NMSU looks to win third straight over UTEP in Battle of I-10

NMSU

LAS CRUCES, NM (KTSM) – New Mexico State is set to clash with a longtime rival in their final home game of the season this weekend.

NM State and UTEP renew the annual “Battle of I-10” gridiron showdown this Saturday, Nov. 23, inside Aggie Memorial Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2 p.m. MT on FloFootball and Fox Sports Arizona Plus.

This Saturday’s contest is also Senior Day. The Aggies will honor 23 soon-to-be graduates on the field before kickoff and look to send off the seniors with their third win against the Miners in as many years.

HOW TO WATCH
The contest will be broadcast on FloFootball with Adam Young (play-by-play) and Danny Knee (analyst) on the call. Fans can also watch the game via FOX Sports Arizona Plus and FOX Sports Go.

OUR SILVER SPADE. OUR BRASS SPITTOON.

The Aggies have won the previous two meetings with the Miners and currently own bragging rights in the long-standing rivalry between the two programs.

NM State defeated UTEP, 41-14, in 2017 at Aggie Memorial Stadium before winning 27-20 at the Sun Bowl one year ago. The Aggies also have the upper hand in games played in Las Cruces, holding a 20-19-1 lead.

AMONG THE NATION’S BEST

Linebacker Javahn Fergurson is once again among the nation’s best in tackling. The Baton Rouge, Louisiana native, who led the FBS in tackles per game last season, has 111 total tackles through 10 games this year, which ranks as fifth most in the country.

He has double-digit tackles in seven games this year, racking up at least 13 tackles in seven consecutive contests before the game against UIW. The redshirt senior ranks fifth in the FBS in tackles per game.

1.                   Evan Weaver (Cal) – 15.1

2.                   Dele Harding (Illinois) – 12.0

3.                   John Lako (Akron) – 11.6

4.                   Treshaun Hayward (WMU) – 11.5

5.                   Javahn Fergurson (NM State) – 11.1

The Aggie offense, meanwhile, continues to rely on the arm of quarterback Josh Adkins. The redshirt sophomore signal caller has been up to the task this season, as he ranks ninth in the FBS in completions per game with 23.9.

SCOUTING THE MINERS

UTEP enters Saturday’s contest with a 1-9 overall record, including a winless 0-7 mark in Conference USA play. The Miners have lost nine consecutive games after squeaking by FCS foe Houston Baptist, 36-34, in the season opener.

The Miner offense relies heavily on its run game. UTEP is led by halfbacks Treyvon Hughes and Josh Fields, who have combined for 158 carries, 705 yards and 12 touchdowns. Hughes, a former linebacker, made the switch to running back in 2018, finishing last season third on the team with 320 rushing yards and a touchdown.

Quarterbacks Kai Locksley and Brandon Jones have split time under center, with each making five starts this year. The signal callers have combined to throw for 1,499 yards and five touchdowns.

Wide receiver Tre’Shon Wolf is the leading Miner pass catcher. He has 27 receptions for 347 yards and two touchdowns this season.

Tight end Jess Trussell, a transfer from Purdue, has a reception in seven games for the Miners this season, including a season-long reception of 37 yards against Nevada.

The stats show that UTEP’s offense is one of the nation’s best on fourth down this season. The Miners are ranked 13th nationally in fourth-down conversion percentage (.727), successfully converting 16-of-22 attempts this year.

Defensively, UTEP is helmed by leading tacklers defensive backs Michael Lewis and Justin Rogers. Lewis is first on the Miners in total tackles with 81, making 47 solo stops, while Rogers is second with 64 total tackles.

Lewis and Rogers have each picked off a pass this year, accounting for two of UTEP’s four total interceptions this season. Defensive back Ykili Ross, meanwhile, holds the team high in interceptions with two.

Defensive end Praise Amaewhule and defensive tackle Denzel Chukwukelu are tied for the team lead in sacks with 3.0 apiece. Each have also logged a team-high 5.0 tackles for loss this season.

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