New Mexico State Preview 2006
New Mexico State Aggies
Posted Aug 9, 2006

UCF went 0-11 in 2004 and ended up playing for the Conference USA title in 2005 in year two under George O'Leary. Is there any chance New Mexico State can make a similar surprise leap in 2006 in Hal Mumme's second season?

Offense | Defense | Depth Chart | Further Analysis


It wasn't just that the team went winless last year, it was that it was bad at everything other than punting. The run defense, pass defense, offensive line and ground games all battled for the honor of being the worst in America, while the much-anticipated passing  attack was ineffective at best, a liability at worst. 

Things can't be worse, and they won't be with enough experienced players to expect better overall production and a quarterback in Chase Holbrook who should be far, far more efficient than Royal Gill and Joey Vincent were last year. It's also a plus to play in the WAC where immediate results can come right away with just a little bit of better overall play.

Head coach: Hal Mumme
2nd year: 0-12
16th year overall: 97-76-1
Returning Lettermen:
Off. 24, Def. 22, ST 0
Lettermen Lost: 16
Ten Best Aggie Players
1. WR A.J. Harris, Soph.
2. SS Eric Carrie, Jr.
3. RB Justin Buries, Jr.
4. WR Tim Tolbert, Sr.
5. C Mike Martinez, Soph.
6. CB Courtney Bryan, Sr.
7. WR Aikeem Jolla, Sr.
8. QB Chase Holbrook, Soph.
9. DE Jared Naylor, Sr.
10. LB Shauna Leaupepe, Soph.

2006 Schedule
CFN Prediction: 3-9

8/31 SE Louisiana
9/9 New Mexico
9/16 Texas Southern
9/30 at UTEP
10/7 at Idaho
10/14 Boise State
10/21 Hawaii
10/28 at Nevada
11/4 San Jose State
11/11 at Fresno State
11/25 at Utah State
12/2 Louisiana Tech

2005 Schedule
CFN Prediction:
2005 Record: 0-12

Preview 2005 predicted wins

9/3 UTEP L 34-17
9/10 at Colorado L 39-0
9/17 at New Mexico L 38-21
9/23 California L 41-13
10/1 at La Tech L 34-14
10/8 Fresno State L 37-7
10/15 at Hawaii  L 49-28
10/29 Idaho L 38-37 2OT
11/5 at Boise State L 56-6
11/12 Nevada L 48-24
11/19 at San Jose St L 27-10
11/26 Utah State L 24-21

Step one for Mumme will be to make his team competitive after being outscored by an average of 39 to 16.5 per game and only coming within single-digits in losses to Idaho and Utah State. Step two will be to get the passing game going to the point to where it makes defensive coordinators quake. NMSU doesn't have to be fantastic on both sides of the ball, but it has to be equipped to hang up 35 points every once in a while and get involved in a few shootouts. That'll happen this year.

The overall talent level will continue to improve as Mumme brings in recruits and JUCO transfers to match what he wants to do after trying to play with pieces that didn't come close to fitting last year. Remember, this is a program that ran the option not all that long ago.

This will be a fun team to watch, for good and bad, and it does have the potential to eventually make a huge turnaround and start to be a player in the WAC. Mumme's track record would suggest nothing less.

The Schedule: The Aggies will not only get their first win in the Hal Mumme era early on, they'll be 2-1 thanks to games against SE Louisiana and Texas Southern. The road games are spread out nicely with two, two-game road trips to worry about. The mid-section of the season will be the most interesting to see where NMSU stacks up against the WAC heavyweights playing Boise State and Hawaii at home before going to Nevada. It's a bad break getting winnable games against Idaho and Utah State on the road.

Best Offensive Player: Sophomore WR A.J. Harris. RB Justine Buries is the team's most effective offensive player for the role he plays and QB Chase Holbrook will put up the numbers to get him the headlines, but Harris is the emerging go-to star with size and speed on the outside X position.

Best Defensive Player: Junior SS Eric Carrie. This could quickly change if CB Courtney Bryan steps up his overall game as a senior and LB Shauna Leaupepe can adequately replace Jimmy Cottrell in the middle. Carrie is a big hitting safety who's the one sure-thing on the defense after finishing third on the team in tackles.

Key player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Chase Holbrook. The Aggies might as well not even show up this year if the 6-6, 235-pound bomber doesn't play well. Redshirt freshman Scott Grantham has potential, but Holbrook has to be the face of the offense and the one who starts to put up Mumme-quarterback-like numbers to make the offense go and make NMSU competitive.

The season will be a success if ... the Aggies win five games. The two D-IAA games have to be locks, there has to be at least a split on the road against Idaho and Utah State, the home date with San Jose State is a must-win, and there needs to be one out-of-the-blue upset to make this happen. It's very possible.

Key game: Oct. 7 at Idaho. It's the WAC opener with the Aggies needing to avenge last year's 38-27 double-overtime loss to the Vandals. A win would likely mean a 3-2 start and a world of confidence for a team sorely in need of it.

2005 Fun Stats: 
- Third quarter scoring: Opponents 85 - New Mexico State 6
- Sacks: Opponents 45 for 298 yards - New Mexico State 9 for 57 yards
- Penalties: Opponents 90 for 809 yards - New Mexico State 63 for 494 yards

The Last Time New Mexico State
…played in a bowl game…1960 (Sun Bowl v. Utah State)
…missed a bowl game…2005
…pitched a shutout…2001 (Louisiana-Monroe)
…was shutout…2005 (Colorado)
…scored 50 points…2004 (Florida International)
…went undefeated…1960
…won a conference title…1978 (Missouri Valley)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…1995 (Cody Ledbetter)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2000 (Chris Barnes)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…1995 (Lucious Davis)
…had a first-round draft choice…1961 (RB Bob Gaiters)

Related Stories
New Mexico State Preview 2006 - Offense
 -by  Aug 9, 2006
New Mexico St Preview 2006 Further Analysis
 -by  Aug 9, 2006
New Mexico State Preview 2006 - Depth Chart
 -by  Aug 9, 2006

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