Aggies look to rebound at Middle Tennessee

Updated: October 9, 2003, 4:23 AM ET

LAS CRUCES, N.M. -- The New Mexico State Aggies know what they have to do.

"We need to get on a winning streak to win this conference. That's our goal," said Aggie linebacker Tim Patrick.

The Aggies (1-4, 0-1 Sun Belt) are still reeling from a heartbreaking loss to Idaho last weekend that ended their seven-game home winning streak, and they're more than ready to take out their frustration on Middle Tennessee at Floyd Stadium on Saturday.

Patrick said the pressure is also on because the Aggies have to win the rest of their Sun Belt Conference games to get to the New Orleans Bowl.

"It's win or go home. We can't lose another game," he said.

New Mexico State has had success in its conference road openers of late, winning five straight openers dating back to 1998.

Saturday will be the home conference opener for the Blue Raiders (0-5), which have been struggling with a tough schedule this season. They lost last weekend to Temple after giving up 41 unanswered points.

Despite their losing record, New Mexico State head coach Toney Samuel said he doesn't want his team to underestimate the Raiders. He said Middle Tennessee is very athletic and is capable of good things on both sides of the ball.

Aggie cornerback Cameron Wright agreed.

"They have big playmakers and they have some speed. Their quarterbacks and receivers make plays. They are a good team," Wright said.

Like the Aggies, Middle Tennessee head coach Andy McCollum said his team is hungry for a win.

"We are sitting here 0-5. We've been in some tough games," he said. "We've had some tough breaks against us and we've had a tough schedule."

McCollum said the Blue Raiders will be focusing on taking care of the ball, something that didn't happen last week. Temple used two Middle Tennessee turnovers to steal momentum en route to a 44-36 win.

In the last meeting between NMSU and Middle Tennessee, the Aggies dominated the first half to take a 10-0 halftime lead. Middle Tennessee switched to an option attack and rolled up 144 offensive yards and two touchdowns in the third to take a 14-10 lead.

The Aggies scored on two short TD runs in the fourth to put the score at 24-14. The Blue Raiders scored once more but it proved to be too little too late.

In 2001, a 39-35 loss to Middle Tennessee on the road crippled the Aggies shot for a conference title. In that game, the Blue Raiders scored four touchdowns to rally in the fourth and beat the Aggies.

This story is from's automated news wire. Wire index