Here’s what I thought following the Aggies vs. Fresno State game on Saturday night.
• The Aggies got off the a horrible start offensively and it led to a 16-0 hole.
Really, you take away that start, and the Aggies played Fresno State tough — Fresno State won 17-10 the rest of the way.
That start was fueled by the Fresno State defensive line having their way with the NMSU offensive front and freshman quarterback Andrew Manley running for his life during the opening possessions of the game.
• The Aggie offensive line got off to a very bad start, but improved as the game went along and blocked for Seth Smith and Kenny Turner, who both had strong games.
The line began blocking better once quarterback Matt Christian was inserted into the game for Manley. Don’t know if that was a coincidence or not, although it seems like Christian has a quick release and that internal clock all quarterbacks need in terms of getting rid of the ball. Manley’s still very young and is growing. And I thought he could have gotten another series or two once the bullets stopped flying.
Back to the O-line though.
When you see a unit work hard and improve like that during the course of a game, it’s a sign of good coaching.
The bottom line is that offensive line coach Jason Lenzemeier continues getting the max out of the minimum. Last year the group was solid enough and this year it has been the most consistent overall unit on the team despite being ravaged by injuries and really having no dominant player, particularly along the interior of the line. But they play hard, block hard and held their own from the second quarter on against a very good Fresno State defensive front.
• Taveon Rogers needs the ball more often.
He has speed and can rip off the big play. He caught one ball last night — a screen pass that went for 50 yards.
The Aggies also got nice games from running backs Seth Smith and Kenny Turner. Seth had 11 carries and Kenny had 15. I’m fine with Turner’s workload, although I think Smith could stand to get 10 more carries. He’s still a very good player for NMSU.
• The Aggies had some good field position, particularly early on in the game, but did nothing with it. If you’re going to spring an upset, particularly on the road, you gotta take advantage of those opportunities. Very simple.
• We can talk about how the Aggie defense played better in the second half, but here’s the thing:
It’s impossible to accurately tell how good you are when you’re either up or down by 30. Sure, Fresno State was trying to score in the second half, but it’s human nature to let up when you know you have the game in hand. I would be more impressed with the Aggie defense if they held Fresno State to three points in the second half during a 20-17 win, not a 33-10 loss.
• At Idaho next week.
My gut tells me the Aggies are going to be competitive.
NMSU will get one more win this year if they keep playing the way they are.
Still, two more is not out of the question.
Three more would be a great way to end the season — going .500 down the stretch and surpassing last year’s three-win total.
That would be pretty awesome.