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Alabama vs. New Mexico State preview: When Alabama has the ball

Tua likes cupcakes, too

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Washington State James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

New Mexico State had a rough defensive outing in their first game of the year against a ranked Washington State squad. The Aggies gave up 507 yards in the air and 111 on the ground, which led to 58 total points for the Washington State offense. Though the Aggies have only played one game in the 2019 season, the stats are not much different from their 2018 campaign. In 2018, New Mexico State ranked 120th in total defense, giving up an average of 476 yards per game. Their defensive S&P+ rating in 2018 was 38.0, which ranked 113th in the country.

(Ed. Note: Still better than their offense!)

The Aggies are led by defensive coordinator Frank Spaziani, who is entering his fourth season as the New Mexico State defensive coordinator. He runs a base 3-4 defense, which means that the Aggies typically employ 3 linemen and 4 linebackers. They are led by redshirt senior linebacker and the nation’s returning leading tackler in Javahn Fergurson. The defensive line is led by senior defensive tackle Roy Lopez and redshirt senior defensive end Cedric Wilcots II. The secondary is anchored by senior corner Shamad Lomax and redshirt senior safety Austin Perkins.

Like their offense, this is a senior-laden team with a lot of experience. Ferguson in particular was a menace all over the field and in the backfield last season, with 16.5 stuffs, 7.5 tackles for loss, 5.5 sacks, and only allowed a 28% success rate. Throw in that with Lopez and Wilcots, and the Aggies were actually a top-20 team in sack rate last season.

Against Washington State, Perkins led the team with 10 total tackles. Some fresh faces for the Aggies that played well against Washington State are Junior linebacker Rashie Hodge Jr, Redshirt Freshman safety Rodney McGraw II, and Redshirt Sophomore linebacker Trevor Brohard, all of whom had 7 tackles in week 1.

The Matchup:

The Aggies gave up 618 total yards of offense to Washington State.

Washington State isn’t Alabama.

Tua Tagovailoa and his receiving corps will likely have the same type of numbers as they did in week 1 against Duke before bowing out to let the young guys get some experience. Despite what should be a mostly easy day, this game will be a good chance for Alabama’s shuffling offensive line to get some work in against a defense that has surprisingly formidable pass rush. While the Alabama offense might not have 600+ yards in this game because of the young guys getting experience (although that would not surprise me at all), it will feel much like the Washington State game to the Aggies defense