Thursday, October 27, 2011

5 keys for Aggies vs. Nevada

Christian’s health: Matt Christian has been a clutch player for NMSU. But the reality is that he’s a wounded quarterback — a hurt left shoulder had Christian playing last week with his arm hanging, tight to his body. So what will his game look like on Saturday? Christian’s mobility has been a key to his success, and now he must stay out of harms way. Certainly his injury will effect how the Aggies run the option and at the first sign of a possible big hit, Christian will need to pitch the ball — a quick read. And then there’s the rest of the season to worry about. It’s tough imagining Christian making it through the whole year and, if he goes down, the Aggies season will take a big hit as well.

A mistake-free game: Can the Aggies beat the Wolf Pack? Their best chance is by playing a near-perfect game — limit turnovers and stupid penalties, win the special teams’ battle and get some breaks of their own. Nevada’s a fine football team. But the Aggies are much-improved, and have been competitive throughout 2011. Another round awaits Saturday — with NMSU as nearly two-touchdown underdogs.

Strength vs. weakness: Last week NMSU faced a pass-happy Hawaii team which, ironically, was a good matchup for the Aggies — the team defends the pass better than the run because of their solid secondary in the back-end and a thin defensive line. Well, Nevada is a run-first team, averaging just over 250-yards per game on the ground while NMSU surrenders close to 200 per contest. Mike Ball is a good running back for the Wolf Pack — power, good balance and a strong stiff arm — and freshman quarterback Cody Fajardo is coming on. On paper, an obvious concern for the Aggies.

Sneak attack: One of these weeks the Aggies could very well sneak up on someone. Is this it? NMSU hasn’t looked overwhelmed this year, has a higher talent level and has been competitive — a defined goal entering the season. Stay with the Wolf Pack and by the end of the contest, it could be anyone’s game. Perhaps the days of getting blown out are over for the Aggies.

Special teams: We can hear the collective grown coming from the Aggie faithful. Outside of return man Taveon Rogers, this unit has hurt the Aggies in just about every game this year. NMSU has improved on its deficiencies this season — the offensive line, running game and pass rush have all gotten better as the season has gone along. If the Aggies get special teams straightened out, they’ll actually be OK in all three phases of the game. If they don’t, they’ll be hard-pressed to win.


Anonymous said...

Fire Special Teams coach, Murphy!
He brings absolutely no value to the table!

Good luck this week to the Aggies!

Anonymous said...

Special Teams deserve special parking permit...