Lets hope quarterback Andrew Manley's injury isn't as serious as it initially looked.
It looked like Manley was limping during the third quarter of the game and he was down for a moment in pain after being sacked on the Aggies last offensive play of the game. He was grabbing around his knee. It actually looked like Manley wasn't hurt on the hit but on planting to throw the ball before the hit came. Again, it looked bad.
It didn't look like he fumbled that ball on replays — it looked like the ball had come out after he was down. NMSU head coach DeWayne Walker alluded to that during the post-game press conference.
After the game Manley was seen on the field talking and walking and he looked fine. Here's to hoping it was just cramping and that he's going to be OK.
This game hurt because it was a winnable one for the Aggies. Neither team looked very impressive and the Aggies left points on the field. The first quarter saw Kenny Turner fumble the ball on the goal line, Turner looked like he slowed down on a deep pass where was open and the team going three-and-out after getting the ball at midfield.
UTEP wasn't very good but outperformed the Aggies on special teams and ran the ball just well enough.
The fake punt was the key call of the game. UTEP had the ball at their own 29 yard line late in the third quarter and snapped the ball directly to Joe Banyard who ran with it all the way down to the Aggie 6-yard line.
Yes, the Miners scored the go-ahead touchdown shortly thereafter, but the momentum of the game changed after that play too. It was the key play of the game.
UTEP had the edge on the Aggie offensive line.
This unit played much better last week in the team's win over Minnesota but didn't play as well on Saturday. The Miners blitzed the Aggies frequently and Manley was under pressure. NMSU never got a running game going — 16 yards on 29 carries. The team went with Turner on the goal line and I wouldn't have minded seeing Robert Clay or Victor Johnson on those chances — two hard runners.
The Miners only chance was to pressure Manley because the Aggies moved the ball well through the air when he had time. He overthrew some receivers but I thought he played pretty well when he had time. UTEP blitzed frequently but even got after him on three-man rushes too.
I thought Manley operated the two-minute drill very well at the end of the first half and I thought the Aggies could have gone to with the no-huddle more in the second half.
I thought Pierre Fils played a good game for the Aggies on the defensive line.
I thought UTEP defensive back Antwon Blake covered well in the secondary.
UTEP's top receiver Donovan Kemp wasn't a factor — one reception for five yards.