Skip to Content, Navigation, or Footer.
A spirit that is not afraid
Logo of The Auburn Plainsman
Monday, Dec 11, 2023 | Latest Print Edition

Players to watch, keys to victory against New Mexico State

Koy Moore (#0) celebrating a touchdown in Auburn's game against Mississippi State on October 28, 2023.
Koy Moore (#0) celebrating a touchdown in Auburn's game against Mississippi State on October 28, 2023.

With its crushing defeat over Arkansas, Auburn won its third straight game against an SEC opponent, raising its season record to 6-4 and giving the Tigers bowl eligibility. Auburn comes back to Jordan-Hare Stadium after two weeks on the road to face the New Mexico State Aggies, who are doing well on their own with an 8-3 record on the season.  

The Aggies have won their past six games, with their recent victory coming against Western Kentucky 38-29. The Aggies are led by head coach Jerry Kill who has an overall record of 14-9 at the school over two seasons.  

Auburn leads the series 3-0 all-time, where all the games have been played on its own turf and its last win coming in 2012 42-7. With a win in Jordan-Hare this weekend, the Tigers would be on a four-game win streak heading into the Iron Bowl. 



Jarquez Hunter 

Hunter is continuing his pursuit of a 1,000-yard season on the ground with a great performance last week against Arkansas, rushing for 109 yards on 16 carries for his third straight game with at least 100 yards rushing. If Hunter can carry his momentum into the game against New Mexico State and get the Tigers some easy opportunities in the red zone, this game could go to the Tigers early. 

Payton Thorne 

Thorne is fresh off last week’s game where he had a solid performance with a four-touchdown showing against the Razorbacks in which he threw for three and rushed for one. He also tacked on 163 yards passing and threw one interception. Look for Thorne to get some more looks down field in the passing game to open the field and get some big plays early. This is the kind of game where Thorne can show what progress he has made as a passer throughout the season.


Diego Pavia 

The Aggies' quarterback has thrown for 2,257 yards and 19 touchdowns along with six interceptions this season. He is also their leading rusher with 705 yards on five scores. It will be essential for the Aggies' offense to get started early with a score to keep the Tigers on their heels and alleviate some pressure from the Aggies defense. 

Keys to Victory  


No turnovers. One interception or one fumble could allow the Aggies to get the ball one more possession than they should have, which would keep the game from being won early on and force the Tigers to keep their starters in for longer than they would like. The defense will also look to get off the field on third down to give the offense more chances to stretch a potential lead. 


The Aggies have lost each of their 27 meetings against SEC opponents. To get their first win, the Aggies will have to establish their running game. The Aggies have run for 170 or more yards in 14 consecutive games – looking to extend that streak to 15. 

Auburn and New Mexico State kick off Saturday, Nov. 18, at 3 p.m. CST in Jordan-Hare Stadium. The game will be televised on SEC Network.  

Enjoy what you're reading? Get content from The Auburn Plainsman delivered to your inbox

William Halliday | Sports Writer

William Halliday started with The Plainsman in fall 2022. He is a journalism major from Memphis, Tennessee.

Twitter: @wphalliday3

Share and discuss “Players to watch, keys to victory against New Mexico State” on social media.