It was another frustrating loss for the New Mexico State Aggies, who fell to New Mexico 35-24 on Saturday night.
A few things stood out immediately when looking at the box score. The first one was obvious and that was the 63 rushing attempts by the Lobos. And then the fact that they piled up 297 yards on the ground. It's not like they posed a threat to throw the ball downfield at all. NMSU just had to concern itself with defending the run. And the Aggies simply couldn't stop it.Usually when an offense is one-dimensional, it becomes easy prey. Not the case Saturday and really, it wasn't the case two weeks ago against UTEP either. The Miner backs just weren't as good as the Lobos' were.
Then I looked at NMSU's rushing numbers. I know, the team likes to throw the ball. But UNM rushes it 63 times and NMSU just 18? Common. Usually, the Aggie backs are at least involved in the passing game too. That makes the stats deceptive, simply because they are catching quick screens and dump off that are just as good as carries but are counted as receptions. Again, not Saturday. No receptions for the NMSU runners. I don't know if this is a case of them being ignored or just not playing well but something needs to change. Your backs need to be involved in the offense in some capacity. Those lopsided totals on the ground led to a lopsided total in time of possession. UNM held the ball for more than 17 minutes longer than the Aggies. The defense must have been exhausted.
The Lobos outscored the Aggies 25-7 in the second half. Halftime adjustments, or a lack there of, are critical.
A winnable game? Yes. Is the season over? Absolutely not. The Aggies will rebound and beat Alcorn State. The team needs to avoid an Arkansas Pine Bluff-like performance and take it too Alcorn from start to finish. The WAC schedule starts out tough - at Nevada-Reno. But the team returns home for San Jose State - a team the Aggies can beat in Las Cruces - and then to Idaho - a team that ranks as one of the worst, if not the worst, in the country. Lots of football left to be played in a very young season. NMSU tends to live dangerously and plays in tight games, particularly in Las Cruces. Count on at least three more this season. The team needs to find a way to win them.