Year one after being kicked out of the Sun Belt was tough for New Mexico State. The Aggies went 3-9 with the wins against Alcorn State, UTEP, and Liberty. The good news is that most of the key pieces are back from that team, but the schedule is tough, so getting to a bowl could be a struggle.
RBs Christian Gibson and Jason Huntley return after combining for over 1,000 yards last year. Gibson was especially potent, averaging 6.1 yards a pop. At the QB spot, Matt Romero lost the job early in the year to freshman Josh Adkins, neither were particularly great, but both are back.
Three of the top four pass catchers are back, and they add Baylor grad transfer Troy Nicholson plus a few JUCOs, most notably Robert Downs III.
On the line, three starters return and they add a Virginia Tech transfer in Austin Reeves as well as a handful of JUCOs in a group led by 330+ pounder Blake Walker.
With pretty much all the key pieces back and some new signees, expect this offense to improve.
The defense tanked last year, allowing an extra half yard per play and over 11.5 more points per game. Granted, they dealt with plenty of injuries, but the defense struggled none the less.
DT Roy Lopez and DE Cedric Wilcots II are two names to watch on the line. The two combined for 11 sacks and 11 TFL last year and the depth up front behind them is solid.
All three linebackers are back, most notably leading tackler Javahn Ferguson, who also racked up 5.5 sacks. In the secondary, it’s Shamad Lomax and no one else. Lomax had ten PBUs last year, no one else had more than three. Oklahoma State grad transfer Chance Cook joins the defensive backfield to try and shake things up.
Even though some pieces are gone, I expect the defense to improve as they dealt with a ton of injuries in 2018.
I think I’m higher on New Mexico State than the model is (125th), but I don’t think they have much of a shot at a bowl anyways with three P5 opponents and three of the G5s best on the schedule. Unless they can pull an upset there, they’d need to run the table against rivals New Mexico and UTEP, Liberty x2, Central Michigan, and FCS Incarnate Word to make a bowl. This program needs help, they’ve won over four games just once since 2004, and now without a conference to call home, they’re in some serious trouble.
|at Washington State
|San Diego State
|at New Mexico
|at Central Michigan
|at Georgia Southern
|at Ole Miss
Average Projected Record: 3.9 wins, 8.1 losses