LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KTSM) – The Nevada-New Mexico State football game that will open the Jerry Kill era in Las Cruces will kickoff at 8 p.m. and be nationally televised on ESPN2 on Aug. 27.
It’s a move that had been in the works for some time and Kill finally made the announcement public on his weekly radio show on Wednesday night.
The Aggies are currently nine-point underdogs to the Wolfpack in the season opener at Aggie Memorial Stadium. It’s the first time an NMSU home football game has been featured on the linear ESPN family of networks since the Wyoming game to open the 2018 season.
NMSU is coming off of a 2-10 season in 2021, the last year of Doug Martin’s contract. The Aggies brought in Kill in the offseason to attempt to turn the program around.
So far through fall camp, the defense under new defensive coordinator Nate Dreiling has looked solid. NMSU returns nine starters, but is using a new scheme that is a 3-4 hybrid. The Aggies ask their outside linebackers to effectively serve as both defensive linemen and linebackers, which has become a popular scheme for teams with athletic players at those positions.
What it also means is that there is added pressure on NMSU’s inside linebacker duo of Trevor Brohard and Chris Ojoh to produce at a high level and cover a lot of ground.
Brohard and Ojoh are NMSU’s leading returning tacklers from a season ago and they’ve leaned into their new roles in Dreiling’s defense.
“They have to do a lot. One play they could be 40 yards down field in coverage, the next they could be blitzing the A gap,” said Dreiling. “Those guys and moving forward you’ll be seeing versatile players that are big and fast, but have to be able to think a lot too and those guys handle the playbook well, which is half of it.”
The experience NMSU brings back defensively, not only with Brohard and Ojoh but across the board, has helped them to learn the system quickly. They picked it up well in spring ball and that has continued throughout the fall.
Brohard and Ojoh both said they like the new responsibilities they have in the defensive scheme NMSU will employ in 2022.
“I’m more versatile now in the sense of the different packages, but really it’s the same thing in terms of making plays and doing what I have to do for the team,” said Brohard.
Offensively, NMSU continues to rep Diego Pavia and Gavin Frakes at quarterback, as they battle for the starting job. Kill said in the spring that Pavia would have started had the season started in April; it remains to be seen if he’s kept his job.
Whoever gets the nod will be under the bright lights to open the season on Aug. 27 at Aggie Memorial Stadium.