Lets just start out by just saying the truth: the New Mexico State Aggies have to play better tonight against Texas-San Antonio. If not, they could very well not win this game, which I consider a 50-50, toss-up contest.
Adjustments on both sides of the ball need to happen. The Aggies have regressed offensively each week and essentially look like they have the same gameplan since Week 1 against Sacramento State. Something’s gotta give here. I want to be clear, I do not lay last weekend’s loss at the feet of quarterback Andrew Manley, because factually that would be incorrect. It was a team loss, and the ground game and pass protection need to get better to help the young QB. But perhaps giving backups some snaps this week — whether it be Andrew McDonald or Travaughn Colwell — wouldn’t be a bad idea either. Just a series or two to try and provide a spark. Maybe it would help NMSU’s rushing attack get going a bit with a mobile signal caller in the game. Something. McDonald did miss practice time this week because he was under the weather.
Here’s a quote from offensive coordinator Jerry McManus this week as it pertains to offensive adjustments the team can make:
“When you look at the offense, we’re always tweaking and adding, deleting, those kind of things, for better execution. That’s what we’re looking for. We feel like that’s the area that we feel like we need to be more consistent in. In our execution. You can have all the plays in the world, but if you don’t execute them it doesn’t matter. That’s where the emphasis is this week. Focus, do your job and execute the play that’s called.”
As stated in a previous blog post, the Aggies greatly miss last year’s offensive coordinator Doug Martin. Running between the tackles hasn’t worked to this point, so why will it start working tonight? I will say this: the team does need to eliminate penalties and turnovers that absolutely killed any offensive momentum they established last week against New Mexico.
Defensively, it’s not much different. Mainly, more aggressiveness out of the unit would be nice. NMSU said going into the season the defense would bring more variation and creativity to the table, so lets see it. Texas-San Antonio runs a multiple offense that utilizes the speed-option, something the Aggies had big trouble with last weekend against New Mexico. Certainly the Roadrunners will test NMSU in this area tonight, but the team has also shown a penchant to throw the football, with 14 different wide receivers catching passes from starting quarterback Eric Soza.
UTSA is a tough team to get a handle on because, at 4-0, they haven’t beaten anyone, either (wins over South Alabama, Texas A&M-Commerce, Georgia State and Northwestern Oklahoma). Still, they’ll be confident and fired up for this football game, the first ever WAC game for this second-year football program. They do have some athletes and the image of an upstart program.
We understand the importance of this football game for NMSU, just like we understood the importance of the past two weeks as well. But, until the Aggies prove they can make effective adjustments on both sides of the ball, we can’t give them the benefit of the doubt.
Prediction: UTSA 34, NMSU 31