After 57 years and a dose of déjà vu, the New Mexico State University Aggies will take on a familiar opponent in their first bowl game appearance since 1960.
A decades-old rematch against Utah State at the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl in Tucson in a couple weeks takes us back in time almost to the day on December 31, 1960, when the NM State Aggies captured a 20-13 win.
Since then, Aggie football carried on with only nine winning seasons. But despite the performance, tried and true Aggie fans remained, cheering in the stands and hoping for the day when the program would reemerge in victory.
“Finding the right coaches and the right student-athletes happens in part because of our fans,” said Mario Moccia, NMSU director of athletics. “When we recruit and hire, one major factor in selecting NMSU is that our seats are filled with passionate supporters. Through it all, our fans remained loyal, helping us bring in the right group of students and coaches who did nothing but focus on making history for this school and its fans.”
NM State Head Football Coach Doug Martin plans to leverage this national platform to bring young eyes and talent toward this program and keep it successful for years to come.
“When we have a spotlight this big, not only is there positive pressure to win for our fans and our team, but also for on looking, prospective recruits who will join us and continue our success,” Martin said. “Our players, especially our great group of seniors, will soon venture off into impressive careers, and we are actively working on finding equally incredible student-athletes.”
That’s why NM State senior quarterback Tyler Rogers alongside senior running back Larry Rose III joined up with Martin to start a crowdfunding campaign focused on raising money for the Football Success Fund that supports recruiting new talent and meeting team equipment and travel needs.
“Once an Aggie, always an Aggie,” Rogers said. “When we graduate, Larry and I want to make sure our team can still make fans in the future as proud as they are now. Contributing any amount helps our team find future Aggies to take our place and carry on this tradition and this program beyond our time in Aggie Memorial Stadium.”
The Make A STATEment crowdfunding campaign operates online. Once supporters make a contribution, they will receive regular, behind-the-scenes updates through this platform on the progress of the campaign from the players, coaches and other NM State athletics staff. Rogers, Rose and Martin hope to raise $30,000 to support the fund.
“We made history – fans included,” Martin said. “Now, we need to continue this momentum so that history becomes tradition, talented student-athletes make New Mexico State home and fans stay proud for years to come.”
Fans can order tickets to the NOVA Home Loans Arizona Bowl set for Friday, Dec. 29, by stopping by the Pan American Center ticket office or calling 575-646-1420.
Alumni and friends are invited to attend pre-game celebrations the evening of Thursday, Dec. 28, and an Aggie Tailgate the morning of Friday, Dec. 29, both in Tucson. More information on these events are online.
Author: Angel Mendez – NMSU