Here are the keys to victory for the Aggies when the team travels to San Diego State this weekend
1) Running the football: This is a key every week for the Aggies. The team will need to pound the ball on the ground and win the time of possession battle over the Aztecs. Seth Smith has had a good season so far. His first game was big, but it came with an asterisk — against a I-AA team in Prairie View A&M. He has continued to rumble though against UTEP and UNM. Now, he'll face a SDSU defense that played well against the run when the team faced Air Force last weekend. NMSU needs to at least move the chains consistently.
2) Quarterback management: In case you missed it, Jeff Fleming will start at quarterback this weekend for the Aggies. I can understand the move, simply because of how Fleming finished the UNM contest, throwing the game-winning touchdown on fourth-and-goal. Still, while Fleming made the clutch play, the running game carried the Aggies on that particular drive. And the offense, while better last weekend, has not been standout under his watch. The reality is that Trevor Walls did an alright job last weekend too. Maybe the offense needs both of their skill sets to succeed. Fleming will get the start, but if things stall out on offense, keep a close eye on how the staff manages the situation. Walls should get a fair shot again this weekend.
3) Defensive line: The Aztecs are vulnerable up front, as the offensive line had a rough game last weekend against Air Force and are shifting new personnel into key spots along the unit. It will be up to the Aggie defensive line to generate pressure on the SDSU backfield. If the NMSU front four can penetrate the line alone, it will allow the Aggies to use their linebackers in coverage and not blitz. That, alone, will be a big advantage.
4) San Diego State offense: This unit was just bad last weekend. Quarterback Ryan Lindley threw four interceptions and the ground game went nowhere. Just a hunch, but some of this can be attributed to the team's struggles on the line. Poor play up front can ground any offense. I also will say this though, I think SDSU has talent. Vincent Brown is a deadly receiver and he, alone, could be a difference maker. He's a big-play receiver who's in a zone right now.
Rocky Long: Long is a solid defensive coordinator for San Diego State and can really muddle up an offense. I don't think the Aggies need to score an abundance of points in this game, but single digits certainly won't do. The team needs to be able to move the ball effectively against SDSU, chew up the clock and cash in on their opportunities. Three-and-outs, sacks and turnovers won't do.