Could the final game of the season have bowl implications? Probably not for BYU. New Mexico State, however, that could be a different story. For a team that last appeared in a bowl game in 1960, notching 5 wins before the season finale could give vital energy to a decades old maligned program. Head Coach Dewayne Walker is attempting to turn the Aggie program around. Despite his 4-9 record last season, Walker helped the Aggies notch 2 of those signature-esque wins over Minnesota and their first ever win over Fresno St. This season, now that FSU, Boise St, Hawaii and Nevada are off the schedule, and replaced by first year division 1 programs UTSA and Texas St., the season appears to be their best shot at achieving bowl glory.
Offense – If they are to hit 6 wins, they’ll face a stiff learning curve of new starting talent. Gone are the top 2 wide receivers in terms of receiving yardage, top rusher Kenny Turner, their top 5 tacklers on defense, and Offensive and Defensive Coordinators. QB Andrew Manley will be at the helm of the offense, as he was last season before tearing an ACL. He’ll have Austin Franklin and Kemonte’ Bateman as top receivers.
Defensively, LB Bryan Bonilla is the best starter returning and we’ll have a significant impact.
Sure would make for a bit more intriguing match-up if NMSU needed the W against BYU to get their first bowl berth in half a century. Pretty confident though that NMSU would want at least 5 wins in their pocket before facing the Cougars on November 24th, as they’ll still face Texas St December 1st with one last shot at reaching 6 wins.