Monday, October 7, 2013
Aggies ran out of Albuquerque by rival UNM
Saturday night's Aggie loss - a 66-17 dismantling at the University of New Mexico - was an embarrassing performance.
Simply put, the team played poorly on offense, terribly on defense, and continued the special teams breakdowns that have existed this season. In short, nothing went right for NMSU in Albuquerque.
On paper it was a bad matchup for the visitors. The Lobos came into the contest with a very effective - and unorthodox - rushing attack, ranked third in the nation with 324-yards-per game on the ground. The Aggies, in turn, were dead-last in the FBS in rush defense (giving up 300-yards-per game on the ground) and it showed. UNM wracked up an astounding 541 yards via the ground game on Saturday night, and the 66 points was a Lobo record in the Rio Grande rivalry.
It should be noted, such an output isn't necessarily out of the ordinary for the Lobos this season.
After all, the week before saw New Mexico rush for 497 yards on 59 carries against UNLV; and earlier this season, the team tallied 395 rushing yards on 57 carries against UTEP. So UNM running wild on an Aggie team that's had trouble stopping the run since spring and fall practices was, frankly, a fairly predictable scenario.
The difference is that, while the Lobos should continue scoring points in the Mountain West Conference, their defense can be had. UNLV, for instance, may have had trouble defending the UNM ground game, but the Rebels managed to put up 56 points in the contest (and won by 14).
And, while expecting the Aggies to score that many points was simply unrealistic - the team hasn't topped 21 in a single game this season - their 17-point showing wasn't nearly enough, and was a disappointment. For NMSU to have any shot in Saturday's game, putting up at least 30 points seemed necessary. And the reality was, after falling behind 21-0 in the first quarter, any hope at a comeback was essentially lost: the Lobos weren't going to be stopped (UNM scored on its first six possessions of the contest) meaning the Aggies would be in catchup mode, likely, the entire night.
Of course NMSU would eventually score, when a 13-play, 75-yard drive ended with an Adam Shapiro 4-yard run, slicing the deficit to 21-7. There was some hope.
But it was dashed when Carlos Wiggins returned the ensuing kickoff 100-plus yards for a UNM touchdown - a massive gap formed in the middle of the NMSU coverage unit as Wiggins took off, unthreatened, the other way.
From that point forward, the game was essentially over, with the Lobos taking a 42-14 lead into halftime and the Aggies never truly being in the contest.
Where does NMSU go from here?
For starters, the team needs to get a win or two this season. After their bye this weekend the Aggies have six games remaining on their 2013 schedule, and the best chances at victory - at least on paper - would seem to be home games against Abilene Christian (Oct. 26) and Idaho (Nov. 30). Other contests include home games against Rice (Oct. 19) and Boston College (Nov. 9), along with road affairs at Louisiana-Lafayette (Nov. 2) and Florida Atlantic (Nov. 23).
One can also expect more from freshman quarterback King Davis III in the second half of the season.
The team inserted Davis as its starting quarterback two weeks ago at UCLA, only to see him take a number of big hits, one of which caused a concussion.
NMSU head coach Doug Martin said he held Davis out this past weekend because of that injury (when asked if anything else was bothering Davis besides the concussion, Martin said no). In any event, the coaching staff clearly wants to see what the true freshman can do and has made it clear they haven't been thrilled with the club's offensive production to this point of the season.
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