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NMSU looks to get season on track with Rio Grande Rivalry game

LAS CRUCES, New Mexico - It is once again rivalry week for the New Mexico State Aggies.

This time the Aggies are playing in state rival New Mexico in the Rio Grande Rivalry.

For the Aggies it's a chance to get their season on track after a 0-2 start to their 2021 campaign.

The New Mexico Lobos are coming off their season opening win against Houston Baptist.

This will be the 111th meeting between the Aggies and Lobos, and it's a game that means a great deal to both head coaches.

New Mexico football head coach Danny Gonzales, an Albuquerque native, played football for the Lobos and knows the history of the rivalry all too well.

Gonzales says he tries to explain the importance of the game to his players.

"All the numbers that I spout out, the 110 meetings, the 72 victories that we've had over them, the 43 victories that we've had here. I want that to resonate in their minds because we are the flagship university, this is our state, " Gonzales said.

NMSU head coach Doug Martin looks at the rivalry game as a way for his team to get a statement win, and hopefully bring some much needed momentum to the program this early in the season.

"For us to win, we're going to have to take a big step forward," Martin said. "Anytime you play an in state rivalry game it's special, it's more special than a UTEP deal because that's not an in state game. In state games have more weight to them, so it's a big game."

The Aggies are also battling some key injuries.

Coach Martin confirmed star wide receiver, Dominic Gicinto is out for the remainder of the season.

Gicinto broke his arm in the game against San Diego State.

The transfer from Missouri was establishing himself as the go-to receiver for the Aggies, but now it will be up to the other NMSU players on the roster to help fill the void.

NMSU sophomore wide receiver, Cole Harrity, says while losing Gicinto was a major blow to the offense, they have guys that can step up.

"Coach Martin preaches about that a lot. He says you're a rolled ankle away from starting," Harrity said. "That's basically what happened, next man up we've got some big shoes to fill, so it's time for some people to step up on offense."

Harrity knows the team's confidence is there, they just need to put it all together, and that starts Saturday in Albuquerque.

"We're hungry," Harrity said. "To be honest we're pissed off to get a win, and come this weekend, we're going to play angry because we know what we're capable of, and we just need to play four quarters of that."

Saturday's Rio Grande Rivalry kicks-off at 5 p.m. at University Stadium in Albuquerque.

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Adrian Ochoa

Adrian Ochoa is ABC-7’s Sports Director.

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