LAS CRUCES, N.M. — The NM State football programs closes out a two-game homestand Saturday, when the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors visit Aggie Memorial Stadium for a 6 p.m. contest.
Saturday’s matchup with Hawaii will serve as Homecoming and the Aggies 2021 AG Day. The festivities leading up to kick-off begin at 2 p.m. in the Pan American Center south parking lot, and will feature dozens of educational and informational booths, live music, games, prizes, farm animals and samples of New Mexico made and grown food products.
HOW TO WATCH:
Director of Broadcasting Adam Young (PBP) and color commentator Danny Knee will bring Aggie fans all of the action live on FloFootball and Comcast New Mexico. Fans can also check out Saturday’s contest on tape delay on BallySports Arizona on Saturday at 10 p.m. and 4 a.m. Monday morning.
NM State fans can listen to “Voice of the Aggies” Jack Nixon and Cory Lucas on the all-new Varsity Network app by LEARFIELD, and the following Aggie Sports Network affiliates:
Artesia: KSVP 990 AM
Carlsbad: KAMQ 1240
El Paso: 1380 AM KHEY
Gallup: 1230 AM, 94.9 FM KYVA
Las Cruces: KXPZ 99.5 FM
Sophomore quarterback Dino Maldonado was named College Sports Madness Independent Offensive Player of the Week after his stellar performance Saturday. Maldonado was 24-of-32 against the Bulldogs, throwing for 321 yards and three touchdowns. Maldonado completed his first six passes Saturday, and 12 of his first 13 overall. The former Ventura College who arrived at NM State as a walk-on ahead of fall camp became the first Aggie since JJ McDemott (Oct. 13, 2007) to throw for 300+ yards in his first career start.
The Californian became the first Aggie since Josh Adkins to win his first-career start. Adkins defeated UTEP back on Sept. 22, 2018 in his first start. Maldonado is also the first Aggie since Adkins to throw for three touchdowns in game (Liberty, Nov. 30, 2019).
After preparing as the back-up two weeks ago, Maldonado was thrust into action against UNM after QB Jonah Johnson injured his right wrist. Maldonado completed 13-of-34 passes for 192 yards in that contest, including a 75-yard touchdown to Isiah Garcia-Castaneda. Maldonado also showed off his speed om that contest, rushing for 46 yards on six attempts, including a 37-yard scamper that set up the Aggies first touchdown.
WHO IS THE QB?
NM State head coach Doug Martin has yet to announce a starting quarterback for Saturday’s game against Hawaii. Sophomore walk-on Dino Maldonado earned the start Saturday after replacing the injured Jonah Johnson in the first half of the UNM game. Johnson suffered a right wrist injury against the Lobos, and underwent a battery of tests last week that showed no bone or ligament damage. Second-string QB Weston Eget suffered a non-season ending knee injury against UTEP during Week 0 and has missed the last three games. After not dressing for SDSU or UNM, Eget dressed last week for South Carolina State, but did not see action. Both Johnson and Eget are listed as questionable for Saturday’s contest against Hawaii.
NM State WR Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda became the first Aggie WR to catch a touchdown and a record a non-receiving touchdown in a game since WR Tyrian Taylor ran for a touchdown and threw for a touchdown against Kentucky on Sept. 17, 2016. A former high school QB, Garcia-Castaneda hit TE Thomaz Whitford on a double-pass for an 11-yard touchdown early in the second quarter against UNM and then caught a 75-yard touchdown two drives later. He was the first Aggie to record multiple touchdowns this season. Garcia-Castaneda missed the Aggies contest at San Diego State due to COVID-19 protocols. The receiver has now recorded a touchdown catch in back-to-back games. With a touchdown this week, Garcia-Castaneda would become the first Aggie since Jaleel Scott hauled in TD passes against Arizona State (Aug. 31), UNM (Sept. 9) and Troy (Sept. 16) during the opening three games of the season.
BROHARD OR GO HOME
Junior captain and linebacker Trevor Brohard returned to action Saturday after missing the last two games due to COVID-19 protocols. Brohard had eight total tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss against SCST.
HISTORY IN THE MAKING?
NM State is 0-8 all-time against Hawaii. The former WAC rivals are meeting for the first time since 2011 when both NM State and UH were members of the WAC.
SEE YOU SOON
The Aggies and Rainbow Warriors will play a home-and-home this season. After hosting Hawaii this weekend, the Aggies will make the return trip to Honolulu on Oct. 23. After not meeting for nearly a decade, the Rainbow Warriors and Aggies are scheduled to clash six times (including Saturday) over the next five seasons, and seven times between now and 2028. The Aggies will host Hawaii next season (2022) and in 2024, and will travel to the islands during the 2023 and 2025 seasons. The Aggies 2020 match up at Hawaii has been rescheduled to the 2028 season (Sept. 30, Week 5).
COMING UP THE MOUNTAIN
Saturday’s contest against Hawaii marks the third time through the first five games that NM State has faced a member of the Mountain West Conference. The Aggies have already faced San Diego State (Sept. 4) and New Mexico this season (Sept. 11). Saturday’s contest also kicks off a stretch of five straight games versus the Mountain West. Following Saturday’s game against the Rainbow Warriors, the Aggies will travel to San Jose State (Oct. 2), Nevada (Oct. 9) and to Hawaii (Oct. 25). The five-game stretch closes on Nov. 6 when Utah State visits Aggie Memorial Stadium. NM State is 0-2 this season against the MW.
Independence CC transfer Syrus Dumas saw his first career action last Saturday against South Carolina State. Dumas was forced to miss the first three-games due to an NCAA Clearinghouse matter. In the third quarter, Dumas picked off a Corey Fields Jr pass to record his first career collegiate interception. The JUCO transfer also had three tackles and a pass breakup.
NOTABLES: LAST GAME (SCST)
• Maldonado accomplished three firsts last week. He became the first Aggie since JJ McDemott (Oct. 13, 2007) to throw for 300+ yards in his first career start. Maldonado is also the first Aggie to win his first career start since Josh Adkins in 2018 (Sept. 22, UTEP) and the first Aggie since Adkins (Liberty, 2019) to throw three touchdowns passes in a game.
• Running back Juwaun Price became the first Aggie since Jason Huntley to rush for multiple touchdowns in a game. Price recorded a 14-yard touchdown on the Aggies opening drive of the game, and an eight-yarder on the first drive of the second quarter.
• The Aggies recorded nine tackles for loss on Saturday, bringing the team total to 27 for the year. The nine tackles for loss are the most NM State has had in a game since 2018 (Utah State, UTEP). 10 different Aggies recorded at least a half tackle for loss in the contest including captains Donavan King and Trevor Brohard who each had 1.5 tackles for loss.
• The NM State defense picked off South Carolina State three times Saturday. The contest marks the first time since the 2016 season (Texas State, Nov. 19) that the Aggies recored three interceptions in a game. The three picks were recorded by DJ McCullough, Syrus Dumas and Nick Giacolone. Giacolone’s interception sealed the Aggies 43-35 victory.
• Ethan Albertson missed a 48-yard field goal Saturday. The miss snapped Albertson’s streak of five consecutive fields goals made. The kicker is now just 1-for-3 kicking at Aggie Memorial Stadium, but is a perfect 8-for-8 away from AMS. He had an extra point blocked against SCST. The block was the first missed extra point of his career, as Albertson was previously 8-for-8 before the block.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES (HAWAII):
•Hawaii enters Saturday’s contest with an overall record of 1-3 this season. The Rainbow Warriors are riding a two-game losing streak after falling the last two weeks at Oregon State and San Jose State. Hawaii’s lone win was a 49-35 victory over Portland State. Hawaii rode a 28-0 first quarter lead to victory. The Rainbow Warriors have been outscored 45-3 this season on the road in the first quarter.
• Quarterback Chevan Cordiero continues to impress for UH. The Saint Louis School product was Tua Tagovalioa’s backup in HS, and has thrown for 1,133 yards this season, the third-most in the country. Cordiero has reached at least 300 yards passing in three of UH’s four contests.
• WR Nick Mardner, RB/WR Calvin Turner Jr and RB Dae Dae Hunter pose quite the three-headed monster for UH. Mardner has hauled in 18 catches for 339 yards and pair of scores. Turner is the Rainbow Warriors leading receiver having caught 21 passes for 294 yards and a score. Turner has also rushed 74 yards and four scores on the season. Hunter is UH’s leading rusher having run for 212 yards and a touchdown. Hunter also has caught 15 passes for 143 yards.
• Defensively the Aggies will need to contend with the potent Rainbow Warriors defensive line. The UH DL has recorded six of the teams seven sacks this season and is led by Jonah Laulu and O’tay Baker. Lauli has recorded 3.0 sacks and 3.5 tackles for loss, while while Baker has 3.0 tackles for loss and 2.0 sacks.
• In the secondary, NM State QBs need to be careful of defensive backs Cortez Davis and Khoury Bethley. Davis has a team-best five pass breakups while Bethley has a team-best 23 tackles and four breakups. The UH defense has three interceptions on the season.
“I was really happy for our players after the South Carolina State game because they’ve been such a great group to work with and done everything the right way. They needed that reward. Watching them celebrate in the locker room was special. I’m really proud of everything we’ve overcome and how we continue to improve each week. This has been a great group to work with.”
“This week’s matchup against Hawaii is a great challenge. Hawaii is right alongside San Diego State in terms of the best defensive team we’ll play this year. They’re really good defensively and have great speed. They play a lot of man coverage which means a lot of tight windows to fit throws into. They’ll bring a lot of pressure which is totally different than what we just played last week. It’s going to be a difficult task.”
The Aggies open the month of October and a three-game road swing next Saturday against San Jose State (Oct. 2). Kickoff from the Bay Area is set for 8:30 p.m. (MT) on NBC Sports California.