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Aggies to start freshman QB against UCLA

King Davis III, quarterback for the 2013 New Mexico State football team.

King Davis III, quarterback for the 2013 New Mexico State football team.

The future may begin Saturday for New Mexico State University’s football team, at least at the quarterback position.

True freshman King Davis III will get his first start for the 0-3 Aggies at No. 13 UCLA, NMSU coach Doug Martin said during his weekly media conference Tuesday. Senior Andrew McDonald started the first three games.

Martin gave several reasons for the switch, including simply trying to jump-start his team’s inconsistent offense. McDonald and King each played roughly two quarters in last week’s 42-21 Aggies loss to UTEP.


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Martin also suggested that Davis’ speed and mobility provide better odds of success against 2-0 UCLA’s quick, swarming defensive front. But ball security is the No. 1 reason for the quarterback switch.

“Andrew turned the ball over four times in three games,” Martin said. “We have to drum into these players’ heads that turnovers are not acceptable.”

The same issue led Martin to make a change at running back this week. Junior Brandon Betancourt will make his first start in place of senior Germi Morrison, who lost a critical fumble inside UTEP’s 10-yard line.

Davis and McDonald have both had effective moments this season, though Davis’ first extended playing time came last week.

Davis played briefly in the season opener at Texas and led the offense for two series against Minnesota. Against UTEP he was 7-for-14 passing for 143 yards and a touchdown, also rushing five times for 31 yards.

“There’s a lot of upside to King,” Martin said, “and he’s only going to get better.”

For the season, McDonald was 61-for-88 passing for 584 yards with three TDs, two interceptions and two lost fumbles. He’s rushed 25 times for 118 yards.

Davis is 14-of-23 passing for 210 yards and one TD, and has rushed 10 times for 61 yards.

Martin said he played both quarterbacks by design against UTEP but does not want to make it a habit.

“I’d prefer to get to one guy,” Martin said. “I believe in the old adage, ‘If you play two quarterbacks it’s because you don’t have one.’ Hopefully, we can get there starting this week.”