RENO, Nev. — The NM State football program returns to action for a primetime nationally televised contest at Nevada Saturday night.
Kick-off from Mackay Stadium is set for 8:30 p.m. on CBS Sports Network.
HOW TO WATCH:
Aggie fans can catch Saturday’s contest live on CBS Sports Network and on CBSSports.com. Jason Knapp (PBP) will be joined by Ross Tucker (Color) and Desmond Purnell (Sidelines).
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 NOTES (Nevada):
• #FREED 13: Syrus Dumas has burst onto the scene the last two games. Dumas, who was deemed ineligible for the first three games of the season, forced a fumble and had an interception Saturday. Dumas recorded an interception in his Aggie debut against South Carolina State and now has forced three turnovers. Dumas became the first Aggie since Terril Hanks to have a fumble recovery and an INT in the same game. Hanks accomplished that against Texas State on Nov. 19, 2016. After missing last week’s game against SJSU, Dumas is on track to return this week against Nevada.
• IN THE NICK OF TIME: Redshirt freshman Nick Giacolone continues to come on as of late for the Aggies. The Venice, Fla. native had a career-best 11 tackles and recovered a fumble on Saturday. Giacolone now has 25 tackles the last three weeks (8.3/game) and has recorded an interception and a fumble recovery over that span. The interception, Giacolone’s first of his career, sealed the Aggies victory over South Carolina State.
• 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 45 receptions, 623 yards and five touchdowns. Since returning from COVID protocols Garcia-Castaneda has recorded 300 total yards (4 games), and has five touchdowns (4 receiving, 1 passing). Garcia-Castaneda caught a career-best seven passes for 106 yards and two scores last week. He became the first wide out 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 four games. After recording a career-best nine receptions for 114 yards and a score, Wyatt hauled in six passes for 52 yards last weekend. He and Garcia-Castaneda are the first set of teammates since Nov. 2017 to record backto-back 100 yard games.
• 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 (three games), Brohard has recorded 21 tackles (7.0/game) and 2.5 tackles for loss.
• 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 four games against the MW and all four of his sacks. Ojoh recorded his first-career multiple-sack game two weeks ago against Hawai’i.
NOTABLES: LAST GAME (SJSU):
• QB Jonah Johnson recorded his first career multiple touchdown game. The signal caller was an efficient 30-44 Saturday for 300 yards and three scores.
• The last time the Aggies had two receivers record back-to-back 100 games was Nov. of 2017 when Jaleel Scott (7 rec., 130 yards, TD) and Larry Rose III (7 rec. 101, TD) accomplished the feat against Texas State and Louisiana.
• Linebacker Michael Bowe Jr. has been a consistent contributor all season for the Aggies. Playing in all six games this season, Bowe has recorded a team-best 33 tackles and an Aggie-best 19 solo tackles. Bowe has broken up a pass, recovered a fumble and has four QB hurries.
• Defensive tackle Lama Lavea blocked a third quarter extra point for the Aggies. Lavea became the first Aggie since Sion Henrique blocked an extra point at Florida (Sept. 5, 2015).
• Ethan Albertson made his lone field attempt of the contest on Saturday. Albertson is now a perfect 10-for-10 on the road/neutral sites in his career. Albertson is now 8-for-11 this season on field goal attempts.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES (Nevada):
•The Wolf Pack offense will pose one of the stiffest tests the Aggies have seen this season. Led by projected first round pick and QB Carson Strong, the Wolf Pack are riding high after last week’s 41-31 victory at Boise State. Strong completed 25-of-38 passes for 263 yards and a touchdown. On the season the QB has thrown for eight scores and recorded just two interceptions.
• In addition to Strong’s heroics last week, the Wolfpack also got a monster day from RB Toa Taua who ran for 124 yards on just 12 carries. The RB also had seven receptions for 44 yards and added a pair of rushing scores. Taua was named Mountain West Player of the Week on Monday. Taua was a Second Team All- MW selection in 2020.
• Los Angeles native Romeo Doubs serves as Nevada’s primary target. So far this season, Doubs has recorded at least five catches in every contest, including a seven reception, 121 yard performance at Kansas State. Doubs is averaging a team best 76 receiving yards per game.
• After facing an NFL caliber TE last week in Derrick Deese Jr. the Aggies will once again face a potential pro at the tight end position this week in Cole Turner. Turner is second on the Wolf Pack in receptions (20), yards (202) and touchdowns (4)
• The Aggies must also contend with fifth year WR Elijah Cooks. Cooks has not played since the Kansas State contest, but has caught four touchdowns this season. Cooks had seven receptions for 89 yards and a pair of scores against Idaho State.
• And while Nevada’s offense gets a lot of the attention, the Wolf Pack are really talented defensively too. LB Daiyan Henley has 35 total tackles, and interception, three pass breakups and a fumble recovery.
COACH SPEAK (HC DOUG MARTIN):
“Last week, especially offensively, I thought we made great strides. We continue to improve each week. Last week was probably our best game offensively in a couple of years. San Jose State is an excellent defensive team. They were holding people to around 30 percent on third downs and we converted close to 65 percent of our third downs last week. In the redzone they had only given up four scores in 14 attempts, and we were five-of-five, and scored 30 points. I though Jonah [Johnson] played extraordinarily well. Throwing for the three touchdowns and just the one interception where the WR ran the wrong route. That was a tremendous effort on the offensive side and our offense is playing with a lot of confidence. Defensively we’re doing some good things, we forced another turnover to set up a score, but we’re just not consistent enough in any phase defensively. To take the defending Mountain West Champions to the wire was still an accomplishment for us. We’ll keep working. This will be another difficult challenge for us this week. Nevada is another extraordinary football team. They have great speed and play really well on defense. They’re exceptional on offense, and the QB is an NFL player. He can throw the ball as well as anyone in the country and they throw the ball a lot and really well. So, our defense is going to really get tested, and our offense will need to answer when they score like we did last week so we can stay in the game.”
The Aggies will take one of two bye weeks next week ahead of the Oct. 23 contest at Hawai’i. Kickoff from Honolulu is set for 10 p.m. (MT).