Summer vacation, a teacher's best friend, and a great time to fix up the house, get in shape, and win a national championship in EA Sports 2004. Sorry, Dwayne Walker, your services will not be needed at New Mexico State. And step aside Ron Zook. Your Gators just lost to the Aggies in an epic 2006 BCS Championship game. You met your match in coaching wunderkind Lionel Richie and his infamous mullet. Richie bravely led a motley cast of characters even Al Davis would fear.
Oh, 2006 was truly a season to remember. After finishing 2005 12-1 with a victory over Vince Young and Texas in the Houston Bowl, expectations were high for the underdog Aggies, ranked #10 in the pre-season. Prior to beginning Sun Belt play, the Aggies took out #1 USC in Los Angeles and #2 LSU in Death Valley. The Aggies climbed to #3 in the nation before blasting Ohio State and hated rival New Mexico at home. And they didn't slow down from here, maintaining a blistering style of play that proved too much for all opponents. The rough and rowdy Aggies smashed conference rivals Louisiana-Monroe, North Texas, and Middle Tennessee State by a combined score of 184-17. After a down performance at Arkansas State, the boys from Las Cruces returned to form against Utah State, winning 77-0. They carried this momentum into their BCS showdown with the Gators.
And who can forget powerful tailback Elijah Fisher and his 1800 yards rushing? The Napa Valley product finished third in the Heisman race. And what about tight end Jonas Hunt whose 1672 receiving yards and 19 touchdowns earned him the "Best TE" award? The Aggie offense was as deadly as it was diverse.
On the other side of the ball a dominating defense held opponets to fewer than six points and less than 100 yards per game. Nightmare defensive ends Matt Anderson and JT Samuel each recorded over a dozen sacks, and cornerback Deon Mackey intercepted eight passes.
And let's not forget the team captain, quarterback B.J. Higgens and his single-bar helmet, orange visor, giant cowboy collar, and defensive line styled arm pads. The 5-star recruit from Sandusky, Ohio surprised many by rejecting Ohio State in favor of Lionel Richie and the Aggies. After a long recruiting battle, the beautiful location of the Las Cruces campus proved too much for Jim Tressel and the home state Buckeyes to overcome. With 3500 yards passing, 31 touchdowns, and almost 900 yards rushing, he earned first team All-American status enroute to leading the Aggies to the BCS championship. Way to go, New Mexico State! The fine people of New Mexico will never forget you.