Last year, the two rivalry games were fantastic.
When the Aggies went to UNM, they really could have won. Chris Williams was, well, Chris Williams. I also remember the defense playing badly, Nick Cleaver getting crunched over the middle, ball popping up in the air and the Lobos getting a huge pick late in the game. Paul Young booted a field goal home with 12:39 remaining in the fourth quarter to tie things up at 27. NMSU went on to give up two straight TDs. Lost the game 34-44. Rodney Ferguson was a powerhouse and NMSU made Donovan Porterie look like a real-deal college QB. But it was a great game.
The next week, NMSU returned home to face UTEP and won 29-24. There was so much excitement after that game. Coach Mumme was very emotional afterwards and there was a feeling that the Aggies had gotten over the hump. They ran the ball well that night. I remember them just pounding the ball with Justine Buries early and the defense came up big down the stretch. There were crazy plays throughout. UTEP's Quintin Demps returned a pick 100-plus yards to the house, Williams was, well, Williams (221 yards, 2 TDs, big plays everywhere). The receiver also dropped a few passes too but who's counting.
I really just remember the optimism surrounding the team after that game. It went away shortly after though. The Aggies need to recapture that feeling again. People were genuinely excited after UTEP. NMSU won the game. And they could have beaten UNM too. It felt like they got over the hump and they fell back down again. What does 2008 have in store?