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Aggies Have Hands Full Against La. Tech

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NMSU to face the prolific offense of No. 24-ranked Bulldogs

LAS CRUCES – It was almost like watching a season highlight reel.

The New Mexico State University football coach could only chuckle when asked about the video from last week’s Louisiana Tech-Idaho game. Coach Dewayne Walker’s Aggies host 24th-ranked Louisiana Tech tonight.

“I thought we were playing the Green Bay Packers this week,” Walker said after reviewing the Bulldogs’ 70-28 romp over Idaho last week. “La. Tech’s really got it going on offense. When you average 56 points a game, that’s hard to even imagine.”

Today
Louisiana Tech at NMSU, 6 p.m., Aggievision, My50 in Abq., 103.9-FM Las Cruces, ESPN3.com

The Bulldogs produced a slew of unimaginable stats in their demolition of the Vandals.

♦ A school-record 839 yards of total offense.

♦ Running back Kenneth Dixon rushed for 232 yards and six touchdowns on 17 carries.

♦ A Western Athletic Conference record-tying 56 points scored in the first half.

“I wish I was defensive coordinator for a team with that kind of offense,” Walker said. “You give up points, the offense just gets them right back.”

Idaho was hardly the only avalanche victim. Louisiana Tech has scored at least 44 points in each of its first seven games, including against such solid opponents as Virginia and Texas A&M.

If you’re getting the idea New Mexico State (1-6, 0-3 Western Athletic Conference) will have its hands full tonight, Walker and his players couldn’t agree more.

“La. Tech has a really good offense,” Aggies safety Davis Cazares said. “It’s not a very complicated offense, but it’s a well-oiled machine. Fifty-six points a game tells you all you need to know.”

There are more than three prongs to the Bulldogs’ dangerous attack, but Dixon, quarterback Colby Cameron and wideout Quinton Patton are particularly lethal. The trio has accounted for 17 rushing touchdowns and 20 more through the air.

Both Walker and Cazares expect Louisiana Tech (6-1, 1-0) to have some success against an NMSU defense that’s allowing 34 points per game. However, they don’t want to join Idaho in the roadkill department.

“You don’t want to try to match them score for score,” Walker said of the Bulldogs. “We’ve got to come up with some things, schematically, to get their offense off the field.”

Walker pointed out that his defense played effectively on six of Utah State’s 11 possessions last week. The UtAgs scored touchdowns on the other five, ultimately rolling to a 41-7 win.

The other side of the coin did not look as good for NMSU. The offense scored just once on its 11 possessions, otherwise self-destructing with penalties, turnovers, etc.

“The good news is, we moved the ball,” Walker said, “but you’ve got to score touchdowns. We didn’t. Louisiana Tech usually gives up scores, but as soon as they get a stop, the offense gets separation. We have to finish drives if we want to stay in this ballgame.”

Aggies quarterback Andrew Manley decided this week that a change of luck was in order. He shaved off his facial hair in hopes of facilitating a few positive breaks.

“Got to try something new,” Manley said. “Besides, my mom and my girlfriend like me better this way.”

Manley said he felt a bit snakebitten at Utah State, where NMSU drives repeatedly stalled in scoring position. The Aggies had a touchdown called back on a penalty, had a short field-goal attempt blocked and later drove to the UtAgs 4 only to turn the ball over.

“When we get to the red zone, we’ve got to score,” Manley said. “Simple as that. We have days at practice when everything clicks. It’s going to be fun when that happens in a game.”

Today would be an ideal time if the Aggies are to snap their six-game losing streak with a monumental homecoming upset. Louisiana Tech comes to Las Cruces as a 30-point favorite.

“I call this part of our schedule murderer’s row,” Walker said, referring to a stretch that includes Louisiana Tech, Auburn and BYU. “It’s tough, but the main thing is that we continue to improve as a football team. That has to be our top priority every week.”
Aggies Have Hands Full Against La. TechNMSU to face the prolific offense of No. 24-ranked Bulldogs

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