Wyoming Non-Conference Preview: New Mexico State
The Cowboys open the season in Las Cruces against the Aggies
Will Craig Bohl’s Wyoming squad finally win a non-conference road game?
Location: Aggie Memorial Stadium (30,343), Las Cruces, NM
2017 Record: 7-6 (4-4 Sun Belt)
Head Coach: Doug Martin (17-44 NMSU, 46-97 overall) is entering his sixth season at New Mexico State. His group last year was able to break a 56-year postseason drought in their thrilling overtime win at the Arizona Bowl against Utah State.
RB Jason Huntley
The junior takes over the reigns from last years leading rusher, 2nd team All-Sun Belt Larry Rose. As the Aggies second leading rusher in 2017, he gained 420 yards with 6.0 yards per carry.
WR OJ Clark
Clark is New Mexico State’s best returning receiver. The Aggies lost the top two receivers from 2017 but Clark had a very good season finishing third in receptions and yards with 47 and 500 respectively.
SS Shahad Lomax
Lomax led the team in interceptions with 4 and finished fourth on the team in tackles with 72. Lomax was 3rd team All-Sun Belt in 2017.
LB Terrill Hanks
Hanks finished last season with 111 tackles and 7 sacks. In his freshman year, he was selected on the Sun Belt Newcomer Team and earned an honorable selection All-Sun Belt in 2016.
The offense lost their starting quarterback, starting running back, and top two receivers from a year ago. The Aggies will likely have a hard time scoring especially at the beginning of the season.
The New Mexico State defense returns 9 starters from a year ago and have been getting better year by year. This season could be the best defense they have had in many years.
Wyoming is 0-5 in their last 5 road openers. Additionally, the Cowboys are 0-8 on the road against non-conference competition under head coach Craig Bohl. Wyoming’s last non-conference road win was a 40-37 win at Idaho in 2012. It would not be surprising for both teams to struggle offensively with the new personnel on both sides.
The opening game of 2018 will be the game where Wyoming finally breaks the streak. The Wyoming defense will be too much for a young Aggies offense and freshman quarterback Tyler Vander Waal will show why Street & Smith’s 2018 College Football Yearbook selected him as the Mountain West’s “Top Freshman.” Wyoming will leave Las Cruces with a hard fought 24-13 victory.