We knew from the beginning that defensive coordinator Don Brown was going to bring a pass rush with him, and even with personnel who had not been a part of anything resembling one in the past, he has succeeded. Kasim Edebali leads the Eagles with 7.5 sacks; six other players have at least two.
Otherwise, it has been fair to say that the Eagles have been up and down. They are allowing quarterbacks to be more efficient against them and the pass defense has been spotty at times, though all things considered, the Boston College defense has not done a bad job this year keeping in mind that this same personnel lost ten games last season and had some truly regrettable performances in so doing.
New Mexico State’s offense is a tiny bit better in most areas, which says very little because the overall body of work is still sub-par. Only in their last two games have the Aggies broken the 30-point mark, scoring 34 against Abilene Christian and 35 against Louisiana-Lafayette.
Mobile senior quarterback Andrew McDonald is completing plenty of his passes (67.2%), though he’s got just ten touchdowns (and nine picks) to show for it. The Aggies have run slightly more than they’ve passed, and McDonald’s 70 carries have tilted it in favor of the run game. Junior running back Brandon Betancourt leads the team with 435 rushing yards; senior Germi Morrison leads in rushing touchdowns with four. Betancourt did not play last week against the Ragin’ Cajuns.
Unlike Boston College, the receptions have been distributed much more evenly at New Mexico State as they don’t have an Alex Amidon figure with whom the quarterback is comfortably familiar. Five receivers have at least twenty receptions; Austin Franklin leads the team with 32 catches, 403 yards, and three touchdowns.
The Eagles defense has faced some tough teams and some not-so-tough teams, and has very appropriately put together a 2013 with pluses and minuses. New Mexico State is one of the not-so-tough teams offensively; neither was Virginia Tech, you’re thinking, but the talent levels on each team are definitely different.
Read little into the fact that Doug Martin knows these guys, because this is a completely different defensive scheme than the one being run while he was here.
New Mexico State has typically been good for a few scores against even the better teams they’ve faced, so don’t count on the Eagles pitching a shutout, but there seem to be limits to what they can do. The numbers look similar between the Eagles defense and Aggies offense, but the Eagles, coming off of a four-turnover performance, are getting better at sacking the quarterback and stopping drives. The Aggies turn the ball over quite a lot and may continue that trend on Saturday. Boston College favored.