Junior David Ash will be the definite starter for the first time in his career, having gone 12-6 as a starting quarterback over the last two years. Ash finished last season with 19 touchdowns, eight interceptions and a 67.3 completion percentage. Senior Andrew McDonald was named starting quarterback for the Aggies this fall, after only playing in one game last season, completing only one pass for three yards.
Texas will return both sophomore Johnathan Gray, who averaged 4.9 yards a carry for 701 yards and three rushing touchdowns in 2012. The Aggies will be led by redshirt senior Germi Morrison who was the team’s leading rusher last season with 767 rushing yards and 63.9 rushing yards per game.
Advantage: New Mexico State
Senior Mike Davis led the Longhorns last season with 937 receiving yards and seven touchdowns, averaging 16.5 yards per catch. New Mexico State will be without last year’s leading receiver Austin Franklin, a junior who had 74 receptions for 1,245 receiving yards and nine touchdowns. He was declared academically ineligible earlier this month and will miss the 2013 season.
New Mexico State’s offense gave up 42 sacks for 272 yards last season while Texas managed to only concede 16 sacks for 123 yards. Last season, Texas converted 49 percent of third downs and 47 percent of fourth downs. The Aggies were slightly less efficient, converting only 33 percent of third-down attempts and 36 percent of fourth-down tries.
Senior Jackson Jeffcoat and junior Cedric Reed will lead the defensive line. Jeffcoat sat out part of last season because of a torn pectoral, but still recorded 31 total tackles, and Reed played in all 13 games and had 46 total tackles. The Aggies defensive line will feature senior Kevin Laudermill, who recorded 35 total tackles last season, senior Nick Oliva, who had five total tackles in four games played and redshirt sophomore Stephen Meredith, who redshirted after knee surgery.
Texas will have junior Steve Edmond, who was second last year in total tackles with 103 and will need sophomore Peter Jinkens, who played in all 13 games as a true freshman and recorded 29 total tackles. The Aggies will also have their second leading tackler, junior Treshaun Nixon, who had 96 total tackles last season and their fourth-ranked tackler from 2012, Bryan Bonilla, who had 78 total tackles.
Advantage: New Mexico State
Seniors Adrian Phillips, who had the third-most total tackles last season, Carrington Byndom and juniors Mykkele Thompson and Quandre Diggs have each earned at least two letters and will be expected to use their combined experience this season. New Mexico State will have all seniors, including its 2012 leading tackler Davis Cazares and third-leading total tackler George Callendar.
Last season, Texas hit 11 for 19 field-goal attempts and in managed 43 kick returns for 996 yards and 123 yards on 14 punt returns. Senior Anthony Fera is listed as the punter and placekicker, even though he went 2-for-4 last season on field goal attempts. New Mexico State junior Maxwell Johnson went 11-for-11 as the field goal kicker last season, and Cayle Chapman-Brown will return as the punter.