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It's the Injured Aggies vs. the Winless Aggies

It's the Injured Aggies vs. the Winless Aggies



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LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) -- You won't catch New Mexico State coach Hal Mumme or his players napping through this week's workouts as the Aggies prepare for winless Utah State.

Limping a little, maybe, but not napping.

New Mexico State (4-7, 1-5 Western Athletic Conference) has been hit hard by injuries this season, but at least Mumme's team can point to positive numbers in the win column.

Mumme knows his squad needs to be prepared for Saturday's contest against the Utah State Aggies (0-10, 0-6). After all, it wasn't too long ago that NMSU was struggling through a winless campaign, going 0-12 in Mumme's first season in 2005.

Utah State has lost 16 straight, including last weekend's 52-0 defeat to then-No. 19 Boise State.

"They really want a win," Mumme said. "I have been in that situation. I know how they feel. We have to take care of business. We have to have good practices."

It's been a tough season for Utah State, which is averaging 18.8 points and 270.8 total yards per game. Utah State is averaging 117.9 yards rushing while throwing for 152.9 yards per game while converting 31 percent of third downs and losing 10 fumbles.

"This season has hurt worse than any other season," receiver Otis Nelson said. "I feel a lot of the teams we've played we are capable of beating. I don't blame any of it on coaches. It's all been players' fault."

New Mexico State is coming off a 51-17 loss at San Jose State but ranks seventh nationally in passing offense, averaging 329.5 yards per game. Chase Holbrook, who missed two games with bruised ribs, ranks ninth in individual offense.

"They're pretty banged up with quite a few injuries right now," Utah State coach Brent Guy said. "But they still have Holbrook in there at quarterback, and as long as he's in there, their offense moves the football and scores some points."

New Mexico State's Aggies are playing without speedy receiver Chris Williams, who broke his collarbone in an Oct. 20 win over Idaho. Tailback Tonny Glynn has been out since breaking an ankle in a Nov. 2 loss to Nevada.

"You just can't really do anything about injuries," Mumme said. "It's part of the game."

The NMSU Aggies also have accepted that they won't meet a preseason goal of reaching a bowl game for the first time in 47 years. But tight end Nick Cleaver, a senior who played through an ankle injury this fall, said there's plenty of reasons to play hard.

"Playing college ball goes by fast," he said. "We have had disappointments season after season. I want to tell the young guys they need to have the attitude of being a winning program because as soon as they start believing it, they will start winning."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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