The Aggies Big 3 on offense shined the other night versus Fresno State. Lets take a look:
Quarterback Matt Christian
Saturday's stats: 25 of 43, 360 yards, two touchdowns.
Many knew the Aggies could win with Christian in the lineup after starter Andrew Manley went down but I don't know how many expected him to play at such a high level and be as valuable as he's been. Christian has averaged over 250 yards passing per game this year and has thrown for multiple touchdowns in four of his seven starts. Statistics aside, he's played hurt, played tough and led the team. In my estimation he's been the Aggies MVP this year.
Wide receiver Taveon Rogers
Saturday's statistics: 412 all-purpose yards; 10 receptions for 166 yards and a TD; 99-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.
Rogers has had a great year for the Aggies — they're No. 1 receiver and deep threat on offense and ace kick-return man. He has NFL potential.
On special teams, why do teams continue to kick the ball to Rogers? It seems like he has a 50/50 chance of returning a kick for a touchdown every time he touches the ball. I just do not understand why teams do it — it seems like football suicide to me. Three kickoff returns for TDs this year for the senior.
Running back Kenny Turner
Saturday's stats: 27 carries, 112 yards; two receptions, 30 yards; four touchdowns
Turner has also been a VERY valuable Aggie this year. Since moving back to running back, Turner has topped 100 yards rushing in five of the last seven games (he also had a 94-yard effort at Georgia). He also has 42 catches this year for 494 yards and has scored 12 touchdowns.
Turner has had some trouble holding onto the ball this year — recently its been fumbling — but has been a workhorse runner who has played well from start to finish in games this year where he's been the featured back. He's almost seemed to get better as the game goes on. Here's to hoping that Turner, a junior, will return to NMSU next season.
I know the team gave up 45 points to Fresno State on Saturday but I actually thought the defense played OK. Some plays that hurt the unit:
• Jake Capraro's 9-yard punt (yes, 9 yards), gave Fresno State the ball at the NMSU 46 yard line in the first quarter. The Bulldogs would score a touchdown to tie the score a 7-7.
• Christian's second-quarter interception gave Fresno State the ball at their own 34-yard line, down 20-10 late in the second quarter. It was a deep ball to Taveon Rogers that floated in the air and was wrestled away by Fresno defensive back L.J. Jones. The Bulldogs would score a touchdown on the ensuing possession to make the score 20-17.
• NMSU cornerback Jeremy Harris got torched in the third quarter — a pass interference call and two long touchdowns surrendered to Jalen Saunders.
Outside of those four or five key plays I thought the unit played all right. It held Fresno State running back Robbie Rouse in check on the ground (23 carries, 93 yards, two touchdowns). Rouse did some damage as a pass catcher in the first half, but NMSU held him below his 120-yard rushing average — it could have been the best run defense the Aggies have played all season.
And the defense got two BIG fourth-quarter stops with under five minutes to go — getting the ball back to the offense down 45-41 and then holding on Fresno's final drive up 48-45. Outside of Harris, I thought the Aggie defensive backs covered the Fresno State wide receivers well.
The performance also came without standout safety Donyae Coleman, out with a shoulder injury. His replacement Justin Smith led NMSU with 13 tackles.
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