Arkansas will earn two wins in its first four games. Guaranteed. Minimum. Mark it down. Lock.
SEC Country’s 2017 game-by-game prediction/preview series for the Razorbacks continues Thursday with their Week 4 matchup. Arkansas hosts New Mexico State in Fayetteville on Sept. 30. And there is no chance coach Bret Bielema’s team loses.
New Mexico State has been moribund for a lifetime. The Aggies have one winning season this century. They have three winning seasons in this writer’s lifetime (33 years). They aren’t entering Fayetteville and leaving with a win.
Still, it’s a game on the Arkansas schedule and receives the same treatment. Because, you know, as the coaches say: “One game at a time.”
New Mexico State Aggies
Conference: Sun Belt
Coach: Doug Martin (fourth season, 10-38)
Last season: 3-9, 2-6 (10th in Sun Belt)
Plays Arkansas: Sept. 30 at Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium in Fayetteville
2016 By the Numbers
- Scoring offense: 24.8 points per game (97th out of 128 teams in FBS)
- Passing offense: 244.9 yards per game (54th)
- Rushing offense: 169.8 yards per game (70th)
- Scoring defense: 38.8 points per game (121st)
- Passing defense: 252.4 yards allowed per game (97th)
- Rushing defense: 244.5 yards allowed per game (118th)
New Mexico State offense
The good news for the Aggies is they return a ton. Bad news is they haven’t done a ton. The best player, by far, is running back Larry Rose III. Rose was a third-team All-American two years ago and the Sun Belt’s Offensive Player of the Year. He missed three games last season, though, and he didn’t crack the 1,000-yard mark. He can get going against any defense, practically. Quarterback Tyler Rogers can run it, too, but he’ll more often throw to a wide receiving corps that returns five of its top six from last season. The offensive line returns three starters, too. This is one of the better teams in recent New Mexico State history, offensively.
New Mexico State defense
Defensively, the Aggies could be good, too. Good being a relative term for a team in the Sun Belt. Martin stockpiled junior college signees who can play right away. And the defensive coordinator is Frank Spaziani, who was the head coach Boston College not long ago. They will be well-coached. They just won’t have the stuff to stop an Arkansas offense that, by this point of the season, should be close to clicking at 100 percent.
New Mexico State vs. Arkansas positional edges
- Quarterback — Arkansas
- Running back — Arkansas (but it’s closer than you think)
- Receivers — Arkansas
- Offensive line — Arkansas
- Defensive line — Arkansas
- Linebackers — Arkansas
- Secondary — Arkansas
- Special teams — Arkansas
What SEC Country says about New Mexico State vs. Arkansas
Eric Bolin: New Mexico hasn’t been good ever. They’re not winning this game. Arkansas could do itself a favor by stomping a mudhole in the Aggies just as SEC play swings into high gear the next week.
Prediction: Razorbacks 52, New Mexico State 17
Jason Kersey: New Mexico State hasn’t finished with a winning record since 2002. If the Hogs were to lose this game, the 2017 season would be an utter disaster.
Prediction: Razorbacks 56, New Mexico State 7
Trent Shadid: New Mexico State coach Doug Martin signed 13 junior college transfers in the 2017 recruiting class. This is clearly a sign of a desperate program and coach trying to improve on a 10-38 record the past four seasons. And maybe there is hope as the Aggies also return some experienced players. Will that result in a win in Fayetteville? Absolutely not. Maybe a first-half scare at most and probably not even that.
Prediction: Razorbacks 42, New Mexico State 14
Projected average final score of New Mexico State vs. Arkansas
Razorbacks 50, New Mexico State 13
Arkansas’ projected record so far
SEC Country: 3-1