First off, this was a BAD game for the Aggies. Louisiana Tech is a better team than NMSU, but not 44-0 better.
Freshman Travaughn Colwell showed his inexperience in this one.
Colwell has shown a lot of potential this year but this was a big-time game — playing against a good team, on the road, that was playing for a conference championship.
He looked slow in his progressions and held the ball too long — either get rid of it or run with it. He took too many sacks — seven to be exact.
Of course senior Matt Christian's presence would have helped the Aggies.
His absence was odd, only because he was wearing his helmet and pads on the sideline. One would think if he couldn't go he wouldn't be suited up — perhaps the team was holding out hope if they were in it late, he could give them some snaps in crunch time. Head coach DeWayne Walker said Christian's hip was bothering him in pre-game warmups — Christian has been banged up all year — and that he couldn't go. He was limited this week in practice.
Could there be frustration between the Aggies defense and offense? It's possible.
It happens. It's tough — the defense played OK for 1 1/2 quarters and kept the team in it but the offense just couldn't get going. Three times the Aggies got inside the Louisiana Tech 35-yard line but couldn't come away with points.
Kemonte Bateman fumbled the ball after a reception for the first turnover, then Colwell was stopped short of the marker on a fourth-down run.
Later in the quarter the Aggies punted from the La. Tech 34 and the ball was downed at the 5-yard line.
We've talked about the situation at length — the Aggies NEED to get off to a good start in games. This is a team where, in its four wins, has scored first in each one. Once they fall behind two scores, two touchdowns, they're in trouble.
With that being said, a BIG key was the final four minutes of the first half.
It came after the Capraro punt, Aggies down 9-0 and Louisiana Tech backed up deep. The Bulldogs would go on to drive 95 yards to score a touchdown and take a 16-0 lead with under a minute to play in the half.
NMSU's next possession, Colwell throws an interception that was returned 45 yards for a touchdown by Louisiana Tech linebacker Adrian Cole with seven seconds to play in the second quarter. You go into the locker room trailing 9-0, it's a manageable score. But the Aggies were down 23-0 and the momentum had shifted to Louisiana Tech's side.
The Bulldogs would get the ball to start the second half and score on their first possession.
A second-quarter screen pass from Colwell was slightly high, went through Kenny Turner's hands and was intercepted by La. Tech.
If the play had been executed, Turner had blockers and running room.
Shortly thereafter NMSU senior cornerback Jonte Green recorded his first career interception with the team. He could have had another — he had a bead on a first-quarter pass in the flat from Cameron but couldn't corral it.
Green was also flagged for his eighth pass interference penalty of the year.
Junior cornerback Jeremy Harris continues to get picked on by opposing teams. They have been going after him the past month.
The Aggies have lost three of their last four games, all on the road, to Georgia (63-16 final score), BYU (42-7) and Louisiana Tech (44-0).
The Aggies have been improved this year but have taken some steps back in all three of these games.
NMSU can still be a five-win team — which would mark a MAJOR improvement — if they can beat Utah State in their season finale next Saturday at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
Utah State is a good team though, winning at Nevada on Saturday to move to 6-5 on the year.
The UtAgs are now bowl eligible.
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