Sunday, October 23, 2011
Looking back: Saturday's Aggies vs. Hawaii game
Lets start out by saying a 45-34 loss for the Aggies at Hawaii isn't a bad thing.
NMSU moved the ball and it's defense was creative and gave good effort. I thought they played well.
We've been saying that the Aggies are an improved team and this game further showed that — tough road test in a place they have typically been beat thoroughly and they were competitive in this one. I think it's a good sign.
I will also say special teams continues to kill the Aggies.
Hawaii had a blocked punt for a touchdown to make the score 14-0 in the first quarter. CAN'T happen.
The punting in general throughout the night was just not good.
If you take out Taveon Rogers from the kick return game, the Aggies special teams has been bad all year.
Surrendering a punt-return touchdown against Ohio.
A missed field goal at Minnesota.
A game lost to UTEP in which the special teams unit was a big reason why and then it almost cost the team last week against Idaho.
On Saturday special teams didn't lose the game for the Aggies but it didn't help either. They lost by 11 and if you take away the blocked punt they're in it late.
It's killin them.
Matt Christian is TOUGH. He played with his left arm and shoulder heavily wrapped because of injury.
It's tough to imagine at this point Christian (pictured) lasting the rest of the year. It seems he's going to play until he simply can't anymore but if he goes out the Aggies are going to be in trouble.
Backup Travaughn Colwell looked like a freshman Saturday night — I still like his game and potential. But it was a different world going against Hawaii than it was Idaho.
Truthfully, I liked Trevor Walls at quarterback but he's a tight end now and hasn't taken any snaps — from what I've seen — all year at the position. Tough spot there and I can understand the Aggies not playing him the other night for that reason. Although it was scary watching Christian running around with one arm, at one point getting helicoptered into the endzone. Again, he's tough and I credit him for the gutsy performance, but I'm just worried about what happens if/when he goes down.
I thought the defense played pretty well in this one and was creative in defending Hawaii.
It was strength on strength — Hawaii's pass offense vs the Aggies secondary.
Hawaii hits teams with the run when the opposition brings in passing personnel — five and six defensive backs on the field and UH gives it up the middle to their big back Joey Iosefa.
The Aggies had five sacks in this one and now have 14 on the season.
NMSU also had more passing yards than Hawaii (284 to 276).
I feel like the chemistry is good for the Aggies. A couple points here:
• Christian could have checked out this year when he wasn't named the starter but stayed ready and has been a very valuable player to NMSU. Impressive to me.
• Then Robert Clay — who hasn't gotten a carry at running back for weeks — was active on special teams against Hawaii. Again, impressive.
We talked about quarterback depth for the Aggies and it really goes for the whole team.
NMSU has a tough second-half of the schedule including road games at Georgia and BYU. This is a big concern here — how will NMSU stay healthy the rest of the way? A couple big injuries and the Aggies will be in deep trouble.
Watched the entire Nevada vs. Fresno State game on Saturday in Reno — Nevada, who comes to Las Cruces this weekend won 45-38.
The win puts the Wolf Pack in the driver's seat to win the league — which I picked in preseason (side note).
Here's what I saw from both teams Saturday:
Nevada has a VERY good running back in Mike Ball: short, powerful, good balance, very good stiff arm.
Freshman quarterback Cody Fajardo looked very good to me to and Nevada's defense is better this year. While Hawaii spreads teams out and throws the ball, the Wolf Pack are going to pound you. Different look for the Aggies this week.
As for Fresno State, they're a big-play team.
Like their quarterback Derek Carr, little running back Robbie Rouse, and wide receivers Devon Wylie and Jalen Saunders.
Fresno will also give up the big play though — teams can throw on them and they didn't tackle well against Nevada.
Louisiana Tech won at Utah State too. I've said it before, the WAC is better than advertised this year. A lot of young quarterbacks in the league that look good too.
Schedule will be tough for an improved Aggie team.
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