2012 Record: 1-11 (0-6 in WAC)
Head Coach: Doug Martin (first year as head coach at NMSU, 29-53 All-Time)
Last Bowl Game: 1960 Sun Bowl: beat Utah State 20-13
Stadium: Aggie Memorial Stadium in Las Cruces, NM (capacity = 30,343)
Home Field Advantage: ranked 50th out of 55 mid-major teams
Affiliation: will play as an independent in 2013
Future Affiliation: will join Sun Belt in 2014
BCS Conference Opponents: 8/31 at Texas, 9/7 vs Minnesota, 9/21 at UCLA, 11/9 vs Boston College
Revenge?: 9/14 vs UTEP, 10/5 at New Mexico, 11/30 vs Idaho
Stats to Fear: only gained 9 turnovers in 2012 (tied for last in Nation), allowed 42 sacks and only had 11 sacks
Stat to Cheer: scored TDs on 75% of trips to red zone (7th in Nation)
Advanced Stats (Football Outsiders 2012 FEI Ranking): 124th out of 124 teams
Phil Steele's Returning Starters: Offense: 8, Defense 6, Special Teams 1
Key Defensive Returnees: LB Trashaun Nixon (96 tackles, 9.5 TFL, 2.5 sacks), S Davis Cazares (116 tackles), LB Bryan Bonilla (78 tackles), S George Callender (87 tackles, 2 INT)
Key Offensive Returnees: RB Germi Morrison (767 yds rush), WR Austin Franklin (74 rec, 9 TD), LT Davonte Wallace
After four tough seasons, DeWayne Walker stepped down as the coach of the Aggies in late January (just weeks before National Signing Day). Walker finished his four year stretch with a 10-40 record (4-25 in the WAC) and had posted his worst outing this past season (1-11). Doug Martin was brought in as the new offensive coordinator about a week before he was picked as an "interim" coach to replace Walker. After an interview process the school decided to promote him to head coach. Martin was previously the OC in 2011 and that was the best offensive team that NMSU has had in recent memory.
After being listed third on the depth chart after spring practice, last year's starting QB has moved on to greener pastures. This fall, Travaughn Colwell and Andrew McDonald will fight it out for the job and freshman King Davis III also has an outside shot. The new offense will feature the spread-option and it wasn't a fit for former QB Andrew Manley's skill set. Colwell is the most experienced of the three but he's only thrown 63 passes over his first two seasons. In the spring game, Colwell completed 19 of 28 for 161 yards and also had 95 yards rushing. McDonald was 11 for 17 for 160 yards. The leading rusher, Germi Morrison, and the leading receiver, Austin Franklin, both return. The OL is in good shape with four returning starters.
The NMSU defense will see an influx of talent this year thanks to transfers. The DL returns two DEs and will also add Willie Mobley from Arizona. Mobley had 20 total tackles last season for Arizona. This will be the fourth stop on his college tour (Ohio State, then Orange Coast CC, then Arizona and now NMSU). He tore his ACL in 2011. The LB crew returns it's top two tacklers, Trashaun Nixon and Bryan Bonilla, and will also add two transfers in New Mexico's Zach Daugherty and Washington's Kalei Auelua. In addition to those new arrivals, the Aggies have also moved Safety Dele Junaid (20 tackles in 2012) to LB. They will need as many bodies as they can get as they will be running a 3-4. The secondary only loses one starter and also adds UCLA transfer Randell Carroll. With the infusion of some new blood it will be interesting to see how the defense performs after giving up 39 points per game last season.
This is not a killer schedule. In fact, Phil Steele ranks it as the 112th toughest in the Nation. Some of the games circled on the calendar will be UTEP (9/14), New Mexico (10/5), Abilene Christian (10/26), FAU (11/23) and Idaho (11/30). Those are all winnable games. Doug Martin kind of fell into place as head coach at NMSU but he should be able to help the Aggies be at least a slight bit better than they were in 2012. I'm not looking for a huge improvement but I think the Aggies will win somewhere between two and four games and start to show improvement as the schedule gets a bit easier on the back half.
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