The Aggie football team notched perhaps their most impressive victory of the season on Saturday if only from a historical perspective. The Aggies were 0-17 against Fresno State heading into the game but as we noted in yesterday's post, this was a game that the Aggies felt they could win. A couple of keys for the game, holding Robbie Rouse to around his average he rushed for just 86 yards and two touchdowns and caught one touchdown pass but was outplayed by Kenny Turner who ran for 116 yards, three touchdowns and caught another touchdown. The other key was to match the Bulldogs' physicality and intensity and the Aggies did that.
Taveon Rogers had another breakout game with 412 all-purpose yards catching 10 passes for 166 yards and a touchdown and returning eight kickoffs for 246 yards including a kickoff return for a touchdown.
The Aggie secondary played decently but really made some key stops in the fourth quarter and the Aggies never gave up (although the same cannot be said for the Aggie fans who started filing out with just over four minutes left to play, the Aggies down by just four points and with all three timeouts remaining).
We do have to question Fresno State's playcalling because that really helped the Aggies' cause. Taking over on your own 24 with 4:24 left, a four point lead and a defense that hasn't been able to really stop you, the logical playcalling would have been to run the ball three times and at least make the Aggies burn timeouts. Instead, the Bulldogs went run, incomplete pass, incomplete pass and only took 1:16 off the clock not that we're complaining but that, as much as anything, is the reason the Aggies won the game last night. Even if Fresno State had gone three and out, they should have given the ball back to the Aggies with less than two minutes left to play and no timeouts. That's horrible clock management in our estimation.
But back to the Aggies. Early in the third quarter the Bulldogs scored back-to-back touchdowns and you could just feel the momentum shifting to Fresno State as they looked like they were getting ready to pull away, however, the Aggies mounted an 11-play, 68-yard drive and scored a touchdown to tie the game up. Fresno State then scored easily, one play-- Derek Carr to Jalen Saunders for a touchdown, and again it felt like the momentum might be slipping. Once again the Aggies put together a lengthy drive for a touchdown to tie the game up. That touchdown kept the Aggies in the game and despite going for, and failing on a fourth down deep in Fresno territory, the Aggies didn't give up, the defense mounted two big stands in the final four minutes and the Aggies pulled out the win.
At 4-6, the Aggies are still mathematically in the bowl eligibility picture. The Aggies need to win out to get there and face three stiff tests on the road at BYU and LA Tech before finishing up at home against Utah State who mounted their own epic comeback on Saturday (rallying from down 33-21 with eight minutes left to beat San Jose State).
BYU will be starting their backup quarterback, Jake Heaps, this week after starter Riley Nelson suffered a broken rib and collapsed lung in the Cougars' win over Idaho. Heaps has been somewhat inconsistent this season with five touchdown passes but seven interceptions.
We said at the outset that five wins would be a great season for the Aggies and if the Aggies continue to play well, they could certainly eclipse that number and if the cards fall right, they could do the unthinkable, become bowl eligible.
The Aggie men's basketball team opened up the 2011-12 season with an 89-75 victory over Northern Colorado. The Aggies used their superior size and athleticism to wear down the Bears but give Northern Colorado credit for hanging around for the better part of the game. The Aggies actually trailed by seven points in the second half but used a 19-6 run to take the lead and held the Bears at arms length the rest of the way.
Wendell McKines had 18 points and 10 rebounds for his first (of many) double-doubles this season. Christian Kabongo led the team with 20 points but also had eight turnovers. He scored half of his points from the free throw line as he showed he's still the Aggies' best penetrating guard.
The "twin towers" combo of Hamidu Rahman and Chili Nephawe combined for 12 points and 12 rebounds in the game which is probably what you'll see from the Aggies all year long. We'd expect the duo to average 15 points and between 12 and 15 rebounds per game.
Bandja Sy was the breakout player of the game with 13 point, all of them in the second half as he hit three big three pointers. He showed some promise shooting the three last season and if he continues to shoot the ball well, he could provide the designated three point shooter that the Aggies seem to lack right now.
The Aggies hustled throughout the game and again showed a sustained energy level that they didn't show last season. Part of that is due to the return of Wendell McKines but it's also likely due to having more depth. Nine players saw action yesterday with only Wendell (33) and Hernst (34) playing more than 26 minutes.
Up next the competition gets ratcheted up about 100 notches as the Aggies will face UNM on Wednesday night in a sold-out Pit. The Aggies will need to clean up a few things (careless turnovers being the main agenda item) before they take on the Lobos. The Aggies will also need to clean up their three point defense and do a little better job in their transition defense, two things that Northern Colorado exploited in the first half against the Aggies.
The Aggie volleyball team closed out the conference regular season with a 3-0 loss at No. 6 Hawai'i. The Wahine dominated the Aggies in the first two sets winning 25-15 and 25-11. The Aggies made some adjustments at intermission and came out and battled in the third set but fell 25-23.
The Aggies' loss combined with Idaho's win over Nevada means the Aggies will be the 3-seed in the WAC tournament which starts on Monday, November 21st. It's the first time since the first season the Aggies were in the WAC that they have not been among the top two seeds. The Aggies were the 3-seed that year as well and they also played San Jose State in the first round.
Should the Aggies win their first round match against SJSU (which we expect them to) they would face 2-seed Idaho. The two teams split the regular season series with each winning on their home floor.
On to today's links...
Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps the Aggies' victory.
The Sports Network recaps the Aggies' 48-45 victory.
The Fresno State athletic website recaps the Aggies' win.
Bryant-Jon Anteola of the Fresno Bee recaps the Aggies' win.
Robert Kuwada of the Fresno Bee has a postgame video interview with Derek Carr.
Robert Kuwada also has a blogs a few more notes on Fresno State's mood after the game.
Bryant-Jon Anteola ponders what happened on Fresno State's final drive.
Bryant-Jon Anteola also shares some observations from the field after the game.
Aggie Men's Basketball
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps the Aggies' win.
Jason Groves blogs more thoughts on the game.
The Associated Press recaps the Aggies' win.
Ann Miller of the Honolulu Star Advertiser recaps the Aggies' win.
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