Gameday Preview: New Mexico State

Gameday Preview: New Mexico State

Rebecca May, BA ’91, Life Member, is a Texas ex-pat living in Oregon while rooting for the Longhorns. An attorney by day, she blogs about college football by night as a regular contributor to gridirongirl.

Oh, hello. I didn’t see you there. I’ve been in my three-point stance for a couple of weeks now, gearing up for the first game of the season. Are you cheering? You should be. IT’S THE FIRST GAME OF THE 2013 SEASON, AND IT IS DRAWING NIGH.

First up for the ‘Horns are the New Mexico State Aggies, formerly of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC). This is an interesting conference, with schools from New Mexico, Washington, Missouri, Illinois, Arizona, California, Texas, Idaho, and Utah. There are no two schools in the same state. Those boys do a lot of traveling! Next year, the WAC is eliminating football as a sponsored sport, so New Mexico State will be heading to the Sun Belt Conference along with Idaho. This year, however, they are going it alone as an independent team, and they’re coming to our house.

What do these other Aggies bring to the table? Last season, they went 1-11, with their lone win coming in the first game of the 2012 season. The New Mexico State offense is bringing an up-tempo rhythm, much like many other teams this year. This faster style of offense is de rigueur, just like eye-catching outerwear and embracing classic prints for fall. Look, I’m not making this up. It’s right there in Glamour. Like the magazine says, “Don’t put away your leopard print just yet.” As if!

Despite their introduction of the up-tempo offense, don’t expect New Mexico State to provide much of a barrier to Texas. Their veteran quarterback, Andrew Manley, transferred schools in the spring. Travaughn Colwell is the new QB. He’s a better runner than Manley, and is one of the top rushers on the team. However, Colwell is projected to rank around 110th in passing this year. The Aggies’ leading receiver, Austin Franklin, was declared academically ineligible in August. As you can see, New Mexico State is a bit hamstrung. That seems to be the way with these early season, out-of-conference games. But there is obviously always the chance the ‘Horns will lose, and they should not take the game lightly.

The one projection I found puts Texas in the winner’s bracket by a 45-10 score. The Aggies just don’t have the depth or talent to be a serious threat. Of course, now I’ve jinxed everything. My Magic 8 Ball warned me about overconfidence.

I’ve been blocking out of my head the fact that I can’t see the game either live or on TV. Not being in Austin is a surprisingly huge impediment to seeing the games in person. And seriously, don’t get me started about the Longhorn Network.

As things stand, I will be unable to witness the glorious coming-out party for the new and improved magnificent Longhorns. I will be relegated to reading about it online and watching highlight reels. It’s better than nothing. I’ll weep and gnaw on a whisky-soaked Texas T-shirt; don’t worry about me.

OK, now is the time in our program where we brag on the ‘Horns. There’s a lot to brag about this year. My last post had a good overview, with the new offensive coordinator (‘sup Major!) revving things up with the quicker tempo on offense. To me, this is the big story. Texas is returning more starters than just about anyone else. They have talent to spare, as usual. Let’s put it to use!

At receiver, we have Jaxon Shipley and “Magic” Mike Davis returning. I’ve read many predictions that both Davis and Shipley could have 1000-yard seasons. David Ash will certainly have his pick, and each receiver brings a little something different to the table. Shipley was used primarily as a decoy last year, with Davis seeing the most action. I’m looking forward to Ash spreading the love a bit more this year.

There are also three phenomenal running backs returning to the already-stacked offense. Marquise Goodwin and DJ Monroe have departed for the big leagues. That leaves Malcolm Brown, Daje Johnson, and well-known spirit animal Johnathan Gray to fill any gaps. And fill they will. Johnson is the fastest player on the ‘Horns squad and in the Big 12; he runs the 40-yard-dash in a blistering 4.34 seconds. His 84-yard rushing touchdown against Baylor is a thing of beauty. Go check it out. I’ll wait.

See? He’s amazing. He will really light up opposing defenses if given the chance. Johnathan Gray continues to impress (more than just me!) with the best downfield vision and surest hands among the running back corps. Malcolm Brown really shined last season as a power back who could run over, through, and around defenders. Expect more of the same. Thank you, sir, may I have another!

If you are lucky enough to have tickets, I hope you choke on a hot dog. Wait, sorry, that just slipped out. You will be treated to a vision of what the rest of the season holds. May it be magical and filled with hope and wonderment. I am ready to let Manny Diaz redeem himself. I am ready to let Mack Brown show me he is not tired of coaching my beloved Longhorns. Bring it! Make it happen! We want to believe!

I think I need to lie down for awhile.

Photo by Randell Chancellor via Flickr Creative Commons.


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