(Courtesy: NMSU Athletics)
DALLAS, Texas - The Monday after a historic win on Saturday in which NM State imposed its will on Power Five foe Auburn at Jordan-Hare Stadium and went on win 31-10 to earn the program's first-ever win over an SEC opponent, the Aggies were recognized as the Cheez-It National Team of the Week.
The honor is selected by the All-America Committee of the Football Writers Association of America, and this marks the first time that NM State has earned this award from the FWAA.
Upon the Aggies entering the game as 21-point underdogs, it became evident in the first quarter of the game that Auburn was going to have its hands full at home against the Crimson and White.
Including a touchdown drive on its opening possession of the game, NM State outgained the Tigers 126-15 while allowing Auburn to run just five offensive plays during the first 15 minutes of action.
Auburn eventually responded with a long touchdown in the second quarter, however, a 40-yard field goal from Ethan Albertson would give the Aggies the lead heading into the locker room at half.
Playing with a lead has been a comfortable position for the Aggies this season as they have led at half in six of their 12 games this season and are now 5-1 in games in which they are ahead at the break.
The Aggies' attention to detail only increased in the second half as they outscored Auburn 21-3 during the final two quarters of play.
Co-Defensive Coordinators Nate Dreiling and Melvin Rice played a big part in the dominant second half as their defensive unit allowed the Auburn offense to accumulate just 97 yards of total offense.
This also included giving up just 12 rushing yards to the ninth-ranked rushing attack in the nation and Auburn offense who entered the game averaging over 200 rushing yards per game.
With the win, NM State tallied its ninth win of the season to reach the second-highest win total in program history with three games still remaining on the schedule.
The win also marks the first time that a non-Power Five program has gone into Jordan-Hare Stadium and emerged victorious since 2007 when South Florida accomplished the same feat.
The Aggies, now 9-3 on the season, will now return home for its final regular season contest of the 2023 season as they play host to Jacksonville State on Saturday, Nov. 25.
Kickoff for the game versus the Gamecocks is set for 2 p.m. MT inside Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Since 2002, the FWAA has named a National Team of the Week. Coming into the 2023 season, 284 teams have been honored, including 101 different Division I programs.
Each honored team will receive a custom Cheez-It "care package" along with a hand-crafted game ball made in America by Dallas-based Big Game USA, the nation's leading manufacturer of custom footballs.