The Daily Aggie :: 08/29/14

It's our first Daily Aggie post of the 2014-15 season (and hopefully we'll get back to blogging a little more frequently). Before we begin, some shameless self-promotion, be sure to check out our 2014 Aggie Football Preview and 2014 Aggie Volleyball Preview. The Aggie volleyball team opens their season today when they play Missouri State from the Missouri Valley Conference as part of the Utah Classic in Salt Lake City. The Aggies will continue play tomorrow as well when they take on Montana State and Utah.

The Aggie football team opened up the 2014 season last night with a 28-10 victory over Cal Poly. Here are a few thoughts on the team's debut. Number one, the Aggie defense was much improved over last year's disaster. There were far fewer missed tackles and missed assignments, players for the most part looked in position to make a play and overall the defense looked a bit faster to the ball. The performance wasn't without its issues, the Aggies had a bit of trouble all night long with the pitch on the option play and they also gave up a couple of big quarterback runs but that's bound to happen when you're playing an option team and in particular when you're a young defense playing an option team. One thing to keep in mind about the performance last night was that the Aggies really didn't have to defend the pass at all. Cal Poly attempted just seven passes for a grand total of six yards and Cal Poly's lone attempt to get the ball down the field through the air was an absolutely awful decision. At that point in the game the Aggie defense had not shown the ability to stop the option and the Mustangs were in the midst of putting together what would have likely been at least a field goal scoring drive, if not a touchdown scoring drive. That was probably the turning point in the game because the Aggies were able to turn that turnover into a touchdown and take the lead for good. The best defensive play of the game came on third and 2 early in the fourth quarter. The Mustangs had started a drive at their own 11 and had gotten it to their 40 yard line. The Aggie defense strung the option play out to the sideline and Kawe Johnson blew up the Chris Nicholls on the pitch for a loss of three yards. The Aggies scored a touchdown on the next drive and effectively sealed the game, going up by 18 points. The Aggie defense also forced another turnover early in the second half just one play after the Aggie offense had turned it over and once again the Aggies capitalized and turned it into seven points going ahead 21-10.

On offense, it was all about freshman running back Larry Rose III. The coaches have been raving about Rose all preseason and it's easy to see why. Despite being a smaller back, Rose runs with surprising power. That combined with his shiftiness and ability to make people miss on tackles, it's clear that Rose has a bright future at New Mexico State. One small caveat again, Rose's performance comes against a lower division opponent (Cal Poly is a Football Championship Subdivision team while the Aggies are a Football Bowl Subdivision team) so it makes it a little harder to gauge how much of the performance is the competition and how much of that performance is Rose, we suspect the largely the latter. One other aside to Rose's performance, the offensive line looked good last night. The group is the Aggies' most experienced and potentially the deepest returning unit and they looked like it last night.

Tyler Rogers looked pretty good in his first game as an FBS quarterback going 18-of-27 with two touchdowns and an interception. Obviously we didn't get to see the full arsenal of Tyler Rogers and the game plan seemed to be fairly vanilla, perhaps because it was Rogers' first game. The Aggies were definitely run heavy last night. The team ran 74 plays, 47 of them were run plays (just over 64 percent). It's unlikely that we'll see that kind of disparity in the play calling the rest of the season, unless of course Rose continues to run for five yards per carry, then we could very well see a 65/35 run/pass split.

The much heralded freshman wide receivers Greg Hogan and Teldrick Morgan were largely quiet on Thursday night. Hogan caught one pass for 25 yards, Morgan caught the Aggies' one pass down the field, a 30-yard completion. We'll undoubtedly see more from these two in week two than we saw in week one.

The special teams were unspectacular, though they avoided being the disaster that we were accustomed to seeing last year. The Aggies didn't do much on punt returns returning four punts for a an average four yards per punt return. The kickoffs were equally average though the sample size was small, just two kickoff returns for an average of 13.5 yards. We doubt the coaching staff has too much issue with having just two kickoff returns. If Aggie opponents continue to average just two kickoffs per game (highly unlikely for obvious reasons) it won't matter too much what the kick returners average because the Aggies will be winning most of those games.

All-in-all the performance was a solid B-. There were certainly players that stood out, Larry Rose III, Derek Ibekwe and Rodney Butler on defense all immediately come to mind. There's still work to do offensively, Having only 118 yards passing isn't going to win the Aggies many football games this season and the passing game will have to be more of a factor, in particular the aforementioned Greg Hogan and Teldrick Morgan. Defensively, while it was an improvement over last year, the Aggies were also playing an incredibly one-dimensional team (again, just seven pass attempts by Cal Poly). The true test will come against a more balanced offense, similar to what they'll see in the upcoming game against Georgia State who rolled up 566 yards of total offense in their season opening win against Abilene Christian. The punt return game still needs to get better. Last season the Aggies' average 6.1 yards per punt return so after just one game, the Aggies are below last year's average which was below average.

It's said that the biggest improvement that a team will make is between week one and week two. We'll see what improvements the Aggies can make next week when they travel to Georgia State.

Check out the highlight video from last night's win after the jump:  Continue Reading This Post >>

Aggie Football Opens 2014 With 28-10 Victory Over Cal Poly

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – The New Mexico State football team began the 2014 season with a nice win defeating the Cal Poly Mustangs, 28-10 its home opener Thursday night in front of 13,772 fans inside Aggie Memorial Stadium.

The Aggies gained 315 total yards while allowing Cal Poly 265 yards. Sophomore quarterback Tyler Rogers looked comfortable in the pocket during his first start, going 18-of-27 for 118 yards, two touchdown throws and one interception. The NM State ground attack also looked in midseason form as the Aggies almost rushed for 200 total yards, finishing with 197 yards on the ground.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Aggie Soccer Falls 5-0 At UTEP

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

EL PASO, TX - New Mexico State couldn’t overcome UTEP’s lightning-quick start and fell, 5-0, Wednesday evening in the first episode of The Battle of I-10 for the 2014-15 sports calendar.

UTEP improves to 2-0-1 and NM State falls to 0-3-0 on the season.

It didn’t take long for the Miners to find the back of the net. At 1:09 in the first half Aleah Davis scored on a header and two minutes later Hannah Nicholson found pay dirt and the Miners opened up a 2-0 lead.

UTEP scored goals at 21:37 and 26:48 and went into halftime with a comfortable 4-0 advantage.

However, five minutes into the second half the game was delayed for 50 minutes due to lightning.

Despite not tallying a goal, the Aggies pressured the Miners in the second stanza with six shots on goal.  Continue Reading This Post >>

bleedCrimson.net Weekly Coach Martin Interview :: 08/26/14

bleedCrimson.net: Your thoughts on the start of the season?
Doug Martin: There’s just a lot of excitement going on here right now for us with the new conference, the new field, we just practiced on it for the first time today and the players just loved that. We’ve got a lot of great things going on. New weight room, new field, new conference. It just feels like a rebirth for us.

bc.net: There’s been a lot talk about the new field, you mentioned that you were able to get out there and practice on it for the first time. What does the new playing surface bring to the table?
DM: There are a couple things, first i think just the wear and tear of the grass. Everyone knows that by the end of the year, the last couple of games our field would be really worn out and we weren’t able to use it. We weren’t able to practice on it, you weren’t able to use it for any other events. I think that’s the biggest thing. Now we have a surface that can be used as much as we want, we can practice out there any time we want, we can have other events in the community out there that get the community and students involved in our football program. Not to mention the recruiting aspect of it. We’re already hearing great things from the recruits who have seen pictures of it and things like that. All-in-all it’s just a much more usable and player friendly surface.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Aggie Softball Signs Local Star And Hawai’i Standout

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - New Mexico State head softball coach Kathy Rodolph announced Monday the signing of Lucy Mendoza and Nue Sivia to the Aggie softball squad. The pair begins their freshman campaign during the 2014-15 season.

One of the names might sound familiar to softball fans in the Las Cruces area as Mendoza was a key member of the Onate High School softball team that came within one inning of winning the New Mexico state championship in May.

Mendoza was an all-district and all-state shortstop for the Knights last season, helping Onate to a 30-4 record. Onate was ranked No. 2 in New Mexico throughout the season and lost to top-ranked Rio Rancho in the state championship game in extra innings.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Aggie Soccer Drops Home Opener To Texas State 2-1

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Senior Jennae Cambra scored her second goal of the season, but it wasn’t enough as Texas State squeaked past New Mexico State, 2-1, Sunday afternoon at the Soccer Athletic Complex.

It didn’t take long for the Bobcats (1-0-1) to find the back of the net. Less than three minutes into the first half Maddie Nichols fired a high-arching shot from 30 yards out that found its way past Tayler Hammack to give TSU a 1-0 advantage.

“It’s always tough to give up an early goal,” NM State head coach Freddy Delgado said. “Besides the opening minutes of the game I thought we played well.”

The Aggies found pay dirt moments into the second half when Cambra received a beautiful pass from Holly Abdelkader and headed it home to tie it at 1-1.

However, 10 minutes later Kassi Hormuth took advantage of a rebound right in front of the net and booted it home to give TSU a lead it wouldn’t relinquish.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Current And Former Aggie Volleyball Players Play Spirited Five Set Match

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The two-time defending Western Athletic Conference volleyball champions got back on the court for the first time this season on Saturday as the New Mexico State volleyball team played its annual Alumni Match inside the Pan American Center.

The current Aggies beat a feisty alumni team in five sets, 19-25, 25-22, 27-25, 23-25, 15-10. Among the former NM State greats playing for the alumni team was 2013 WAC Player of the Year Desiree Scott and Aggie all-time kills leader and former All-American Stevi (Adams) Maytubby.

“We saw a lot of good things, a little messy at times, but that happens in these types of matches,” Aggie head coach Mike Jordan said. “We played a lot of different lineups and everybody got a chance to play. Some players improved their stock, others struggled a little bit.”  Continue Reading This Post >>

New Mexico State Soccer Falls 3-1 To Loyola Marymount In Season Opener

LOS ANGELES, CA - The New Mexico State women's soccer team kicked off the 2014 campaign in Los Angeles, Calif. on Friday night falling 3-1 to the Loyola Marymount Lions. Senior forward Jennae Cambra scored the Aggies' first goal of the season in the 15th minute of play by putting a head into the back of the net off an assist from fellow senior forward Layla Todd. The Aggies' lead held up until the 35th minute of play when LMU redshirt freshman Sydney Zuccolotto scored the equalizer.

The teams would go into halftime tied at one goal apiece but goals from LMU junior Callie Taylor in the 59th minute and true freshman Jill Farley in the 60th minute would give the Lions the lead for good.

Aggie freshman Holly Abdelkader would put a header on frame in the 63rd minute but the shot was saved by LMU goal keeper Sophia Leksan, one of two saves on the night for the sophomore. The Aggie offense mustered just six shots on the evening, three of them on goal while LMU peppered the Aggies with 18 shots, nine of which were on frame. Aggie goal keeper Taylor Hammack recorded five saves but allowed the three goals. The Aggies were able to generate just two corner kicks while they allowed 11 by LMU.

New Mexico State returns to action on Sunday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. when they open up the home slate with a game against former WAC member Texas State. The Aggies are 0-1-0 all time against Texas State losing 3-0 in the lone meeting in 2012.

NOTES:

  • Cambrae's goal is the ninth of her career and moves her into fourth place alone on the career goals list, one short of Crystal Burns (10) and two shy of current fellow teammate Layla Todd (12). Yolanda McMillion tops the list with 15 career goals.
  • The Aggies are now 1-4-1 all time in season openers and 0-5 in true road openers.


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