New Mexico State and Washington State will meet for the first time and the home team is heavily favored to open the season with a win.
The New Mexico State Aggies will have an uphill battle but can they have a decent showing in this college football game? They lost their way last season and they lack talent at defensive end but quarterback Josh Adkins did show some promise.
The Washington State Cougars enjoyed a very successful season last year and they will look for their fifth straight bowl appearance. The team has a tough defense and their ground game has room for improvement.
New Mexico State Aggies vs. No. 23 Washington State Cougars
Saturday, August 31 at 10:00 PM ET
Coverage: Pac-12 Network
*All odds and betting info courtesy of OddsShark and originally posted by Bookmaker
- New Mexico State vs. Washington State -32
- Over/Under: 65.5
New Mexico State
New Mexico State went just 3-9 last season, their first year as an FBS Independent. Head coach Doug Martin has been in charge for six years and he will have pressure to win because of the team’s 20-53 record in that span. Two of New Mexico State’s wins last season were against FBS teams UTEP and Liberty and their defense really struggled all year long.
Controlling the clock with running backs Jason Huntley and Christian Gibson is a must for New Mexico State. Huntley and Gibson combined for 1,095 rushing yards and 13 touchdowns last season and along them, quarterback Josh Adkins wants to keep growing after throwing for 2,563 yards and 13 touchdowns with nine interceptions in 10 games, completing 56.5 percent of his passes.
Jonathan Boone, his favorite target last year, graduated, which means that senior wideout OJ Clark (52 receptions, 512 yards, one touchdown) has to step up and with Washington State starting safety Jalen Thompson now in the NFL, Clark could be catching a break.
A 28-15 loss to in-state rival Washington in the Apple Cup prevented them from playing in the Pac-12 Championship Game despite finishing the regular season with a 10-2 record. They did beat Iowa State 28-26 in the Alamo Bowl to end the season
Washington State rebounded to beat Iowa State 28-26 in the Alamo Bowl on December 28 to end the year with a program-record 11 wins. New Washington State starting quarterback Anthony Gordon and backup Gage Gubrud have to replace Gardner Minshew (fifth in Heisman Trophy last season) but luckily for them they will have many weapons at their disposal.
Seven starters return on offense, including four are on the offensive line, which will bode well for running back Max Borghi, who has to help the team establish the run. Washington State relied heavily on the pass when Mishew was under center, as evidenced by Borghi actually having more receiving yards (374) than rushing yards (366) last season.
The team will have Davontavean Martin, Dezmon Patton and Easop Winston Jr., their top wide receivers from last year back, but they might not employ an Air Raid attack this season. Still, even with an inexperienced signal-caller they can exploit a New Mexico State secondary with two new starters at safety.
Trends and Prediction
The New Mexico State Aggies are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last five games against Pac-12 opponents
The Washington State Cougars are:
- 1-5 ATS in their last six games in August
New Mexico State redshirt senior linebacker Javahn Fergurson, who led the nation with 13.2 tackles per game last season, will be a player to watch on Saturday and while Washington State should get a comfortable win, Minshew’s absence will be felt and I can’t trust them to cover this large spread.
Pick: New Mexico State +32