First off, New Mexico has stepped up their non conference schedule starting with Texas A&M. The Aggies are still trying to find their winning ways since R.C. Slocum was forced out years back, and since his departure the Aggies have not won a conference title and he never had a losing season in his 13 years at the school. Since then the Aggies are on their third coach after Dennis Franchione and now former Green Bay Packers Head Coach Mike Sherman is now leading the Aggies. Last year the Aggies went 7-6 last year, and ended the season with a win over Penn State in the Alamo Bowl. Texas A&M will have a warmup game prior to taking on the Lobos, by playing Arakansas State. Also, a side note the the Texas Aggies are 1-4 in road games last season which could effect this team.
Offense: The offense starts with dual threat QB Stephen McGee who had over 3,200 yards in passing and rushing, McGee also was the teams leading rusher with 899 yards. McGee has the escability and speed to keep defenses off balanced with his running ability and with his throwing ability. The other running backs in this offense who New Mexico needs to keep an eye on are Jorvorskie Lane who was a touchdown machine with 16 touchdowns and just under 800 yards, also toss in another back in Mike Goodson who ran for 711 yards in offense. The rushing attack is the strong point for this Texas A&M team.
In the passing game McGee needs to have more patience in the pocket and look for his receivers to open up, and not just take off with the first sign of trouble. The other wide out who needs to step it up should be Earvin Taylor who had only 266 yards, but is the teams leading returning receiver. Another wide out who should challenge to be the best wide out is Pierre Brown who has yet to live up to his potential, so far. If the passing game can improve then the Aggies will have a very balanced offense that should be in the top half of the Big XII.
Defense: Formerly the ”Wreckin’ Crew” the defense had that name stripped recently, and really has not been in that category since R.C. Slocum left as the teams head coach. Last year the defense was inconsistent where they showed up in some games where the dominance seemed to return, and there were games like the Missouri and Oklahoma game where the Ags gave up over 40 points in each of those games. The defense needs more consistency to be able to defeat good teams in the Big XII and also against New Mexico. The defense just needs to limit the big plays, and have their linebackers to be the dominent position on the team. The linebackers were the core strength of the defense in the 90’s where the opposing offense would have their plays avoid that area of the field, or take them out of position.
Early Prediction: This is a tough one, because New Mexico is 5-1 at home last year and Texas A&M was 1-4 on the road albiet two of those were against top 10 opponents, and the other was the high octane offense in Texas Tech. New Mexico will have a Senior Quarterback Donovan Porterie and possibly the best back in the Mountain West in Rodney Ferguson. Another factor to consider is that this could be a trap game for Texas A&M, because they should destroy Arkansas State and then the week after the Ags play Miami (FL) at home the following week. This should be a tough and close game, but look for the Aggies to win by seven points.