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New Mexico State Football Preview
by Matt Fargo - 08/18/2008
No. 95 New Mexico St. Aggies
2007 Record ~ 4-9 SU ~ 4-7 ATS
Starters Returning ~ Offense (7) Defense (7)
The Aggies are in the 4th season of coach Hal Mummeâ€™s â€œAir Raidâ€쳌 offense but so far, nothing has come of it. After going 0-12 in his first season, New Mexico St. improved to 4-8 in 2006 and while it was supposed to make a bigger jump last season, injuries cut that goal short. The Aggies are healthy again, they have a top name defensive coordinator in place and the offense should be just as lethal. A trip to a bowl game for the first time in 47 years is the quest but it is far from a guarantee.
The offense revolves around quarterback Chase Holbrook who is entering his third year as the starter and the fourth year in this system under Mumme. He was banged up with a rib injury for the majority of last season but if healthy, he is one of the most dangerous signal callers in the nation. He has two of the best wideouts in the conference in Chris Williams and A.J. Harris while his offensive line is experienced inside. The running game is usually not a big factor but does have some talent.
The defense is where the problems occurred for the most part last year. The Aggies finished 107th in the nation in scoring defense and a team cannot win much with that sort of non-production. New Mexico St. was only outgained by 6.4 ypg yet was outscored by 12.2 ppg. Enter defensive guru Joe Lee Dunn and his infamous 3-3-5 defense. It is a ball-hawking defense that looks to create turnovers. The Aggies had only seven interceptions last season and finished 113th in turnover margin so it can only get better.
New Mexico St. starts off with a game against Nichols St. followed by trips to Nebraska and UTEP before concluding the non-conference schedule at home against rival New Mexico. The WAC schedule is not horrible as the Aggies get Boise St. and Hawaii at home while catching the two worst teams, Idaho and Utah St. on the road. Those latter two are must win swing games. Donâ€™t be surprised to find the Aggies involved in more close games this year meaning they could be a very good take with some value.