A Challenge that Lives On
51 years ago, it was in Rice Stadium where President Kennedy challenged America to go to the moon. Today, students at New Mexico State University can relate to Kennedy’s challenge because they are training to be the next generation of Americans in space. With the only Aerospace Engineering program in New Mexico, NMSU has become a hub for private space exploration companies.
Rice won’t need a rocket or lunar lander for this trip to Las Cruces, New Mexico. The 4-2 Owls are 3-0 in Conference USA play. They are tied for first the West Division and where they finish the season determines where you will see them in post season play. The Rice Owls are the Armed Services Bowl Champions. They easily flew past Air Force last year to gain that bowl title. Rice last played in the New Orleans Bowl in 2006, when they lost to last week’s Game of the Week winner Troy University. No one likes to leave the Big Easy losing.
Looking for a Win
So far this season, the New Mexico State Aggies are without a win. They have suffered at the hands of Minnesota, New Mexico, San Diego, and UCLA. The Aggies found themselves within striking distance against UCLA and lost by only 10 points. After 6 games, they are allowing almost 50 points per game and scoring just under 16 points per game. Even with those numbers, Rice should not take this mission lightly.
Keeping the Edge Over Their Opponents
Rice’s QB Taylor McHargue is connecting for 50% of his launches. He has 5 TD passes, but has also allowed the ball to land in the hands of the opposition 6 times. Taylor has been sacked 10 times and that will make it difficult to keep Rice’s edge over New Mexico State. Under Taylor’s command, Rice is scoring 25.8 points per game and allowing only 26.5 points per game. So, while they are showing 4-2, they’ve been outscored by an average of 1 point per game.
New Mexico is gaining steam. Their last home game was arguably their best – losing to San Diego State just 26-16. Quarterback Andrew McDonald completed 23-of-35 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns without throwing an interception. McDonald wants to prove he can match that effort vs. a 71st ranked Rice passing defense that is allowing 236.3 yards per game in the air.
What Do You Predict?
Clearly the Aggies won’t be happy with a home loss and changing the board to 0-7. Rice should be on full alert for this mission to New Mexico; it’s anything but routine. Be sure to vote in the poll above and let us know which team you believe will celebrate Saturday night.
This game will be played Saturday at 8pm Eastern time and can be found on ESPN3. Be sure to check back on Monday for our recap of the game!