College Football Preview: The 2014 New Mexico State Aggies
Doug Martin leads New Mexico State in their first year in the Sun Belt.
2014 College Football Preview
The New Mexico State Aggies enter the Sun Belt in 2014 as they continue to rebuild for the future.
Overview: Doug Martin didn't have a good 2013 in his first season with a 2-10 record with a defense that couldn't get a three and out to save their life. This year he loses the key talent from an adequate offense and is basically starting from scratch.
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Offense: Andrew McDonald gave the offense a decent passing threat but he not only takes over 2,500 passing yards and a 66% completion rate with him to graduation he leaves a huge void under center. King Davis III was the backup a year ago and has the ability to run that NMSU craves so he appears to be the favorite among many candidates. Leading receiver Austin Franklin and top RB Germi Morrison have also departed but the receiving corps returns the next six and the backfield will lean on #2 rusher Brandon Betancourt (93-415) and Xavier Hall (48-247) to carry the load. The offensive line returns three starters which in theory could help the running game if the passing attack flounders.
Defense: The D-Line lost three of their top five but whether that is good or bad is a blurry line as this group didn't make very many plays against the run or pass and finished at or near the bottom of the national rankings. Adding to the defensive woes are the top two linebackers are also gone (#2 & #4 tacklers). The news gets worse with the team losing the top three playmakers from the secondary including the top tackler in SS Dave Cazares who recorded 81 stops. The bottom line is the top four tacklers from 2013 have graduated from a defense that failed to get stops.
Special Teams: The Aggies need a punter and returners as well as a better coverage team with injuries hurting the latter group. Maxwell Johnson was a very good placekicker going 15-17 on FG including 7-9 from 40+ yards.
Outlook: New Mexico State lost many of their playmakers fom last season's two win squad and are young and missing pieces in 2014. Although it's possible to match or exceed the win total from 2013 I don't see it mattering all that much because this team is several years away from being competitive.