After the first win of the Coach Kill era and the first ever win over the University of Hawai’i last weekend, the NM State football team looks to spark a winning streak against the FIU Panthers this weekend. On Saturday night, the Aggies will look to secure back-to-back victories for the first time since 2019 in front of the home crowd. The game marks the second of four straight contests at Aggie Memorial Stadium for NM State.
NM State (1-4) vs. FIU (1-3, 0-1 C-USA)
dates: October 1, 2022
Time: 6:00pm MT
TV: FloSports / Bally Sports Arizona / Comcast New Mexico
The Aggies ran for a whopping 357 yards over Hawaii last weekend. The performance finished 11th on the FBS single-game rushing charts for the 2022 season.
537 – This season, FIU is allowing 537.3 yards of total offense, ranking 129th of 131 FBS teams. Ohio and fellow C-USA member Charlotte are allowing more yards with Charlotte allowing 560.0 yards per game.
14 – Chris Ojoh recorded 14 tackles in the NM State win over Hawai’i. The linebacker surpassed his previous career-best of 13, which was set last season in Tuscaloosa against No. 1 Alabama.
5 – Star Thomas, Gavin Frakes, Jamoni Jones, and Ahmonte Watkins combined for five rushing touchdowns against Hawai’i. The game marked the first time NM State had four or more touchdowns in a game since September 21, 2019 against New Mexico.
44 – NM State’s passing defense ranks 44th nationally this season. During the 2021 campaign, the Aggies ranked 128th against the pass with only Duke and Michigan State being worse.
1 – Saturday’s win for NM State marked both the first win of the Jerry Kill era and the school’s first ever win over Hawai’i. The Aggies are also 1-0 all-time against FIU with a 56-31 win in 2004.
News and Notes
For the first time this season, NM State took their victory lap around Aggie Memorial Stadium, taking down Hawai’i 45-20. NM State concludes every good practice with a victory lap – A tradition that Jerry Kill wants to begin in Las Cruces following wins.
The ground game was working in full force on Saturday over Hawai’i. NM State ran for 357 yards and five touchdowns in the victory.
The game marked the first time since September 21, 2019 against New Mexico that the Aggies ran for four or more touchdowns in a game.
With 133 rushing yards, Star Thomas became the first Aggie to finish with between 100-149 rushing yards since Christian Gibson ran for 103 yards at UTEP in 2018.
Jamoni Jones ran for his first two touchdowns of the season in the win and became the second NM State player this season to run for two or more touchdowns in a game, joining Diego Pavia (2) at UTEP.
Chris Ojoh, Diego Pavia, Trevor Brohard, Lazarus Williams, Canaan Yarro, and Syrus Dumas have each represented NM State at the coin toss this season.
Yarro and Brohard won the toss against Hawai’i last week, electing to defer. It marked the third consecutive week that NM State opened the game by kicking off.
REPRESENTING A COUNTRY
With the addition of Nikhil Webb Walker, NM State now has the only player in FBS football with a hometown located in Jamaica. The linebacker recently joined the NM State roster as a walk-on.
SECOND QUARTER STRUGGLES
Through four games this season, NM State has struggled to get anything going. The Aggies are being outscored 79-23 in the second quarter thus far this season. In the Hawai’i game, the Aggies made great strides towards erasing the deficit, outscoring the Rainbow Warriors 21-3 in the second frame.
Both of NM State’s games against UTEP and Wisconsin ended after exactly 3:23 of game time.
Throughout the early parts of the 2022 season, NM State has been platooning a pair of quarterbacks. Both Diego Pavia and Gavin Frakes have made starts and have seen action in every game for NM State.
The Aggies may have found their man in Gavin Frakes against Hawai’i, though. Frakes led NM State to victory and played all but one snap for the Aggies.
Saturday’s contest against FIU will be the second meeting of the season against Conference USA opponents for NM State.
NM State will move to C-USA for the 2022-23 academic year
PUTTING THE STAR INTO STAR THOMAS
After his massive performance against the Rainbow Warriors, Big Game Boomer ranked Thomas’ performance as the twelfth-best running back showing in Week Four.
BULLETIN BOARD MATERIAL
In what appears to have been bulletin board material for the Aggies, ESPN’s Ryan McGee ranked the Aggies as No. 1 on his weekly Bottom Ten list ahead of the Hawai’i game. In other news, McGee also had FIU on his weekly “waiting list”.
ROAD WOE RRIORS
NM State has currently lost 21 straight road contests, dating back to 2017 – The longest active streak in the nation.
Luckily for the Aggies, UMass sits just behind NM State with 20 straight road losses and a Saturday trip to take on Eastern Michigan.
THE LAST MEETING
There has only been one previous meeting between the Aggies and Panthers – A 56- 31 NM State victory in Las Cruces back on October 30, 2004.
Just three days later, George W. Bush was re-elected President of the United States, defeating John Kerry in the 2004 presidential election.
NOTES: LAST GAME (Hawai’i)
The road warriors came home and took care of business over the Rainbow Warriors, 45-20. The win marked the first of the Jerry Kill era and the first in school history over the University of Hawai’i.
The running came worked all night for the Aggies as they ran the ball for 357 yards and five touchdowns against Hawai’i. The Star Thomas show was on full display as Thomas ran for 144 yards on just 11 carries – An average of 13.1 yards a pop. Gavin Frakes, Jamoni Jones, and Ahmonte Watkins all got in on the scoring action with Jones finding the end zone twice.
Thomaz Whitford added NM State’s only score of the day through the air when Frakes found him for a one-yard touchdown pass.
On defense, Chris Ojoh set a new career-high with 14 tackles, surpassing his previous best which was set in Tuscaloosa against No. 1 Alabama. Career-highs littered the NM State stat sheet as the Aggies kicked off their four game homestand.
BEHIND ENEMY LINES (FIU)
To say the least, last weekend did not go as FIU planned. The Panthers were torched by Western Kentucky by a score of 73-0 on the road.
FIU opened their 2022 campaign with a 38-37 win over Bryant University in overtime and suffered their first loss of the season to Texas State in San Marco, Texas.
Under center, Grayson James is leading the Panther offense, throwing for just shy of 500 yards and four scores this season. The running game for FIU has struggled in the early part of 2022 with EJ Wilson Jr. leading the ground attack with 79 yards.
Of note – The Panthers will be playing in just their fourth game of the season while NM State is heading into their sixth. FIU had a bye week on the week of September 17th.