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Published: Thursday, 10/29/2009

The End Zone - Ohio State

Ohio State beat writer Matt Markey Ohio State beat writer Matt Markey

When New Mexico State appeared on the Buckeyes' schedule, after the head-scratching and brow-knitting, folks posed the who, what, and why questions. Shouldn't Ohio State be playing Big Ten games that matter on November eve?

First, the why. Because the Big Ten is secretly 11, only five teams can play five other conference teams on any given Saturday. When the schedule went to 12 games crammed in before Thanksgiving, you can either start in mid-August and have an open date, or find someone to fill the gap. Enter the who — NMS — a school of 16,000 students in Las Cruces, nearEl Paso which is in the extreme western tip of Texas.

The what is a team called the Aggies that has been outscored 79-10 in its last two games. It has a sinister-looking mascot named Pistol Pete that resembles Tom Selleck brandishing a pair of six-shooters. Legend says Pete was a young frontier boy who watched his father be murdered by former Confederate soldiers, learned to use a Colt 45, then tracked down those scoundrels.

NMS has a women's equestrian team that beat TCU recently, sweeping the Equitation on the Flat and Equitation over Fences.

The football coach played at Minnesota, and so did the athleticdirector. The quarterback is a kid from Ohio, who will play in Ohio Stadium on Saturday. That alone is enough reason to play this game.

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