New Mexico State Aggies (2-4, 0-2) vs Georgia Southern Eagles (0-4, 0-1)
Time: 6:00 PM EST, Saturday October 14, 2017
Where: Paulson Stadium, Statesboro, GA
Betting Line: New Mexico State -7.5
Series: 3-0 Georgia Southern (’16 GS 22-19)
It’s homecoming weekend in Statesboro and I don’t know whether to be excited, like I usually am, or apprehensive. The New Mexico State Aggies will walk into Paulson Stadium Saturday night with a chip on their shoulders. Not only are they considered homecoming fodder for the Eagles. They could have beaten App State in Boone last weekend if not for SIX picks from Tyler Rogers.
They’re desperate for their first conference win and the wounded (metaphorically) Eagles are served up on a silver platter.
New Mexico State is 2-4 overall, 0-2 in conference. Don’t let the that record fool you however, the Aggies have played somewhat of a gauntlet early in 2017. Their schedule includes the likes of Arizona State, New Mexico, Troy, UTEP, Arkansas, and App State. They beat rival UTEP and New Mexico and came close to pulling off upsets vs. Arizona State and Troy.
Eagles fans should know by now how difficult NM State is to beat, even in down years. The Aggies took the Eagles to the brink of defeat in 2014 (36-28) and 2016 (22-19). Now lead by QB Tyler Rogers and all-world running back Larry Rose III, the Aggies now expect to contend for the Sun Belt crown, or at least their first bowl since 1960.
What to expect
Let me talk to my fellow Eagles fans for a moment:
Look, scheduling NM State as a homecoming opponent must have seemed like a good idea at the time. They’re on their way out of the Sun Belt along with Idaho. They hadn’t made a bowl game since the Eisenhower Administration, I get it.
But let me be frank. I fully expect for Georgia Southern to get its butts-handed to them. Larry Rose III is really good. Jaleel Scott, Jason Huntley, Izaiah Lottie, OJ Clark and a host other offensive weapons are at QB Tyler Rogers’ disposal. Their defense is pretty bad, (99th) They average 30 points a game. Check for yourself:
Top 10 Aggies in yards from scrimmage:
|1||Larry Rose III||91||477||5.2||3||25||185||7.4||1||116||662||5.7||4|
**FWIW, I would both schools to be extended in the conference, I think their play has warranted that the past two seasons.**
It’s going to be a relatively well-attended game, especially in the 1st half before the homecoming court is announced. Eagles fans will have all day to get liquored up in the parking lot before the 6pm kickoff. If there’s a bad 1st quarter, the fans will start to get vocal. Boo birds will come out. You’ll hear it on the WatchESPN app, I guarantee it.
Keys to victory for the Eagles
- Score points – Time to take the training wheels off of Shai Werts. After putting up 500 yards of offense last week vs Arkansas State, Werts is starting to look like an ok field general. I want to see him continue on that trajectory.
- Feed Monteo Garrett the rock!!! – I can’t emphasize this enough. He has 5 carries for 117 yards…..YES CARRIES NOT CATCHES. He lit it up in Spring. He lit it up in Fall camp. He’s lighting it up now. Get him the dang ball.
- Tackle – After a promising 1st half vs Auburn in the first game, the Eagles defense has been trash. Allowing 39.5 points per game and 123rd in the country. I have a feeling they’re getting sliced up against by Rose and Rogers.
Keys to victory for the Aggies
- Show up – Remember to set the alarm.
- Feed Rose and Huntley the rock – Rose = 5.2 yards a carry, Huntley 9.1 yards a carry
- Less turnovers – Six picks by Rogers last week. Shake it off. Aside from Monquavion Brinson, the Eagles secondary is easy to throw on. Just manage the game really and the Aggies should have their first conference win of the season.
NM State 45
Georgia Southern 31
2017 Sun Belt Conference Standings
|New Mexico State||0-2||2-4|