Plus, Football Bowl Subdivision's least productive offense needed a lift.
Tight end C.J. Uzomah expects Wallace to respond the "same way he responded when he came into the game late."
"Even though it was against maybe second- and third-string guys, he's a competitor, he's a fighter," Uzomah said. "Even though he's going to be starting and he knows that he's going to be starting, we're going to rally around him. I feel like he's confident in himself and we're confident in him no matter what. We have our faith in him and we're planning on doing well."
Wallace brings more running ability to the job than either Moseley or Frazier. He'll face a defense that ranks 102nd in yards allowed, giving up 461 a game.
The Tigers certainly sound like they're expecting Wallace's start to be more than a one-week cameo, even if Moseley and Frazier get healthy.
"I feel confident in Jonathan and what he'll be able to bring to the table," top receiver Emory Blake said. "He won't act any different toward New Mexico State than he will toward Georgia or Alabama.""
These two teams are tied for 111th nationally in turnover margin, handcuffing both offenses. They can certainly empathize with each other's situations.
"Auburn's a good football team," New Mexico State coach DeWayne Walker said. "This is a Southeastern Conference team. We're not in any position to look at their record and to think otherwise."
The Aggies are 0-14 against current SEC teams, coming the closest against South Carolina in 2002 (34-24). Auburn won the previous two meetings 50-14 in 1993 and 55-20 in 2007.
The Aggies would get a big boost from beating an SEC team whatever the records.