- Max Olson, ESPN Staff Writer
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A look at New Mexico State, the Longhorns' opponent Saturday (7 p.m. CT, Longhorn Network).
Campus location: Las Cruces, N.M.
Conference: New Mexico State football was in the WAC last year, is an FBS Independent this year and joins the Sun Belt next year.
All-time record vs. Texas: 0-4
Last game: The Aggies won their opener vs. Sacramento State last season and then lost their next 11. The final one was a 66-28 blowout loss just down Interstate 35 at Texas State. NMSU led 21-14 after the first quarter, then gave up five consecutive touchdowns and didn’t score the second half. Head coach DeWayne Walker resigned after four seasons to take a job as a Jacksonville Jaguars assistant. Former Kent State coach Doug Martin took over.
Last meeting with Texas: Texas defeated New Mexico State 66-7 at home in 2003. Selvin Young returned two kicks for touchdowns and the No. 5 Longhorns got interception returns for touchdowns from Derrick Johnson and Michael Huff. Chance Mock made his first career start and Vince Young rushed for two fourth-quarter TDs in his redshirt freshman debut.
Key player: New Mexico State’s biggest impact player, wide receiver Austin Franklin, put up 1,245 receiving yards on 74 receptions last season. But the junior, a Dallas native, was ruled academically ineligible on Aug. 9 and must redshirt this season. With a new QB in Andrew McDonald and no Franklin, expect NMSU to lean on backs Germi Morrison and Brandon Betancourt.
Why New Mexico State might win: For Texas to lose this game Saturday, a lot of self-inflicted damage would be necessary. As the struggles in the first half vs. Oregon State last December remind us, Texas could get off to a slow start if the tempo isn’t clicking. But really, it would take an awful lot of Longhorns turnovers to make this a close game.
Why New Mexico State might lose: They’ll play as if they have nothing to lose, but on paper the Aggies just don’t have the talent to keep up with Texas. How will they move the ball on the Longhorns or make stops on defense? Last year’s NMSU squad finished among the worst in the country in scoring (18.7 per game) and points allowed (39.4). Even with a new head coach, this year’s team might not be much better.