The Aggies ultimately took a step in the proper direction in Dewayne Walker’s 3rd year as head coach. Although the Aggies ended up with just a 4-9 mark, they were more competitive all through and two of their losses came by six points or fewer. They were also able to beat a Big 10 opponent in Minnesota.
The Aggies have a chance to get more victories this season as the WAC is weaker is without Nevada, Fresno State and Hawaii. They lose some big hitters though so nothing is for certain.
New Mexico State ranked sixth in the league in points with 24.5 points/game and they finished fifth in the Conference with 398.1 yards/game of total offense. Almost all of their offense came thru the passing game as they averaged 273.1 yards/game, good for 3rd in the Conference.
Sophomore quarterback Andrew Manly was the starter last season until suffering a torn ACL in week 3. He is going to be relied upon to keep the Aggies among the top-flight passing teams in the league. For that to occur, he’s going to need playmakers to emerge and the young offensive line to hold it’s own.
WR Taveon Rogers and running back Kenny Turner have since left and the Aggies must find someone to replace their numbers. Rogers brought in 59 passes for 1,048 yards and 9 TDs last year, while Turner ran for 1,074 yards and 10 scores. Wide receivers Kemonte ‘ Bateman and Austin Franklin are both counted on to duplicate Roger’s production. Robert Clay is ready to come in and pick up the load at running back.
The offensive line is dealing with the loss of three starters and could be made to put 3 underclassmen in the starting line-up. Luckily , junior left tackle Davonte Wallace is back to lead the unit.
The New Mexico State defense continued to struggle last year as they ended up dead last in the league in total yards given up and scoring defense with 462.2 yards and 36.8 points given up per game. They were not able to limit the rush as they rated last in the league with 218.8 running yards allowed per game.
Their defense will yet again be the weakness of the team, but as rotten they used to be a year ago, they might be able to post better stats in 2012. The return of senior defensive end Donte Savage should ideally supply a lift and the addition of one or two junior college transfers should help as well. One being Kalvin Cruz, who should start.
Junior Bryan Bonilla, the school’s top returning tackler, leads a linebacker unit that should also get a boost from the addition of a junior college transfer in Trashaun Nixon.
While New Mexico State should be better up front this year, they're going to be worse in the back where four starters must be replaced.
Conference Prediction: 4th Place
New Mexico State could actually win 5 times this year, as they have winnable games against Sacramento State, New Mexico, Texas-San Antonio and Idaho to start the season. They might then face some tough opponents in Utah State, Louisiana Tech, Auburn, San Jose State and BYU. Those 5 games are complicated matchups and could finish up in defeats. Their season finale against Texas State though is another winnable game which could put their record to five wins in 2012.
If the they can somehow beat San Jose State, who they lost to 34-24 last season, or UTEP, who they lost to 16-10 last season, then they could play for a bowl game for the 1st time since 1960.Like this blog post? Buy me a coffee or send me a tip!!!