The Eagles have played a lot of extra football over the past two weeks. Georgia Southern enters with a 3-3 overall record, but they are 2-1 in conference play after outlasting Coastal Carolina and South Alabama in double-overtime and triple-overtime victories. Meanwhile, New Mexico State is still looking for its first win of the season after coming up short again last week. The Vegas oddsmakers have tabbed the Aggies as 15.5-point underdogs on the road this week. Can New Mexico State pull off an upset against a Georgia Southern team fresh off a triple-overtime game?
Aggies hoping for first win after much-needed bye weekNew Mexico State is fresh off a bye after losing 42-28 versus Central Michigan two weeks ago. Following a tumultuous 0-7 start, head coach Doug Martin gave his players most of the week off to get healthy and focus on improving in a few key areas.
Turnovers have been a major issue for the Aggies through seven games. They’ve been careless with the football on offense and unable to generate takeaways when the opposing team has the ball. New Mexico State’s 19 turnovers this season are the most among any FBS team and their four forced turnovers are second-last in the country. So, it should come as no surprise that the Aggies are also last in the nation in turnover margin at -15 for the season.
New Mexico State also ranks outside the top-100 in third-down conversion offense and defense. They have converted just 34.38 percent of their third downs (106th in FBS), while their opponents have been able to convert at a healthy 44.3 percent rate (109th in FBS). "We are not good on third down on either side of the ball," Martin told the Las Cruces Sun News. "Those things (turnovers and third-down) are obvious things that are hurting our football team."
Despite their winless start, there have been some positives for the Aggies. Sophomore quarterback Josh Adkins is coming off one of his best games of the season after throwing for 263 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception in the loss to Central Michigan. He’s regressed a bit in his second year under center while playing behind a banged-up offensive line. Adkins comes in with 1,738 yards, nine touchdowns and 12 interceptions for the season, while senior running back Jason Huntley leads the team in rushing with 442 yards and four touchdowns on 6.6 yards per carry.
As you might expect from an 0-7 team, New Mexico State has posted awful numbers on both sides of the ball. The Aggies enter the week scoring just 19.6 points and averaging only 356 yards of total offense per game. On defense, they are allowing 42.6 points and 488.9 yards of total offense per contest, including 243.6 yards per game on the ground. Stopping the run is going to be another point of emphasis for the Aggies this week, as Georgia Southern ranks 16th in the nation in rushing offense at 236.0 yards per game.
Eagles looking to push current winning streak to fourGeorgia Southern will try to push their current winning streak to three games on Saturday after surviving another overtime game last week. The Eagles outlasted Coastal Carolina 30-27 in triple-overtime last week, as Wesley Kennedy rushed for 129 yards and two touchdowns, including the game-winning score. Shai Werts finished 4-of-8 passing for 61 yards and two touchdowns, both of which came during the overtime sessions while adding 48 yards on the ground to lead the Eagles to victory. The game also caught some national media attention after every player from both teams was assessed a personal foul for engaging in a dance-off to start the fourth quarter. A few players who already received unsportsmanlike conduct penalties earlier in the game were ejected as a result.
The program was shaken up following the victory though, as it was announced that 18-year-old student-athlete Jordan Wiggins passed away on Monday. There has been no reported cause of death. The freshman offensive lineman from Florida powerhouse Godby High School was majoring in electrical engineering at Georgia Southern.
The Eagles are a triple-option oriented offense, so they do most of their damage on the ground. They should be able to move the ball this week against an Aggies’ team that ranks 128th in the country in rushing defense. Georgia Southern comes in scoring 22.5 points and averaging 292.3 yards of total offense per game. On defense, they are allowing 31.5 points and 354.7 yards of total offense per contest.
New Mexico State
- Aggies are 3-9-1 ATS in their last 13 games overall.
- Aggies are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games in October.
- Aggies are 0-6 ATS in their last 6 vs. S-Belt.
- Eagles are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games after allowing less than 170 yards passing in their previous game