LAS CRUCES, NM – After spending the past two weeks on the streets, the NM State Football program returns home on Saturday for a 6pm kick-off against the South Carolina State Bulldogs at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
After returning home for the first time since August 28 against UTEP, Saturday’s contest against the state of South Carolina will be the first ever meeting between the two programs and the first time in program history that the Aggies against a member take up the MEAC conference.
HOW TO SEE:
Director of Broadcasting Adam Young (PBP) and color commentator Danny Knee will show Aggie fans all the action live on FloFootball, Comcast New Mexico and CW El Paso / Las Cruces. Fans can also watch the competition on Saturday on tape delay at BallySports Arizona on Saturday at 10:30 p.m. and Monday at 4 a.m. local time.
NM State fans can hear “Voice of the Aggies” Jack Nixon and Cory Lucas in the brand new Varsity Network app from LEARFIELD and the following Aggie Sports Network partners:
Artesia: KSVP 990 AM
Carlsbad: KAMQ 1240
El Paso: 1380 AM KYY
Gallup: 1230 AM, 94.9 FM KYVA
Las Cruces: KXPZ 99.5 FM
MATCHUP NOTES (State of South Carolina):
• NM state WR Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda was the first Aggie WR to hit a touchdown and a record for a missed touchdown in a game since WR Tyrian Taylor ran for a touchdown and tossed a touchdown against Kentucky on September 17, 2016. A former high school QB, Garcia-Castaneda met TE Thomas Whitford on a one-two for an 11-yard touchdown early in the second quarter, then caught a 75-yard touchdown two drives later. He is the first Aggie to have multiple touchdowns this season. Garcia-Castaneda missed the Aggies competition in the state of San Diego due to COVID-19 logs. The receiving touchdown was his first as Aggie.
BEND BUT DON’T BREAK:
• Aggie’s defense has been extremely stingy on three downs as well as in the redzone this season. NM State has held its opponents 47 points in a total of 13 Redzone trips (3.6 points per trip). After UTEP was able to score points in all four Redzone possibilities in week 0 (1 TD, 3 FG), the Aggies only have 5 out of 9 opponents in the Redzone in the last two weeks. The Aggies defense kept UNM goalless three times in the Redzone last week and ranks 31st on the entire Redzone defense.
The Aggies Defense is also one of the better units in the country at # 3. The teams only do 30% of their third downs against NM State, the 31st best mark in the country. NM State forced two turnovers on Saturday.
BROHARD OR GO HOME:
• Junior captain and linebacker Trevor Brohard should be back on duty for the aggies this week. Brohard missed the Aggies’ last two competitions due to COVID-19 logs.
NEW ADVERSARY, WHO ‘DIS?
• The Aggies will face an opponent for the first time on Saturday when the State of South Carolina visits Aggie Memorial Stadium. The Aggies will not only compete against SC ST in program history, but also against their first MEAC member in school history.
• After only one injury at the end of the season during the preseason and the first week, the “injury virus” has ravaged NM State for consecutive weeks. The Aggies lost the Missouri transfer Dominic Gicinto to a broken arm at the end of the season against San Diego State two weeks ago when he started as quarterback Jonah Johnson went down with a wrist injury in the first quarter of Saturday’s competition against UNM. Johnson’s status for Saturday’s fight against the state of South Carolina is in doubt. Backup quarterback Weston Eget, who missed the last two competitions due to a knee injury, is questionable for the competition on Saturday.
LOCATION OF THE NATION:
• Freshman corner Torren Union continues to impress for the Aggies. As the nephew of film star Gabrielle Union and former NBA superstar Dwyane Wade, Union moved from the state of South Dakota to the Aggies. In his first career start against UTEP, the Arizona native had six tackles and one pass breakup. In his second career start against San Diego State, Union had three tackles, a pass resolution, and a fumble rebound. Last week the corner had the best nine tackles of their career against UNM.
• Transfer of independence CC Syrus Dumas Qualified for the competition for the first time on Saturday. Dumas had to miss the first three games due to an NCAA clearinghouse matter. Dumas is expected to start corneback this week.
• Second quarterback Dino Maldonado was on Saturday afternoon after QB. put into action Jonah Johnson was forced out of the game due to injury. Maldonado arrived at NM State as a walk-on during fall camp from Ventura College. The native Californian moved from Portland State to Ventura College. Maldonado did not appear in game promotions for the Vikings but did play eight games for the Pirates in 2019. Maldonado threw 1,724 yards and 10 scores. The QB completed 20 of 28 passes for 314 yards and three scores.
After preparing as a backup last week due to Eget’s injury, Maldonado completed 13 of 34 passes for 192 yards and the 75-yard touchdown to Garcia-Castaneda. Maldonado also showed his speed, racing 46 yards on six tries, including a 37-yard scamper who initiated the Aggies’ first touchdown. Maldonado was named to start by the head coach this week Doug Martin during its weekly press conference on Tuesday. It will be the first start in Maldonado’s career.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES:
• The state of South Carolina go into Saturday’s game with a 2-0 aggregate record this season. The Bulldogs opened the 2021 season with a tough 45:42 loss to SWAC rivals Alabama A&M and a 49-3 setback at Clemson last Saturday.
• Quarterback Corey Fields Jr. has paved the way for the Bulldogs this season. The caller made 24-of-52 passes for 345 yards (172.5 / game) and a touchdown. Fields was limited to just 10 of 24 for 132 yards on Saturday against the nationally ranked Clemson. The QB was intercepted once and also 15 yards rand. In the Bulldogs opener against Alabama A&M, Fields was 14 of 28 for 213 yards and a touchdown. The QB also added 89 yards of rushing and a score on nine tries.
• Wide receiver Shaquan Davis was the Bulldogs’ top performer against Alabama A&M, catching five balls for 140 yards and one touchdown. The wide receiver missed Saturday’s game at Clemson and didn’t appear in the first two-deep.
• Cornerback and FCS All-American Decobie Durant is the Bulldogs’ most effective player in defense. The corner has made three pass breaks this season and recorded both of its interceptions this season against the Tigers on Saturday.
COACH SPEECH (HC DOUG MARTIN):
“I was really proud of the way our boys handled adversity in New Mexico last weekend. When we got into the game we had nine guys out there due to COVID-19 protocols and then we were on our third quarterback for most of the game. There were many opportunities for our boys to fold, but they kept fighting. We had it as a two-point game in the fourth quarter. I can’t say enough how hard our boys play and how hard they fight. We have a lot of things to do right now. There was a lot for our boys to tackle, so I’m really proud of the way our boys play. “
In the state of South Carolina:
This is a really good football team that the people here probably aren’t very familiar with. Coming from the Carolinas, I know a lot about the state of South Carolina. This is a program that has spawned many NFL players over the years. Coach [Oliver “Buddy”] Pough is a legend in this field and will be the most successful coach of all time there. Willie Jefferies has been there before and is a great legend in the Carolinas. This is a very proud program and has always been a winner. You have won several MEAC championships and will win more in the future. It’s a dynamic program and football is very important to the fans. It will be a very difficult task for us this week. ”
The Aggies will close a two-game home stand next week when the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors visit Las Cruces for kick-off at 6pm. The September 25th contest will serve as the annual AG Day and will also be the Aggies homecoming contest.