It was sad how the Aggies came out on Saturday night against the Miners.
UTEP was up 21-0 quickly, scoring on their first three drives of the game and it really looked easy.
Vittatoe went up top and also kept the ball and ran for yardage. Third down was not a problem for the Miners.
For the second straight week, the Aggies were pushed around on the defensive side of the ball.
To me, it's not a surprise the Aggies are 0-2. I knew that San Diego State and UTEP were ahead of NMSU on the football field coming into the year.
But I am surprised that the Aggies are playing this poorly on defense. I said it following last week's loss - defense was supposed to be the bread and butter for this team in Year 2 of the DeWayne Walker era. But the unit has been invisible up to this point.
It's the perimeter of the defense that has been the biggest disappointment. Where are defensive ends Pierre Fils and Donte Savage? There has been zero pressure put on the quarterback to this point.
And cornerbacks Davon House and Jonte Green have underperformed. House was decent in Week 2, but Green had easily the worst game of his Aggie career. What was the problem? Something was off with him against the Miners. It looked like his head wasn't in the game.
I think the team's gotten decent production from its defensive tackles John Finau and Kawika Shook. Donyae Coleman has been the secondary's best player to this point and I think backup safety George Callender's shown some ability to this point.
But the Aggies will do nothing if they don't get to the quarterback more often. That's the name of the game - it's how a team swings field position and creates turnovers.
The Aggies didn't blitz a whole lot on Saturday - they are relying on their front-four to generate a push. So far, it's going nowhere.
Offensively, the Aggies have been decent - anything would be better than last year and the fact they're getting 15-to-20 yard pass plays downfield is reason for excitement after 2009.
I'm not going to sit here and say the offense contributed to the defense's bad start. Sure, the Aggies didn't get a first down until the 11:00 mark of the second quarter, with the score 21-0 UTEP.
But it's hard as an offense when you're not on the field to generate any type of rhythm. And that's what happened in this one - the Aggies ran six offensive plays in the first quarter.
In the first game, there was talk of the offense leaving the defense hanging in the second quarter. On Saturday, the defense left the offense hanging in the first. You gotta get your team the ball to see what they can do. No use being on the sidelines for all but three minutes of the opening period.
I do think the Aggie offense has been hot and cold in the first two games of the season. The second quarter, the unit got moving, but that was really it all night. And when it's been off, first downs have been hard to come by.
I feel for running back Seth Smith, because he's not the type of back who's going to be at his most effective with just 5-to-10 carries per game. He needs 15-to-20 at the bare minimum for his impact to be felt. I still believe he's the team's most complete player on the offensive side of the ball, but it's tough to tell with the team trailing and he being under utilized.
Marcus Allen looked good again and Todd Lee made a couple big grabs. Kenny Turner catches the ball well out of the backfield, although I would have liked to see him get out of bounds during the two-minute drill to close out the half. Instead, with under 20 seconds remaining, he caught a ball near the sideline but turned in back inside where he was brought down near the 15 yard line. It led to an Aggie field goal, cutting the UTEP lead to 21-10 at the half, but it also forced the team to burn its final timeout of the half.
Special teams was average at best on Saturday and the Aggies were hurt by a 28-yard punt by Tanner Rust that gave UTEP the ball at midfield to start out the half. The Miners quickly turned the possession into points, another Vittatoe touchdown pass, to go up 28-10.
The return game was nothing special and Taveon Rogers fumbled the opening kickoff of the half, only to recover. Still, scary.
Tyler Stampler hit a field goal and an extra point on the evening.