New Mexico State Aggies: Surprise of the WAC?
Few teams have as porous (or non-existent) a history of success than the team from Las Cruces, N.M. Yet, after a respectable 2-3 start that includes a resounding victory over their in-state rival New Mexico Lobos, there is reason to hope that the Aggies will finally have a breakthrough year in 2011. After five games, here are a few tidbits of hope that New Mexico State fans can hang on to.
1. New Mexico State has won three straight over the rival Lobos
For the first time in more than 40 years, New Mexico State has now won three straight over its rivals from Albuquerque. This is a huge accomplishment for an Aggies program that is used to being beaten soundly in the past by its Mountain West Conference counterpart.
In addition, as a result of the 42-28 victory, the Aggies notched their largest victory in the series since 1968.
Now, before we get too smitten with the end result, it is only fair that we point out the New Mexico had just fired its embattled coach (Mike Locksley) and is a putrid 2-27 since the start of the 2009 season.
Yet, given the recent history of the New Mexico State program isn't too impressive either, this is definitely a building block for head coach DeWayne Walker to build upon for the rest of the season.
2. Aggies rank 26th in Division I FBS in passing offense
New Mexico State quarterback Matt Christian has been great for the Aggies thus far in 2011. Against the Lobos, Christian was 16-of-27 for 296 yards and four touchdowns and rushed for 101 yards and another TD.
How many victories will New Mexico State finish with?
This type of performance is just a microcosm for what Christian has done in week in and week out.
Even in a loss to San Jose State, Christian still put up productive numbers, throwing for 238 yards on 17-of-28 passing and a touchdown.
These numbers are representative of a passing offense that is clicking right now, averaging 285.2 yards per game, good enough to be a top-30 passing offense in the nation.
3. Aggies already own a road victory over a BCS conference opponent
Yes, this win comes with a qualifier, too. It was over a Minnesota team that was just beaten 58-0 by Michigan and has also lost to the likes of North Dakota State this season.
However, Minnesota also played No. 25 USC down to the wire in Los Angeles the week before and is, despite the struggles, still a Big Ten program.
Throw in the fact that the Aggies won this game on the road in Minneapolis, and it gives New Mexico State what Walker called "a signature win for our program."
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