Aggies set to play Hawaii in Honolulu

NMSU

HONOLULU – The NM State football program returns to action Saturday night at the University of Hawai’i. Kickoff from the Clarence T.C. Ching Athletic Complex is set for 10 p.m. (MT).


The Aggies return to action this weekend after last weekend’s bye weekend.


HOW TO WATCH: 
Aggie fans can catch Saturday’s contest back in the States on Team1 Sports and the Team1 app (mobile/tablet) only.

LISTEN UP: 
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

MATCHUP:

• #FREED 13: with an ankle injury. Dumas recorded seven tackles, a pass breakup, and deflected Carson Strong’s first-quarter pass that was intercepted by Caleb Mills. SJSU Hanks to have a fumble recovery and an INT in the same game. Hanks accomplished that against Texas State on Nov. 19, 2016. Dumas returned to the lineup two weeks ago at Nevada after missing the game at Terril Dumas has burst onto the scene for the Aggies since becoming eligible. Dumas, who was deemed ineligible for the first three games of the season, forced a fumble and had an interception against Hawai’i. Dumas recorded an interception in his Aggie debut against South Carolina State and now has forced three turnovers. Dumas became the first Aggie since Syrus


• TALE OF TWO GAMES:

The Aggie’s contest at Nevada was really a tale of two games. NM State outscored UNR 7-3 in the opening quarter and 21-3 in the fourth. The Aggies were outscored 28-0 in the second period and 21-0 after halftime. QB 10 QB Jonah Johnson continues to come on for the Aggies. Since returning from injury three games ago in the first matchup against Hawai’i, Johnson has completed 96-of-151 passes (63.6%) for 1,005 yards and nine touchdowns. The QB has thrown just two picks in that span. Two weeks ago against UNR, Johnson threw for 425 yards and three scores and did not turn the ball over. Johnson’s 425 yards passing are the most by an Aggie QB since Tyler Rogers had 451 yards in the 2017 bowl-clincher against South Alabama (Dec. 2). Johnson became the first Aggie with 400 yards in a game since Josh Adkins tossed for 402 in a victory over Liberty in 2018 (Oct. 6). Johnson also became the first Aggie since Rogers in the South Alabama game to complete 35+ passes. Johnson had 38 completions, while Rodgers completed 40 of his 61 passes that night.


• ONE-TWO PUNCH:

NM State senior WR Jared Wyatt and sophomore Isaiah Garcia-Castaneda continue to form a formidable one-two punch for the Aggies. The Aggies top-two receivers thus far the duo have combiend for 56 receptions, 763 yards and six touchdowns. Since returning from COVID protocols Garcia-Castaneda has recorded 376 total yards (5 games), and has five touchdowns (4 receiving, 1 passing). Garcia-Castaneda caught a career-best seven passes for 106 yards and two scores against SJSU. He became the first wideout since Izaiah Lottie to catch a pair of touchdowns in a game. Lottie achieved that feat back on Sept. 16, 2017 against Troy. Wyatt has also had a strong last five games. After recording a career-best nine receptions for 114 yards and a score against Hawai’i in the matchup in LC, Wyatt hauled in six passes for 52 yards against SJSU and had six catches for 64 yards and a score at Nevada . He and Garcia-Castaneda are the first set of teammates since Nov. 2017 to record back-to-back 100 yard games. Wyatt and Garcia-Castaneda are on pace to both eclipse 500 yards receiving this season. They would become WR duo to have 500+ yards receiving since Jonathan Boone and OJ Clark had 715 yards and 512 yards respectively in 2018.

• BROHARD OR GO HOME:
Junior captain Trevor Brohard has taken his game to the next level this season. The Los Lunas native has recorded at least eight tackles in three of the four games he has played in this season. Since returning from COVID protocols (four games), Brohard has recorded 29 tackles (7.3/game) and 2.5 tackles for loss. Despite missing the two games, Brohard has recorded a team-best 40 tackles in his five games played, and the LB has at least eight tackles in four of those five games.

• OJOH FINDS HIS MOJOH AGAINST MW:
Eastern Washington transfer Chris Ojoh has played his best football this season against the Mountain West. The LB has recorded 7.0 tackles for loss in five games against the MW and all four of his sacks. Ojoh recorded his first-career multiple-sack game two weeks ago against Hawai’i.

• STRIKING A WAVE:
Saturday was a very special night, as during the second quarter, the Aggies passed the ceremonial tee from Striking the Wonder Dog to his “brother” Wave. Striking served as the Aggies official tee retriever for nine seasons after the retirement of Smokey the Wonder Dog in 2012.

• COMING UP THE MOUNTAIN:
Saturday’s contest against Hawai’i marks the sixth time through the first eight games that NM State has faced a member of the Mountain West Conference. The Aggies have already faced San Diego State (Sept. 4), New Mexico (Sept. 11), Hawai’i (Sept. 25, San Jose State (Oct. 3) and Nevada (Oct. 10). Saturday’s contest is the fourth game in a stretch of five straight games versus the Mountain West. Following Saturday’s return game against the Rainbow Warriors, the Aggies will return to Aggie Memorial Stadium to face off against Utah State.

• HITTING THE ROAD:
After playing four of their first five in Nevada. NM State closes the month on Saturday at Hawai’i.


• SEE YOU SOON:

The Aggies and Rainbow Warriors will play a home-and-home this season. After hosting Hawaii last 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).

• OH CAPTAIN MY CAPTAIN(S):

The 2021 NM State football team has selected Trevor BrohardSage DoxtaterAlex Escobar and Donavan King as 2021 captains. Escobar was also put on full scholarship prior to the Aggies opener against UTEP.

• STEELE LIKES THE AGGIES:
Led by redshirt senior Sage Doxtater, the Aggies placed five members of the 2021 Phil Steele Preseason All-Independent team. Doxtater was joined on the first team by running back/return man Juwaun Price, while Eli JohnsonO’Maury Samuels and Trevor Brohard round out the Aggies five selections.

• SAGE ADVICE:
Redshirt senior Sage Doxtater declined an opportunity to return to his native Canada and play for the Canadian Football League, and will instead return for his fifth season in Las Cruces. A projected Day Three selection in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft, Doxtater was selected by the Toronto Argonauts in the second round of this years CFL Draft. The Ontario native rounded out his busy offseason by getting married back in June.

• BACK TO NORMAL?
After seeing its entire 2020 slate canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Aggies played just two spring games against Tarleton and Dixie State at the Sun Bowl in El Paso. The Aggies 12 game 2021 schedule includes seven road games (San Diego State, UNM, San Jose State, Nevada, Hawai’i, Alabama and Kentucky). Starting with Saturday’s Battle of I-10, the Aggies will welcome South Carolina State, Hawai’i, Utah State and UMass to Las Cruces this fall.

NOTABLES: LAST GAME (UNR):
• QB Jonah Johnson recorded the Aggies sixth 400 yard passing game since 2016. If he can throw for 400 yards in another game this season he’d be the first QB since Tyler Rogers in 2017 to have multiple 400 yard passing games. Johnson is the first Aggie since Tyler Rogers to have back-to-back games with three passing touchdowns. Rogers opened the season with three straight games with at least three TDs in 2017 (ASU, UNM and Troy).

• Freshman WR PJ Johnson III had a night of firsts against Nevada. The true freshman hauled in his first career catch, and his first career touchdown. Johnson ended up with five catches for 49 yards and a score. Johnson is the first true freshman since 2015 (Royce Caldwell, Idaho) to catch a TD pass. Jason Huntley was last true freshman to record a TD in 2016.

• Defensive back Caleb Mills recorded his second interception of the season and his career. Mills tied CB Syrus Dumas and CB DJ McCullough for the team lead. The Aggies now have eight picks in seven games.

• Kicker Ethan Albertson missed his first career field goal away from AMS. Albertson was 10-for-10 all-time on the road/neutral sites in his career. Albertson failed to make a field goal for just the second time this season (South Carolina State, Sept. 18).

BEHIND ENEMY LINES (Hawai’i):
•The Rainbow Warriors have enlisted the services of freshman QB Brayden Schager the last two weeks. Schager has completed 33-of-66 passes for 321 yards, two touchdowns and four picks. Against Nevada last Saturday he threw for 205 yards and four picks. Schager was sacked five times. Trailing 20-17 at the half, UH was outscored 14-0 in the second half.

• Hawaii’s starter in the first matchup, Chevan Cordiero has missed the last two Hawai’i contests due to a suspected injury. On Saturday, Cordiero played one play and punted for 35 yards. Cordeiro completed 16-of-25 passes for 277 yards and touchdown. He was sacked three times.

• Without Cordiero, running back Dae Dae Hunter has picked up the slack. Hunter ran for 127 yards on 21 carries against Fresno and had 174 yards rushing and two touchdowns on just eight carries. Hunter’s rushing scores were for 75 and 81 yards. • Since going off for 120 yards receiving against the Aggies a month ago, Biletnikoff nominee Nick Mardner has managed just three catches for 33 yards with Schager under center. Mardner ripped off a 74 yard TD reception on Hawaii’s first offensive play from scrimmage in the previous matchup on Sept. 25.

• Jacksonville University transfer Calvin Turner Jr continues to be a weapon for the Rainbow Warriors. Turner Jr had a career-best eight catches for 83 yards on Saturday against Nevada. He now has 484 yards and two scores through the air, and has added 200 yards rushing with six TDs. His eight touchdowns are the most on the team.

• The Aggies will again need to contend with defensive backs Cameron Lockridge, Khoury Bethley and Cortez Davis. Lockridge returned a “fumble” for a touchdown and had an interception the last time these two teams met. The Florida native was named Mountain West Defensive Player of Week for his efforts. Davis had six tackles and a pair of pass breakups in the Sept. 25 matchup. Davis now has seven pass breakups over his last four games and 10 for the season. Bethley stripped QB Jonah Johnson and recovered a fumble the last time these two met. Bethley leads UH in tackles (51), TFLs (5.0) and is second in sacks (3.0). The DB had a 13 tackles and a pass breakup last week at Nevada.

UP NEXT:
The Aggies after an open week finally return to Aggie Memorial Stadium for a 2 p.m. contest against Utah State. The contest will be NM State’s first home game since Sept. 25 against Hawai’i.

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