BYU needs to come out sharp, put New Mexico State away early

The Brigham Young Cougars (6-5) will take on the New Mexico State Aggies (1-9) today. On the surface, there is nothing about this Aggies team that would appear to give BYU any kind of challenge. If BYU doesn't come out sharp and put the Aggies away early, then this game could get interesting in the second half.

New Mexico State has won just one game this year. That win came against FCS foe Sacramento State in week one. Opponents are outscoring the Aggies nearly two to one (35.7 to 18.2). As a team, New Mexico State  averages just 97.1 rushing yards per game and 244.7 passing yards. The defense is even worse. They rank no. 103 in the nation against the run (207.5 yards per game), and give up 259.1 yards passing. Opponents have a 150.3 average pass efficiency rating against the Aggies. New Mexico State has forced just 9 turnovers all season (less than one per game).

How can such a poor statistical team be a threat to the Cougars?

At home against nationally ranked Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State trailed just 7-0 at halftime. Just two games ago at Auburn, the Aggies faced the same deficit at the half. BYU may get off to a slow start with James Lark expected to make his first career start at quarterback. The BYU pass defense has been a little suspect this season. New Mexico State has an explosive wide receiver Austin Franklin (66 receptions, 1,135 yards, 9 TD). If BYU struggles out of the gates, and New Mexico State can complete a couple of big passes to Franklin early on, then BYU may be fighting to get out of a hole in the second half.

Freshman running back Jamaal Williams and the BYU offensive line need to set the tone early and take pressure off Lark. The Cougars defensive front seven need to disrupt the New Mexico State passing game. BYU should be aiming for a 14-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and 28-0 at the end of the first half.

All-time series: BYU leads 1-0
Last: BYU won 42-7 (2011)
Streak: BYU won 1

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