The New Mexico State (NMSU) Aggies roll into the matchup this weekend 0-2 in Sun Belt play. They’re desperate for a conference win, and they’ll look to add on to Georgia Southern’s recent road struggles.
Like the Eagles, the Aggies have struggled to start fast and have fallen behind in games early, digging a hole too deep to climb out of.
“We are a good second half team but we have to do that to start the ballgame,” Tyler Rogers, NMSU quarterback, told the Las Cruces Sun-News.
Their best game came against Kentucky, where the two teams went into halftime tied at 35-35. But the Wildcats came out and scored four touchdowns on their way to a 62-42 win.
Photo courtesy of Tahir Daudier.
Offensively, the Aggies boast the top passing offense in the Sun Belt and average 27 points per game. After a relatively slow start throwing the ball,Rogers has thrown for at least 354 yards in its last three games. It will be a tough test for GS’s secondary, who are now without RJ Murray for the rest of the season.
“They play really hard and they’re a physical group,” Tyson Summers, GS head coach, said.
When Rogers drops back, he uses the whole field and a litany of receivers to throw to. Four different players have over 200 receiving yards on the season, and another three players have over 100 yards. There are no shortage of options for their attack, and that’s before factoring in Rogers ability as a rusher. Rogers leads the Aggies with three rushing touchdowns and 112 yards on the season.
The Aggies also have First Team All-Sun Belt and Third Team All-American running back Larry Rose III in their lineup. Rose is not on pace to match the big numbers he put up last season due to injuries, but he’s still arguably one of the most talented players in the conference. Rose shares the back field evenly with Xavier Hall, but the two have combined to rush for only two touchdowns on the season.
Defensively, the Aggies are led by their stalwart linebacker Rodney Butler, who has a whopping 89 tackles in just six games, averaging out to about 15 a game. Butler will have a big task chasing down GS’s option attack this weekend.
Butler should be flanked by fellow linebacker Terrill Hanks, who’s 6 tackles for loss is most on the team. In the secondary, Jaden Wright has a pair of interceptions to go along with 33 tackles, and will be tasked with matching up with GS’s wideouts on the edges.
“They’re gonna try to load the box and make sure that you can’t run it. They’re certainly a heavy-pressure team,” Summers said.
Both teams are in real need of a win this weekend, which should make for a good matchup. The last time GS played out there, the Eagles came away with a 36-28 win in a hard fought game. Expect this one to be more of the same.