Sorry about the lack of blog activity the last day ladies and gents. I was on the road to Ruston and really couldn't muster it up. Loved the last week though. Lots of activity on the board with a lot of varying opinions. Lets try to keep this thing rolling.
I'm really looking forward to tonight's game. How will the team respond, will McDermott be able to move the troops and a look at the La. Tech running backs and secondary all give me multiple points of intrigue.
A few keys for tonight's game: McDermott will have to lead them on at least three scoring drives, two of which wind up in the endzone. The Aggies will have to score at least 20 here for the win. I think he can do it and I think the team really just has to get the ball in Chris Williams' hands. Reverses, screens, slants, whatever, just get him the ball. He can take it the distance at any moment and is the most explosive player on the field tonight.
Another key will be how the Aggie defense defends the run. And I mean that with both the backs and the backup quarterback Michael Mosley. Mosley brings a different dimension to the Tech offense just because he can move and I expect him to get a good deal of snaps tonight. The Bulldogs have not been able to pass much this year, so if the ground game is contained, the Aggies can win.
With that being said, I think a key player for the NMSU defense is Raymond Manumaleuna. Some don't really understand the importance of a nose tackle in the 3-4 defense. In reality, Manumaleuna could make one tackle the entire night and still have an enormous impact on the game. If he can wreak havoc in the middle and disrupt the La. Tech O-line, it will hamper their ground game. In fact, the Aggies need a big effort from their entire D-line tonight. Again, D-linemen do not get huge numbers in a 3-4 but their performance often allows the linebackers to put up stats. Holding blockers, clogging the middle and doing major grunt work are the jobs of the tackles and the ends and they'll have to do good work of that tonight.
Both teams actually have some explosiveness in the return game as well. A few big plays on special teams could be a deciding factor also.
Assuming the game goes as planned - high teens, low 20s in points, lots of field position battles - I see a dog fight. Again, the Aggies have to move the ball and win time of possession. If the Bulldogs run it well, that could be tough. Whoever wins time of possession wins this game. NMSU needs to stay patient with a young QB. Can Mumme adjust? We'll find out tonight.
I think NMSU wins 20-17. I predicted they'd win at Boise last week. That was a great call. But I want a bowl game too. McDermott throws for 250 and a TD. He also tosses two picks. Justine Buries gets the other touchdown on the ground. NMSU forces a few turnovers also (really, they have to). A couple 35-yarders from Young rounds out the scoring in a sloppy affair in Ruston. Looking forward to it.