LAS CRUCES, N.M. – Following one its most successful seasons the program has seen in its history and a victory in the Quick Lane Bowl, New Mexico State returns to action on Saturday, Aug. 26, at 5 p.m. when they play host to UMass inside Aggie Memorial Stadium on ESPN.
Aggie Memorial Stadium will be the site for a bout shown on ESPN’s flagship station for the first time in 17 years as NM State and UMass will battle in what will be the lone game on ESPN during Week 0.
Head Coach Jerry Kill begins his second season at the helm of the Aggie program after leading NM State to a 7-6 overall record and victory in the Quick Lane bowl in his first season on th job.
After spending the previous five seasons as one of just six schools at the FBS level to be labeled an Independent, the Aggies are now officially members of Conference USA.
The last time that NM State resided in a football league was in 2017 when it competed as members of the Sun Belt – finishing 7-6 overall and 4-4 in conference play on its way to earning a spot in the Nova Home Loans Arizona bowl to end a 57-year drought without a bowl game.
The Aggies represent one of four new programs in CUSA as they were joined by Jacksonville State, Liberty and Sam Houston when they made the transition on July 1. Meanwhile, the league also consists of five returning members (FIU, Louisiana Tech, Middle Tennessee, UTEP and Western Kentucky).
The last time the Aggies were in a conference was also the most recent time before 2022 that they finished with a winning record. This fact alone means that 2023 will be just the second time in the last 21 seasons that the Aggie program enters a year in which they finised with a .500 winning percentage or better in the previous campaign.
With success comes expectations and that is exactly what this offseason has consisted of for NM State. In a recent poll produced by Big Game Boomer, the Aggies were labeled as the No. 22 ranked Group of Five team in college football. The 2022 Quick Lane Bowl Champions were also selected to finish fifth in the Conference USA Preseason Poll based on a vote of the league’s nine head coaches.