Nova Home Loans Arizona Bowl: Aggies vs Aggies

Las Cruces, NM - The New Mexico State football team concludes its historic season with a 57-year rematch in the making against Utah State at the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl on Dec. 29 at 3:30 p.m. MT in Tucson, Ariz. at Arizona Stadium.

 

WHERE TO WATCH

The NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl can be watched on the CBS Sports Network. Dave Ryan handles the play-by-play with Corey Chavous set to be the analyst and Melanie Collins serves as the sideline reporter.

 

LISTEN UP!

Fans can also listen in to the game on the Aggie Sports Network with NM State Athletics/US Bank Hall of Famer Jack Nixon on the call and Cory Lucas as the analyst. The broadcast can be heard on the flagship station, 99.5 FM KXPZ or with the TuneIn app.

 

Affiliates:        

Alamagordo - 103.7 FM KNMZ

Albuquerque - 1150 AM KNMM

Carlsbad - 1240 AM KAMQ

El Paso - 1380 AM KHEY

Gallup - 1230 AM, 94.9 FM KYVA

Las Vegas - 107.1 FM KMDS

 

STAY CONNECTED

Get up to the minute information and news about the NM State football team all season on Twitter by following @NMStateFootball, on Instagram by following @NMStateFB and through Facebook.com/NMSUAthletics.

 

LOOKING AT UTAH STATE

Utah State is 6-6 on the season and finished tied for fourth place in the Mountain Division of the Mountain West with a 4-4 record after concluding its regular season with a 38-35 loss at Air Force on Nov. 25.

 

Offensively, USU is led by quarterback Jordan Love, who is 104-of-191 (.545) passing for 1,377 yards (125.2 ypg) with eight touchdowns and six interceptions. Running back LaJuan Hunt leads the team in rushing with 695 yards on 149 carries (4.7 ypc/57.9 ypg) with 10 touchdowns, and wide receiver Ron’quavion Tarver has 40 receptions for 472 yards (11.8 ypr/39.3 ypg) with seven touchdowns.

 

Defensively, linebacker Suli Tamaivena leads the team with 109 tackles, which includes 3.0 sacks and 6.5 tackles for loss, to go along with two fumble recoveries, while junior Gaje Ferguson has 86 tackles, which includes 1.0 sacks and 2.0 tackles for loss, to go along with one forced fumble.

 

The USU secondary contains AP Second-Team All-American Jalen Davis who has five interceptions with three returned to the house this season which leads the nation.

 

Also earning all-american honors was placekicker Dominik Eberle who was named to the second-team by Phil Steele. Eberle was also named a Lou Groza Award finalist.

 

As a team, USU is averaging 31.0 points and 393.8 yards of total offense (223.7 passing, 170.1 rushing), and allowing 27.0 points and 401.7 yards of total offense (219.9 rushing, 181.8 passing).

 

THE DRIVE

The final game of the regular season saw the Aggies make history with a 22-17 victory over South Alabama to earn bowl eligibility. The game was not for the faint-hearted, however, when it came down to the Aggies final drive.

 

With the game on the line, the Aggies had 83 yards to cover. Tyler Rogers was 5-of-7 to open the drive, including a juggling catch by Jonathan Boone on third down to put NM State on the South Alabama side of the field. Just four plays later, Larry Rose III put up a pair of rushes to get the Aggies just seven yards from the end zone.

Seven yards out, Rogers surveyed his options rolling out of the pocket and found Cramer in the back of the end zone for six. The Aggie defense then stifled the Jaguars to seal the victory and gave the team its sixth win of the season.

 

HISTORY IN THE MAKING

The Aggies made history this season in the City of Crosses ending a 57-year drought and set multiple records along the way:

- On Dec. 3 New Mexico State accepted an invitation to the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl, setting up a rematch 57 years in the making against Utah State.

- The Aggies ended the longest bowl drought in the NCAA.

- The win in the regular-season finale made the Aggies bowl eligible for the first time since 2002.

- NM State closed out the season with back-to-back wins for the first time since 2015 and moved Doug Martin into the top-10 all-time for wins in program history.

- With eight touchdown receptions in 2017 Jaleel Scott moved into 10th all-time for receiving touchdowns in NM State history with 13.

- Larry Rose III moved into second all-time in school history with 36 rushing touchdowns, just one shy of tying James “Preacher” Pilot for the record.

- Tyler Rogers moved himself into second all-time in passing attempts, completions, touchdowns and yards. Rogers trails current NM State tight ends coach Chase Holbrook for each of the records.

- The Aggies set a new single-game high in program history with 11 sacks against Idaho on Nov. 25. This topped the previous high of eight set on Sept. 26, 1987 against Angelo State.

- The Aggies finished the season with 41 sacks, which set a new single-season high for the program.

- NM State concluded the regular season with six wins which was the most for the Aggies during the Doug Martin era.

- The team set a new program record with 11 Aggies earning postseason All-Sun Belt honors.

- With a 6-6 finish the Aggies finished at or above .500 for the first time since 2002 when they went 7-5.

 

AGAINST ALL ODDS

The Aggies were 1-of-10 teams out of the 130 programs playing in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) that played less than six games at home in 2017. Of those 10, just NM State, Navy, ULM and UTEP also had a schedule with zero Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) opponents.

 

Despite the tough schedule in 2017, New Mexico State joins just Navy as the only teams with those hurdles to overcome who are playing in a bowl game at season’s end.

 

LOOKING BACK

A lot has changed since NM State last made a bowl. Let’s take a look at just how different times were when the Crimson & White last played in a bowl back in 1960:

• Jan. 2 – Senator John F. Kennedy announces his candidacy for the U.S. Presidency.

• Jan. 14 – U.S. Army promoted Elvis Presley to Sergeant.

• Jan. 26 – Oakland Raiders entered the American Football League.

• Feb. 1 – Four students staged first civil rights sit-in at Woolworth’s in Greensboro, N.C.

• Feb. 20 – 16-year old Jimi Hendrix played his first public gig.

• Mar. 15 – Price of gas sits at 26 cents.

• Apr. 10 – Arnold Palmer wins the 24th Masters Golf Tournament.

• May 6 – US President Dwight D. Eisenhower signs Civil Rights Act of 1960.

• May 15 – Taxes took 25% of earnings in U.S.

• June 17 – Ted Williams hit his 500th home run.

• July 11 – To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee is published.

• Sept. 5 – Muhammad Ali (then Cassius Clay) wins Olympic light heavyweight gold medal.

• Sept. 30 – The Flintstones the first animated sitcom premieres on ABC.

• Oct. 3 – U.S. sitcom The Andy Griffith Show premieres on CBS.

• Nov. 8 - Democrat John F. Kennedy defeats Republican Vice President Richard Nixon to become the 35th U.S. President.

• Nov. 14 - Ray Charles’ “Georgia On My Mind” reaches No. 1 on the charts.

• Dec. 31 – New Mexico State defeats Utah State, 20-13, to win the Sun Bowl.

 

MAKE ROOM IN THE TROPHY CASE

After a historic season in the City of Crosses, New Mexico State football saw a record eleven players named to the All-Sun Belt teams while one took home a postseason award. Eight of these players also earned the nod for Phil Steele’s All-Sun Belt Conference teams.

 

Jaleel Scott led the way on the offensive side of the ball earning a first-team distinction from both the SBC and Phil Steele. Larry Rose III grabbed a second-team nod from both outlets and Tyler Rogers rounded out the offense with third-team recognition.

 

On defense, linebacker Dalton Herrington and defensive end Cedric Wilcots II led the way with each earning the first-team honor from both Steele and the conference. Ron LaForce was named to the SBC’s second-team and Phil Steele’s third-team, while also being named the conference’s newcomer of the year.

 

Shamad Lomax was named to the second-team by Steele and the third-team by the Sun Belt. Terrill Hanks walked away with second-team honors and an honorable mention from the SBC.

 

OJ Clark, Roy Lopez and Anthony Muse rounded out the honorees with an honorable mention nod from the Sun Belt.

 

IN THE NATION

After an exciting regular season in college football, NM State football along with a handful of Aggies are ranked in the top-25 nationally at the end of the regular season thorugh games on Dec. 9.

 

As a team, NM State is ranked in the top-25 in seven categories…

 

Rk          Category                                           Value

4             Passing Offense                               352.6*

4             Sacks Per Game                               3.33*

11           Interceptions                                    16*

13           Turnovers Gained                           25*

15           Def. 3rd Down Conv.                     .315*

16           3rd Down Conversion                 .468*

21           Tackles For Loss                             7.3

 

Individually, the Aggies also have eight players ranked in the top-25 nationally as well.

 

#17 Tyler Rogers (QB)

Rk          Category                                           Value

2             Completions Per Game                29.0*

5             Passing Yards                                   3,825*

6             Total Offense                                    348.1*

14           Pts. Responsible For                      200

16           Passing TDs                                       26

 

#22 Shamad Lomax (DB)

Rk          Category                                           Value

4             Forced Fumbles                              0.4*

4             Fumbles Recovered                       3*

23           Total Interceptions                        4

 

#16 Jaleel Scott (WR)

Rk          Category                                           Value

18           Receiving Yards                               1,042

19           Receptions Per Game                    6.1

 

#31 Dalton Herrington (LB)

Rk          Category                                           Value

10           Total Tackles                                    10.3*

 

#1 Jason Huntley (RB)             

Rk          Category                                           Value

14           Kickoff Return TDs                        1

 

#10 Cedric Wilcots II (DE)

Rk          Category                                           Value

15           Sacks Per Game                               0.71

 

#49 Lui Fa’amasino (LB)

Rk          Category                                           Value

23           Fumbles Recovered                       2*

 

#11 Malik Demby (LB)

Rk          Category                                           Value

23           Fumbles Recovered                       2*

 

*Denotes Sun Belt Conference Leader

 

CHANGE THE RECORD

Entering the postseason, NM State senior running back Larry Rose III and redshirt senior quarterback Tyler Rogers look to etch their names further into the program’s record book. The two players sit in the top-5 for a combined 11 career offensive records for the Aggies.

 

Rose III already has his name second all-time for rushing yards (4,425) and rushing touchdowns (36), third in carries (756), and all-purpose yards (5,612) and fourth in scoring (240).

 

Rogers also looks to rewrite the record books as he is second all-time in passing yards (10,181), completions (903), attempts (1,467), passing touchdowns (68), total offense (10,784) and total touchdowns (81).

 

Wide receiver Jaleel Scott also sits 10th all-time in receiving touchdowns (13), despite only playing in just his second season as an Aggie.


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