The New Mexico State Aggies open Year 2 of Doug Martin’s coaching tenure by hosting the Cal Poly Mustangs at 6 p.m. MST (5 p.m. Arizona time) at Aggie Memorial Stadium. The game can be seen live on FOX Sports Arizona.
The Aggies are looking to improve upon a 2-10 record in Martin’s first season as they make the transition from independent to Sun Belt Conference. Cal Poly plays in the Big Sky Conference and is coming off a 6-6 season. The teams last played each other in 1997, with Cal Poly winning 38-35 in Las Cruces.
The Aggies hope to build their offense around a solid running attack featuring incoming freshman Larry Rose, senior Brandon Betancourt and sophomore Xavier Hall. Rose, who is listed as the starter on the depth chart, rushed for 2,924 yards and 49 touchdowns last season at Fairfield High School in Fairfield, Texas. Betancourt rushed for 415 yards last season, while Hall ran for 247 while averaging 5.1 yards per carry.
Tyler Rogers, a sophomore from Liberty High School in Peoria, takes over as starting quarterback. He transferred in from Arizona Western, where he passed for 1,832 yards, ran for 364 and accounted for 24 touchdowns. Senior Adam Shaprio (35 catches for 431 yards) is the top returning receiver.
The offensive line is led by senior center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke, a preseason nominee for the Rimington Trophy. Guards Andy Cunningham and Isaiah Folasa-Lutui are also returning starters.
Middle linebacker Rodney Butler leads the defense. Other veterans include defensive end Jay Eakins, defensive tackle Kalie Auelua, cornerback Lewis Hill and free safety Kawe Johnson.