Texas Longhorns Vs. New Mexico State Aggies Free Pick 8/31/13

Texas Longhorns Vs. New Mexico State Aggies Free Pick 8/31/13
2013-08-31 07:00:00 EDT

The Texas Longhorns play host to the New Mexico State Aggies Saturday to open their 2013 season.

If Mack Bitemn is indeed on the hot seat, this will be a statement game and that doesn’t bode well for New Mexico State, who finished 2012 as one of the worst teams in the FBS.

The Longhorns are stacked at virtually every position, particularly on the offensive side, where they return 10 starters from last season. Jr. QB David Ash is back and, with the installation of a new spread offense, should be poised for a breakout season after solid numbers in 2012, thiteming for 2,699 YDS and 19 TDS on 67% passing.  There’s also enough speed to burn on this offense, both in the backfield and at the wide receiver position, led by Soph. RB Jonathan Gray. One of UT’s fastest players, Gray led the team in rushing as a true freshman last year with 701 YDS and 3 TDS. There’s also no shortage of quicks at WR, where All-Big 12 performer Sr. Mike Davis and Jr. Jaxon Shipley, both NFL prospects, will provide the New Mexico State defense with lots of fits.

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On the defensive side, the Horns will need some work after a 2012 rife with issues, allowing an average of 404 yards and 29.2 points per contest for 74th in the nation. The health of standout Sr. DE Jackson Jeffcoat, who missed half of 2012 with a torn pectoral muscle, will be paramount to the success of this unit. Jr. MLB Steve Edmond, 103 tackles last season, will also be expected to lead this defense.

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New Mexico State finished last season 1-10 and among the nation’s worst in pretty much every category. The Aggies were 117th in the country in rushing yards per game at 97.6, 114th in points for at 18.7, and 120th in points against at 39.4. The offense returns 8 starters, but last season’s starting QB, one of the few bright spots, transferred out, leaving an untested Jr. in Trayvaughn Colwell to run the offense. The Aggies also return their leading rusher from last season, Sr. Germi Morrison (767 YDS, 2 TDS), and leading receiver, Jr. Austin Franklin (74 REC, 1,245 YDS, 9 TDS).

Defensively, there will likely be trouble for the Aggies, and lots of it. Six starters return from a defense that surrendered an average of 476 yards a game. Two standouts return to this unit, though, in Sr. SS David Cazares (116 tackles last season) and Sr. LB Trashaun Nixon (95 tackles, 9.5 for loss last season).

From every possible angle, this game looks like your standard, lopsided week one rout. The Horns have a lot to prove and New Mexico State has the unfortunate task of being first on the slate for a team from a power conference. Texas wins big and covers.

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Mitch Wilson's Free Pick:
Texas -42
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Mitch Wilson

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