Saturday: New Mexico State (0-5) at New Mexico (1-3, 0-1 Mountain West)
Time/Location: 5:08 p.m. on Branch Field at University Stadium
TV: ROOT Sports (Comcast 261, DirecTV 683, Dish 414); Mountain West Network (game online subject to blackout within the ROOT Sports footprint)
Radio: Lobo Radio Network (770 KKOB-AM), ESPN Deportes (1450 KRZY-AM)
Game Promotions: 10,000 glow-in-the-dark pom-poms will be distributed; John Misita's K('s in Flight Frisbee Dog Show during a 25-minute halftime (both events sponsored by Route 66 Casino Hotel); American Indian Day; Former Lobo football players will form lines for the team as it exits to take the field; coupons distributed for the UNM Bookstore and Sadie's Restaurant after the game.
The Rio Grande Rivalry between the state’s Division I programs resumes Saturday with the 105th annual New Mexico-New Mexico State football game.
The Rio Grande rivalry is a series between UNM and NMSU that encompasses athletic teams for both programs. It began with the 2007-08 school year. The rivalry consists of a point-based competition and is awarded to the school that accumulates the most points from the matchups between the schools. The victor each school year receives a rotating trophy bearing the inscription of the annual winners. The Lobos have won all seven years of the rivalry and have a 6.0-0 lead this season, winning head-to-head competitions in women’s soccer, volleyball and men’s golf. The football game is worth three points to the victor.
The Lobos lead the football series against the Aggies 67-32-5. UNM halted NMSU’s three-game winning streak last season in Las Cruces with a 27-14 victory.
UNM running back Kasey Carrier enters Saturday’s game vs. the Aggies as the nation’s seventh-ranked rusher and the Mountain West leader. The senior from Pearland, Texas, is averaging 139.8 yards per game on the ground. He has had two of the top 15 rushing performances in school history this season, with a 291-yard effort at UTEP (No. 2) on Sept. 7 and a 192-yard game vs. UNLV (No. 13) last Saturday. Carrier earned College Football Performance Awards and Earl Campbell Tyler Rose honorable mentions for his effort against the Rebels.
Senior punter Ben Skaer is No. 15 in the country with an average of 44.7 yards per punt. Sophomore kick returner Carlos Wiggins ranks 25th nationally with an average of 27.1 yards per attempt.
Wiggins earned a CFPA National All-Purpose Performer of the Week Award for his 263 all-purpose yards last week vs. UNLV. Wiggins had career highs in rushing yards (119) and receiving yards (57), and had 87 kickoff yards. Junior Brett Bowers was CFPA Defensive Lineman of Week honorable mention. He had six tackles, 2.5 tackles for loss and a forced fumble vs. UNLV.
UNM is nationally ranked in several categories. It is No. 3 in the nation in rushing at 324.5 yards per game. The Lobos are No. 13 in net punting at 42.1 yards per game, tied for 17th in penalty yardage, yielding 34.5 yards per game, tied for No. 25 in red zone offense (12 scores in 13 possessions) and tied for 25th in fourth-down-conversion defense, allowing first downs just 33.3 percent of the time.
The Aggies are 0-5 on the season, having lost to two ranked foes. NMSU led Mountain West member San Diego State heading into the fourth quarter last week before ultimately falling 26-16. Senior quarterback Andrew McDonald is completing 68.4 percent of his passes and has thrown for 910 yards on the season. He has six touchdowns and just two interceptions. Albuquerque’s Joshua Bowen (Manzano High School) is the leading wide receiver for the Aggies with 24 receptions for 243 yards and two TDs on the season.
Saturday’s game marks the 105th meeting between the schools. UNM’s 27-14 victory last season ended NMSU’s three-game winning streak in the series. The Lobos have a 39-15-3 all-time record against the Aggies at home.
Combined, the teams have 54 players (UNM —33, NMSU —21) from the state of New Mexico.
NMSU QUICK FACTS:
• The Aggies are 0-5 after a 26-16 loss at home to San Diego State, which is coached by former Lobos head coach Rocky Long. Doug Martin is in his first year as head coach of the Aggies.
• The Aggies have used two quarterbacks this season, but senior Andrew McDonald took all the snaps against the Aztecs and threw for 228 yards and two touchdowns. On the season, he’s averaging 182.0 passing yards per game.
• NMSU has six players in double figures in receptions in 2013. Albuquerque’s Joshua Bowen (Manzano HS) leads the group with 24 receptions for 243 yards and one TD.
• Senior free safety Davis Cazares leads the Aggies defense with an average of 12.4 tackler per game, and he has two interceptions, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery this season. Senior Trashaun Nixon leads the unit with 5.5 tackles for loss.
• UNM offensive line coach Jason Lenzmeier’s entire coaching career has been spent in New Mexico. He coached NMSU from 2009-11 in between Lobos stints (2006-08, 2012-present).
• NMSU offensive line coach Bart Miller is a UNM graduate who played on the Lobos offensive line from 2006-07 for Lenzmeier.
• Lobos Jeric Magnant, Zack Rogers, Josh Baggett and Tim Foley all played with Aggies wide receiver Adam Shapiro at Rio Rancho HS.
• UNM sophomores Cole Gautsche and Reece White played with NMSU offensive lineman Abram Holland at Rio Rancho’s Cleveland HS.
• Lobo running back Xavier Madrid and Aggie linebacker Isaac Leon both attended Albuquerque’s St. Pius X.
• Junior Lobo defensive back Dante Caro and NMSU safety Zachery Baker and running back Xavier Hall played football at Las Cruces HS.
• UNM cornerback SaQwan Edwards and NMSU wide receiver Travaughn Colwell were teammates at Manvel HS in Manvel, Texas.
• Lobos Tayo and Toye Adewon and Aggie Lewis Hill attended Liberty HS in Frisco, Texas.