Sunday, October 2, 2011

Recapping the Aggie-Lobo game

By now we all know about the Aggies 42-28 win at the University of New Mexico on Saturday night.

Is a 14-point win a blowout? For the Aggies it is. And it sure felt like a blowout with the team up 21-0 after the first quarter, 28-7 at halftime and 35-7 in the third quarter.

Every team needs to win big once in a while and for the Aggies it hasn't happened in a long while. Frankly, NMSU has been on the other side of that result too many times.

No need to apologize for the big win.

Quarterback Matt Christian is playing like a senior. He was on target on Saturday and ran the offense very well.

WIth Christian and running back Kenny Turner in the game the Aggies have ran the ball better the past two weeks than they have all season, out of the run-option offense.

No knock on Andrew Manley — I wrote at the beginning of the season that the Aggies could win with either quarterback in the game — but Christian is just a bit more dynamic at this point.

He's fast, mobile and a good decision maker — the system has brought variation to the offense and has allowed the line to protect the passer better. Defensive coordinators now have more to consider when game planning for the Aggies. They have to be more honest — defend more of the field without bringing the blitz as much.

Coordinator Doug Martin needs credit in this. He has reinvented the offense the last two weeks with his backup quarterback and running back in the lineup and has catered to his players' strengths — Christian's running ability, Turner's speed and ability as a gamebreaker on the edge. Martin has adapted the offense and the Aggies have looked very good the last two weeks.

I wrote during fall camp about the Aggie wide receiving corps — this unit was upgraded the most in the offseason.

We all know about Taveon Rogers and Todd Lee.

On Saturday Rogers didn't play (hip/tailbone) but it did not matter.

True freshman Austin Franklin is going to be a monster (five catches, 115 yards, touchdown) and Kemonte Bateman (two catches, 41 yards, TD) and Jerrel Brown (four catches, 51 yards) stepped up. Brown has been seeing action in practice — he was right at the edge of the Aggie depth chart — and is now getting playing time. He caught two balls last week at San Jose State.

We knew going into the game that the Aggie receivers would have a major edge on a woeful UNM secondary and they played well.

The Aggies had to jump out on the Lobos quickly and did exactly that.

The reasons were two-fold:

For starters, the Lobos are a down team and the faster NMSU got up on them, the better. There was no need to give UNM a chance at believing they could win.

Also, the Aggie defense has had its struggles. When the Aggie offense can lead the way and get up by a couple scores on the opposition, it helps the defense. We saw that in both Aggie wins this year — at Minnesota and this past Saturday at UNM.

There is no getting around the fact that the Lobos are just awful. Their defense is bad and the Aggies did whatever they wanted to with the football. UNM didn't generate a pass rush and it's secondary can't cover or tackle — poor coaching.

It's incredible that a school with so much more resources than NMSU can be so much worse at football. This game really showed how bad the Lobos are — NMSU looked entirely too good.

The Lobos have hit rock bottom.

With that being said, any time the Aggies can win three straight over UNM it's a big accomplishment — no matter the circumstances.

Great way for NMSU to enter their bye week.

Now they can rest up and get a boost heading into a big Oct. 15 home game against Idaho.

Week 5 of the season in the books.

And the Aggies are still going.

Follow me on Twitter @TeddyFeinberg


Anonymous said...

Boy this feels good. It was nice to talk smack the entire game at UNM. I saw people that walked into the game a couple of minutes into the first quarter, saw that it was 14-0, then walked right back out.

I hope we can build on this and get a couple of more wins this year. I keep saying it, but this is an improved Aggie team. We probably don't have the depth or offensive line play to win 6 games, but this group of players is fighting on every down.

Thank you Coach Walker, you're making a difference!

Anonymous said...

Good write up Teddy. It's always a plus to beat a rival. It's goes a long way for the players and even more with the fans. Yes UNM is terrible, but we barely beat them last year in what was a terrible game. They were a bad team last year too. This year we hit the ground running and got out to a 21-0 lead in the first quarter. When was the last time an Aggie team did that against anyone? Also, some fans were critical in saying we should have beat them worse or allowed them to score 28 on us. This has an easy explanation. Arkansas ran up the score because they are contending for a BCS bowl game. Look for TCU and Boise St to do the exact same thing in a couple of weeks against UNM. They have to destroy bad teams to be considered for those bowls. NMSU is obviously not playing for those type of bowls and it was clear that the Aggie coaching staff wasn't out to run up the score. Why would they? The Aggies were running the ball a lot more in the second half and even put together an 8 minute drive when they were pretty much scoring at will in the first half. They were even in the red zone at the end of the game and just ran out the clock. Look I hate UNM, but the NMSU coaching staff showed class by not running up the score.
Also, this team is greatly improved from previous years. I'll be honest, I actually expected to beat utep and San Jose after our game with Minnesota. Yes Minnesota is terrible, but they are a Big 10 school. They are going to get better/bigger players than NMSU and they will have much more depth than us. So beating them on their home turf says a lot. 1. We beat a school from a major football conference. 2. We beat them at their home. NMSU rarely, if ever won away games. Another sign of improvement. Aggie fans stop being so negative. I've been a season ticket holder for all football and basketball games for the past 7 years and attended most of the games in the 90's. We're getting better. Fans just need to be supportive and show up to the games. That goes for the students too.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, I'm a Tony Samuels homer because, the run option works, chews up the clock and keeps the Defense fresh!

I think Coach Martin is very smart in using his players strengths vs. sticking to a "system", ala, Mumme.

I really like the way the team is playing and a bye week is very timely to help our players recover from injuries.

Get some rest, let's paint this town Pink and finish it off with a win over Idaho!


Anonymous said...

If the Aggies can win 4 games this year, it's a better year than last year.

The Lobos are the worst team on the planet but that's okay. The game gave the Aggies a W where a W needs to be. We don't need big point spreads, we just need wins. That's the metric and the bottom line.

The proof of getting better is winning the winnable games. If Georgia beats the Aggies, so what. If Nevada beats the Aggies, okay, they are a better team, we know that. However, there are some games on the horizon that the Aggie CAN win. Do that, and the team has improved. Don't, and you can throw all the talk of improvement out the window.

BTW, I am very happy the Aggies beat the Lobos. Ecstatic even. It was the worst kind of trap game played away from home, and the Aggies came out just fine.

Anonymous said...

It was a game between two of the worst teams in the country, I'm not feeling it Ted.

Anonymous said...

I don't think your giving coach Martin enough props for changing the offense to better suit his personell.

I'm not sure if you were around when Mumme took over?
We went from the "option" to the "spread" without a transition period.

If he would have used a very mobile QB in Joey Vincent and run the spread option. NMSU could very easily gotten wins vs. Utah St. and Idaho.

Eventhough we didn't have the personell to run the spread, Mumme decided to stick to his guns and we went 0-12!!

Coach Martin is still getting to know his players but, he's smart enough to what their strengths are and using them pretty effectively.

I would obviously would have liked for him to try a few more wrinkles vs. utep but hey, he's learning from his mistakes, right?

BIG, BIG, ups to Coach Martin!!


Teddy said...

I think you bring up good points Jefe.

As stated, Martin has changed the offense to suit his player's strengths. It's a skill and the Aggie offense is better because of it.