hughes (593 yards rushing, 11 TDs) and wide receiver Jacob Cowing (20 receptions, 2 TDs).

Teaming up with sophomore quarterback Josh Adkins, Nicholson leads the Aggies in every receiving category: total receptions (55), receiving yards (610), yards per reception (11.09), receiving yards per game (61.0) and touchdowns (5).

His five receiving touchdowns are the most in a single season for an Aggie since current Baltimore Raven Jaleel Scott logged nine touchdowns in 2017.

Tickets for this weekend’s game can be purchased at the Pan American Center or by calling 833-AGGIEUP.

Marty Racine may be reached at editor@lascrucesbulletin.com.