Texas State (4-3) at New Mexico State (2-6) (ET)

FACTS & STATS: Site: Aggie Memorial Stadium (30,343) — Las Cruces, New
Mexico. Television: AggieVision. Home Record: Texas State 2-2, New Mexico
State 1-2. Away Record: Texas State 2-1, New Mexico State 1-4. Neutral Record:
Texas State 0-0, New Mexico State 0-0. Conference Record: Texas State 2-1, New
Mexico State 1-3. Series Record: Texas State leads, 1-0.

GAME NOTES: Having lost their last six games played, the New Mexico State
Aggies will desperately try to put a stop to their skid against the Texas
State Bobcats in a Sun Belt Conference clash at Aggie Memorial Stadium

Texas State has won three of its last four games, including last weekend’s
22-18 comeback victory against UL-Monroe on the road. The Bobcats trailed for
a majority of the game, but were able to score two fourth-quarter touchdowns
to take the lead for good with just under three and a half minutes to play.

New Mexico State got a much-needed weekend off after dropping its last six
games. The Aggies won the first two contests of the regular season, including
a conference matchup with Georgia State early on, but haven’t been able to
pull out of their nose dive ever since.

The two teams have only met once on the football field in their program
histories. Texas State holds the 1-0 advantage all-time after defeating New
Mexico State in the 2012 regular-season finale.

Texas State fell behind 13-0 at halftime against ULM last weekend, and trailed
18-7 at the end of the third quarter. But a touchdown and two-point conversion
with 6:50 to play got the Bobcats to within one score of taking the lead, and
then a Robert Lowe touchdown run with 3:29 to play gave the team its first and
only lead. The defense held together in the final minutes to maintain the
victory. Lowe’s 91 yards and two touchdowns were crucial in the winning

Lowe leads the team in rushing this season with 529 yards on the ground,
adding in four touchdown carries to his stat line. But it’s Terrence Franks
that has the most rushing scores (six), and quarterback Tyler Jones that tops
the squad with 103 totes this season. The Bobcats average an eye-popping 231.7
rushing ypg, and have scored 17 rushing touchdowns in seven games played. The
team is scoring 32.1 ppg.

Jones has proven to be a weapon in both the passing and rushing games. Through
the air, Jones has passed for 1,466 yards, 14 touchdowns and just five
interceptions. His 67.7 completion percentage and 148.2 passer efficiency
rating are both ranked in the top 30 in the nation this year. His four rushing
touchdowns and 300 yards on the ground have helped his team achieve a winning
record to this point. Pass catcher Jafus Gaines leads the team with four
scoring grabs.

Last weekend’s game against ULM proved to be the first time in a series of six
games in which Texas State’s defense didn’t allow an opponent to score at
least 30 points. Starting with Navy all the way back in Week 2 of the season
and lasting up until the Bobcats’ contest with Louisiana back on Oct. 14, the
team surrendered an unbelievable amount of points. Opponents are scoring an
average of 27.6 ppg against Texas State, although the Bobcats have only
surrendered seven passing touchdowns in as many games.

Linebacker David Mayo has been an absolute monster for Texas State this season
on the defensive side of the ball. He’s registered a team-high 105 tackles
(first in the nation) for an average of 15 tackles per game (also first in the
nation). Add in two forced fumbles, a quarterback hurry and a pair of pass
breakups, and Mayo is the heart and soul of that Bobcats defense. Michael
Odiari leads Texas State with 9.5 tackles for loss and 7.5 sacks, while safety
Germod Williams tops the squad with three interceptions. They’ll all look to
be extremely active against a suffering Aggies offense.

New Mexico State hung tough with conference foe Idaho two weeks ago when the
Aggies were last active, but the Vandals were able to chip away and slowly
defeat their Sun Belt rivals. The Aggies could only manage 11 first downs in
the contest, along with 314 total offensive yards. Four turnovers helped to
bury New Mexico State in that loss.

Turnovers have plagued the team all season long, especially to quarterback
Tyler Rogers, who owns an 11-15 touchdown-to-interception ratio. Even though
his interception total is high, he’s still completing 61.8 percent of his
passes, and is managing a 219.4 passing ypg stat. He has two rushing scores
this season as well, but didn’t start the game against Idaho. That duty went
to freshman Andrew Allen, who was replaced by Rogers late in the game.

The team’s greatest hope for offensive success this season lies with the run
game. The Aggies are averaging 170 rushing ypg through eight contests, and
have scored 14 times on the ground in that span. Larry Rose III is the team’s
top back, which he displayed against Idaho two weeks ago. Rose dashed for 155
yards and a pair of touchdowns in the loss, and has 530 yards and five scores
through six games played. He’ll need to be on point once again this weekend if
the team wants any shot against Texas State.

The lack of success for the Aggies this season can’t just be solely attributed
to the offense. The team’s defense has been less than stellar as well,
allowing 36.2 ppg to opponents, including a season-high 63 points in a 63-7
defeat at the hands of SEC power LSU. The last time an opponent scored fewer
than 29 points against New Mexico State was in Week 1 against FCS program Cal
Poly (10 points).

Sophomore linebacker Rodney Butler leads the Aggies with 92 tackles this
season, adding three tackles for loss, an interception and two forced fumbles
to his resume. Derek Ibekwe has 78 stops, and Kawe Johnson adds 67. New Mexico
State has had serious issues getting to opponents’ quarterbacks, registering
only four sacks and four quarterback hurries through eight games. Defensive
back Winston Rose (four interceptions) will likely be busy again trying to
pick up for the lack of success up front.

New Mexico State may be the home team, but there are some serious concerns
with this team moving forward, primarily at the quarterback position. Whether
it’s Allen or Rogers that gets the start under center, the turnovers have to
stop. The longer a defense is on the field, the more likely it is that it will
give up a greater sum of points. That should once again be the case, as Jones,
Lowe and the rest of the Bobcats will be raring to go in a fight for the
summit of the Sun Belt.

Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Texas State 34, New Mexico State 17