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NMSU Aggies gear up for football, look to fans for successful season

The game of football is a team sport, eleven men on each side of the ball battling in the trenches. Although the players on the field and the coaches on the side line are important, it?s the diehard fans in the stands that make college football one of the most exciting events in the country Saturday?s during the fall.

Four men wearing face paint at NMSU Aggie game
Die hard Aggie fans wearing face paint are among the many familiar sights at football games at New Mexico State University. This fall the university is adding family oriented pregame activities and offering special prices on tickets. (NMSU photo)

The New Mexico State football team started gearing up for the season Aug. 1, with the beginning of fall camp and head coach Doug Martin and the team, expect this to be a special season for the Las Cruces community.

?We have a lot of good things going on for this football team right now,? Martin said. ?Being a part of the Sun Belt Conference gives us a conference championship to play for, along with bowl games and tie-ins. The new turf field and renovated weight room are really exciting for our players. Along with the new talent we have, I think we have the ability to compete in any game this season.?

Martin returns seven starters on offense and four on defense in 2014. Highlighting that group is center Valerian Ume-Ezeoke, a Rimington Trophy Watch List selection and place kicker Maxwell Johnson, a Lou Garza Watch List pick. A freshman heavy recruiting class will compete for starting positions during fall camp, as the Aggies have just 16 seniors this season, compared to almost 30 in 2013.

?The signing class is full of talented players and a lot of these players will make a big impact for us, especially on defense,? Martin said. ?We made a major upgrade as far as team speed this season and I feel we are more athletic as well. With the addition of Tyler Rogers we upgraded our quarterback play and I think the freshman quarterbacks will really give this team some exciting players on the field.?

As Coach Martin and the team work hard to put a great product on the field, the university and its athletics department also has been hard at work trying to build a family fun environment.

Martin agrees that the fans will be key to the success of the team.

?The whole reason why I was excited about being at New Mexico State to begin with was the alumni, the students and fans. The people of Las Cruces have really embraced myself and this program. I think this community is dying to have a good football program at NM State and I think when we get it going this will be a program that the community will be proud to support.?

Many activities are in the works to bring that family fun environment to Aggie Memorial this season. Associate Athletics Director of Marketing and Promotions Steve Macy said this should be an affordable experience for families to enjoy this fall.

?We are trying to help create the next generation of Aggie fans and in order to do that we wanted to make it an event that families would be comfortable at and could afford. The $5 ticket for kids 12 and under allows families the chance to have access to all the things we have set up before and after the games.?

Season tickets are just $50 for virtually any seat in the stadium. Only seats in sections G and GG are excluded from this special price. In addition, game day tickets for kids 12 and under will be just $5 in general admission or east side seats. Adult single game tickets are just $10. Groups of 20 or more can order single-game tickets at a reduced rate.

Pregame will include jump castles, face paintings, magic shows, temporary tattoos, balloons, football skills challenge, a poster creation station and more. For the first home game on August 28, the Athletics Department has joined with concessions partner Sodexo, where each kid?s ticket will include a free hot dog and fountain drink. Kids also will be allowed on the field following the game. Parking for every football game is free.

As in past seasons, NM State athletics also will be partnering with local youth organizations, military bases and charitable organizations to provide season tickets and single-game tickets to select games throughout the season.

The 2014 NM State football home schedule includes non-conference opponents Cal Poly on Thursday, Aug. 28, and I-25 rival New Mexico on Saturday, Sept. 20. In addition, NM State heads to the Sun Belt Conference after one year as an independent and will welcome four conference mates to Las Cruces: Georgia Southern, Texas State, Louisiana-Lafayette and Louisiana-Monroe.

The new conference is one of many new things to come to the football program this year. A new synthetic field is being installed, meaning that the field will look great and play consistently all season long. The Aggies also welcome veteran defensive coordinator Larry Coyer, who takes over the reins of a young defensive unit.

Fan favorite events also will be part of the 2014 home football campaign, as Ag Day will be Aug. 28, Tough Enough to Wear Pink will be played Oct. 4, Military Appreciation Nov. 1, and Homecoming will welcome back alumni Nov. 8.

Season tickets are available at the Pan American Center Ticket Office at 575-646-1420 or TicketMaster.com.