New Mexico State (1-7) at Auburn (1-7)|
The Sports Network
DATE & TIME: Saturday, Nov. 3, 12:30 p.m. (et)
FACTS & STATS: Site: Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451) -- Auburn, Alabama.
Television: CSS. Home Record: NMSU 1-3, Auburn 1-3. Away Record: NMSU 0-4,
Auburn 0-3. Neutral Record: NMSU 0-0, Auburn 0-1. Conference Record: NMSU 0-4,
Auburn 0-6. Series Record: Auburn leads, 2-0.
GAME NOTES: Two of the worst teams in the FBS will step out of conference play
on Saturday afternoon, as the Auburn Tigers play host to the New Mexico State
NMSU kicked off its season with a 49-19 win over FCS foe Sacramento State, but
since then it has lost seven in a row, with all but one coming by double
digits. The Aggies hung tough with nationally-ranked Louisiana Tech at home
before losing last week, 28-14. They've now lost six consecutive games against
Western Athletic Conference foes dating back to last season.
At 1-7 overall, Auburn is off to its worst start since 1952. The Tigers'
nightmare season hit a new low in last week's blowout loss to Texas A&M,
63-21. They are now 0-6 in the SEC, and they haven't won a conference game in
more than a calendar year, the last coming against Ole Miss on Oct. 29, 2011.
The Tigers and Aggies have faced each other just twice before, with Auburn
winning both times.
The NMSU offense (21.0 ppg, 361.6 ypg) has failed to score more than 18 points
in its last five games.
The team constantly plays from behind and needs to throw the ball to catch up,
meaning Andrew Manley has put together a solid season, throwing for more than
260 yards per game with 14 touchdown passes. However, with the increased work
load has come some efficiency problems, as he has completed fewer than 55
percent of his passes and has thrown eight interceptions.
In the receiving game, Austin Franklin has shined in his sophomore season. The
6-2 wideout has caught 57 balls for 965 yards, which ranks behind only Marqise
Lee of USC and Terrance Williams of Baylor nationally. He's also tied for
seventh in the country with nine touchdown receptions. After gaining 139 yards
against Louisiana Tech last week, he now has at least 72 yards in every game
this season and 100-plus in six contents.
The rushing attack, on the other hand, has not been as effective as the team
averages less than 100 yards per game on the ground. Germi Morrison (91
carries, 451 yards, TD) has been the Aggies' most effective runner.
The defense (33.5 ppg, 460.9 ypg) has been porous, but it is coming off a very
impressive performance against Louisiana Tech. Although the numbers may not
suggest dominance (28 points, 530 yards), considering the Bulldogs are second
in the nation is scoring offense (52.6 ppg), it was a job well done.
Davis Cazares is among the WAC's leaders in tackles with 83, and Trashaun
Nixon has made plays all over the field with 66 stops, eight tackles for loss,
1.5 sacks, an interception and a fumble recovery. The team only has eight
sacks in eight games, with three being credited to Donte Savage.
Horrendous play from the quarterback position has caused Auburn's offense to
rank last in the SEC in both scoring (16.4 ppg) and yardage (284 ypg), but it
was granted a glimmer of hope late in the recent loss to Texas A&M.
Freshman quarterback Jonathan Wallace played much of the second half last
week, and even though the game was well out of reach, he performed well by
completing 6-of-9 passes for 122 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Head coach
Gene Chizik has yet to decide who will start against NMSU, but considering the
play of Kiehl Frazier (.544 completion percentage, 125.5 ypg, two TDs, eight
INTs) and Clint Moseley (.633, 93.2 ypg, one TD, three INTs), the Tigers would
appear to have nothing to lose by going with the youngster.
Emory Blake has been the only consistent force in the receiving game, leading
the team in catches (35), yards (531) and touchdowns (three). He has seven
career 100-yard games and is fifth in school history with 16 TD receptions.
The running back duo of Tre Mason (105 carries, 554 yards, five TDs) and
Onterio McCalebb (66 carries, 340 yards, two TDs) has been effective, but much
like NMSU, Auburn is unable to establish the run as much when it is losing
early in games.
The defense (29.9 ppg, 444.1 ypg) has also been terrible, especially by lofty
SEC standards, and the 63 points allowed to Texas A&M last week was the most
in program history.
Daren Bates (80 tackles, 5.5 TFL, two sacks, INT, FR) is putting together an
All-SEC type of year. While Corey Lemonier is on pace to fall short of last
season's career-high 9.5 sacks, he has still been a solid pass-rusher with
five sacks and eight QB hurries.
While Auburn never appeared to be a team likely to vie for the SEC title, few
anticipated that it would have just one win this far into the season. There
are plenty of issues the Tigers need to address on both sides of the ball, but
it still has much more talent than does NMSU, and after getting embarrassed at
home last week, expect AU to redeem itself in front of the home crowd.
Sports Network Predicted Outcome: Auburn 28, New Mexico State 20
10/31 10:42:40 ET