LAS CRUCES, N.M. – A battle between FBS independents is set for Saturday night.
NM State hosts Liberty for the first game of the two teams’ home-and-home series at 6 p.m. MT Saturday, Oct. 5, inside Aggie Memorial Stadium.
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.
Fans can also listen to every Aggie football game this season via the Aggie Sports Network. NM State Athletics/US Bank Hall of Famer Jack Nixon mans the play-by-play duties, and Cory Lucas provides analysis.
The broadcast can be heard on NM State’s flagship station 99.5 FM KXPZ or on TuneIn. Additional radio affiliates include:
Alamogordo – 103.7 FM KNMZ
Albuquerque – 1150 AM KNMM
Carlsbad – 1240 AM KAMQ
El Paso – 1380 AM KHEY
Gallup – 1230 AM, 94.9 FM KYVA
Las Vegas – 107.1 FM KMDS
NM State and Liberty meet for the first of two times this season Saturday. The Aggies will head to Lynchburg, Va., for the regular-season finale on Nov. 30.
The programs also clashed twice in 2018. The Aggies and Flames were the first Division I football teams to square off twice in the regular season since 1998, when UConn and UMass played twice.
New Mexico earned a 49-41 victory in Las Cruces on Oct. 6, 2018, before suffering a 28-21 setback at Liberty on Nov. 24, 2018.
HOMECOMING & AG DAY
NM State Athletics is set to celebrate Homecoming and the seventh-annual AG Day during Saturday’s contest.
Dating back to 1960, the Aggies are 27-31 in Homecoming games. NM State is 3-3 in Homecoming games under head coach Doug Martin, including a 2-0 mark while competing as an independent.
NM State defeated Liberty (49-41) in last year’s Homecoming contest. The Aggies accumulated nearly 600 yards of total offense, led by quarterback Josh Adkins’ 402 passing yards and four touchdowns.
Halfback Christian Gibson ran for a career-high 127 yards and two scores. Wideout OJ Clark, meanwhile, caught a career-best 10 passes for a career-high 145 yards and a touchdown.
The Aggies’ other Homecoming wins under
Coach Martin came against Louisiana (37-31) in 2016 and Abilene Christian
(34-29) in 2013.
SCOUTING THE FLAMES
Liberty enters Saturday’s game riding a three-game winning streak. The Flames are seeking their first four-game winning streak since 2016 and their first 4-2 start to a season since 2010.
Quarterback Stephen ‘Buckshot’ Calvert has three straight 300-yard passing games. The senior signal caller is 242 yards shy of reaching the 10,000-yard milestone for his career, which would make him the third active FBS passer with 10,000 yards.
Calvert’s favorite target is wideout Antonio Gandy-Golden. The senior pass-catcher ranks second in the nation with 688 receiving yards this season and tops all active FBS receivers with 3,106 receiving yards. He is 65 yards away from breaking the Liberty career record.
With those two at the helm, the Flames have posted 400 or more yards of total offense in three straight games. Liberty is 3-0 this year when finishing a game with 400+ total yards of offense, averaging 480.7 yards per game during the three-game winning streak.
The Liberty defense, meanwhile, is coming off its best performance of the season. The Flames limited New Mexico to 10 points and recorded two sacks against a Lobo team that previously had not allowed a quarterback takedown in 2019.
Defensive end Jessie Lemonier ranks No. 17 in the country in sacks with 4.5, including a 3.0 sack effort against Buffalo. The redshirt senior finished the 2018 campaign with 10.0 sacks, becoming just one of three players in Liberty history to record 10+ sacks in a season.
The Flames also recorded a pair of interceptions against New Mexico and now rank eighth in the country in passes intercepted. Liberty has six INTs through four games this season.
LIFE AS AN INDEPENDENT
NM State and Liberty, in its second season as an FBS member, are two of the six FBS independent teams. Army, BYU, Notre Dame and UMass round out the group of football programs are not part of an NCAA-affiliated conference.