Taking a look at Friday’s college football game:
• Ray of hope?: Should the Aggies, or their fans, have reason to believe today will be different from past Saturdays throughout the 2012 college football season? Since their Week 1 win over Sacramento State, the Aggies really haven’t been in any games and now BYU comes to town in the final home contest of the year. On paper, it looks like much of the same should be expected, which would mean a long day at Aggie Memorial Stadium for the home team.
• Can they score?: NMSU’s last game against San Jose State might as well have ended in a shutout — down 47-0, the Aggies managed to score a touchdown with under a minute to play in the contest. The Aggie offense hasn’t progresses as the season’s moved along — a lack of creativity where the deep ball is forced frequently — which means it’s taken steps back. Even a couple touchdowns today would be encouraging.
• Dealing with BYU up front: How will the Aggies protect quarterback Andrew Manley? This is a key for the team every game, and the Cougars certainly have the bodies up front the get after NMSU’s drop-back quarterback. BYU’s front-seven is its strength, namely a linebacking corps anchored by standout Kyle Van Noy. Expect the Cougars to attack the Aggies like most teams have this season — get after Manley up front while taking away the deep ball in the secondary. Thus far NMSU hasn’t been able to capitalize against such strategies.
• Aggies front-seven: How does this part of NMSU’s defense — the line and linebackers — match up against BYU’s offensive line? The Cougars will look to overpower the Aggies in the trenches during the contest. In truth, BYU doesn’t quite have the same big-play capabilities as some of NMSU’s past opponents this season (team’s such as Utah State, San Jose State and Louisiana Tech, for instance). What the Cougars are is physical, and they’ll simply look to wear NMSU down.
• An inspired effort: It’s been a depressing season across the board, but ending on a high note in the home finale would be good to see. If the Aggies simply go out, play hard and compete, this would qualify as marked as progress. If for nothing else, it would be nice for a senior class about to play their final game at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
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