Who: New Mexico State (1-7) at Auburn (1-7)
When: Saturday, 11:30 a.m. CT
Where: Jordan-Hare Stadium (87,451) | Auburn, Ala.
Radio: Auburn IMG Sports Network (WVRK-FM 102.9 in Columbus)
Line: Auburn -22.5
What to know about the Aggies: DeWayne Walker is in his fourth season as head coach, compiling a 10-36 record. He previously spent three years as UCLA’s defensive coordinator and ten seasons coaching defensive backs, including seven years with three different NFL teams … in Walker’s tenure, New Mexico State has defeated one team from a BCS conference: last year on Sept. 10 at Minnesota, a 28-21 win … Georgia hosted New Mexico State on Nov. 5, 2011, trouncing the Aggies 63-16 when Aaron Murray threw five touchdown passes in the second quarter alone … the Aggies have lost seven straight in 2012, after beating Sacramento State (an FCS squad) in the opener. Their 33.5 points and 460.9 yards allowed per game both rank outside the top 100 nationally among 124 FBS teams … NM State is 0-14 all-time against the SEC.
When last they met: Auburn 55, New Mexico State 20 … Sept. 22, 2007 in Auburn: A week after being booed and benched, Auburn quarterback Brandon Cox responded by leading the Tigers to a huge second half, scoring 41 consecutive points to shake off an early scare when the Tigers led 21-20 at halftime. Ben Tate and Mario Fannin each rushed for over 100 yards, with Fannin scoring three times including a 67-yard scamper to capitalize the victory. Jonathan Wilhite picked off two Aggies passes, part of Auburn’s six takeaways.
All-time series: Auburn leads 2-0, also winning 55-14 in 1993 at Jordan-Hare Stadium. The Tigers outgained NM State 579-194 in the first meeting.
Which Tigers are licking their chops: The entire offense line and wide receiver sets. This New Mexico State defense ranks consistently around 100th nationally in most defensive categories. Here’s a chance for Greg Robinson, John Sullen, Reese Dismukes, Chad Slade and Patrick Miller to bulldoze some people and regain confidence. Also, the Aggies’ secondary is quite undersized – an opportunity for Emory Blake, Sammie Coates and company to make some plays.
Who’s keeping the Auburn coaches up at night: Sophomore receiver Austin Franklin, who hands the Tigers yet another week of a top receiver to prepare for. The toothpick-framed Franklin (6-foot-2, 175 pounds) has 57 receptions for 965 yards (16.9 average) and nine touchdowns. His 120.6 yards per game ranks third nationally. Auburn likely won’t have top cornerback Chris Davis (concussion) available.
Extra point: Las Cruces, N.M. is more than 1,200 miles away from Auburn through the air. It would take roughly 24 hours to make the drive. Yet the two college towns are only one time zone apart. Saturday’s game will kick off at 10:30 a.m. for the locals in Las Cruces.