It's rivalry week! The Aggie football and soccer teams both face UTEP this week in the annual renewal of the Battle of I-10. For the soccer team perhaps the third time will be the charm for a couple of different reasons. First, it will be the Aggie soccer team's third home game in their new stadium and they'll be looking for their first victory and what better way to notch it than over the rival Miners. Second, it will officially be the third meeting between these two schools. If you recall, the second meeting between the two clubs was affected by a torrential downpour at halftime and due to the long weather delay, was never restarted and thus did not count as an official match.
The UTEP match begins the final stretch of non-conference matches and is a brutally difficult 11 day stretch that will see them play UTEP at home and then Montana, New Mexico and Texas Tech on the road before opening up conference play. The combined record of the four teams is 18-12-1. If you include the first conference game against Utah State, the Aggies' next five opponents are 23-13-3. A tough stretch indeed.
For the Aggie football team this is the stretch of games that if they're going to make a run at a bowl game, this next four game stretch is where the winning needs to begin. The Aggies' next four sets up as follows: at UTEP, home to New Mexico, home to UT San Antonio and at Idaho. The Aggies need to go at least 3-1 during that stretch if they hope to go bowling this season because following those four games is a stretch of five that includes: Utah State, Louisiana Tech, Auburn, San Jose State and BYU. At this point, while we're hopeful, it's a bit unrealistic to expect that the Aggies would emerge from that five game stretch with more wins than losses which makes it even more important that the Aggies make the most of the next four opportunities.
So what to make of this weekend's game against UTEP in the Sun Bowl? One thing is for sure, this might be the Miners' best team in a while. Even though they're 0-2, they've shown incredibly well against the two BCS opponents they faced. After three quarters the Miners trailed Oklahoma 10-7 and after three quarters the Miners trailed Ole Miss 21-10.
One thing we don't know is what to expect from the UTEP offense. Against OU the Miners threw for just 48 yards but they ran for 207. However, against Ole Miss the script was flipped and the Miners ran for just 37 yards but threw for 274.
And for the Aggies, can they put together a complete game? Against Sacramento State they looked great for three quarters (first, second and fourth) but had a poor third quarter showing. Against Ohio they looked great for two, the first and second, but again had a poor third quarter showing. The team has now been outscored 33-9 in the third quarter this season. Clearly the Aggies have the firepower on offense to be in every game and win a lot of those games. The question now becomes, how do they sustain that for four full quarters? If they can find the answer to that question quickly then this next stretch of four games could be what propels them into a bowl game for the first time since 1960.
The Parkersburg News and Sentinel recaps the Aggies' loss to Ohio.
Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps the Aggies' loss.
Jim Ryan of The Post discusses Ohio's display of mental and physical toughness.
Nick Robbe of The Post recaps the Aggies' loss.
Wes Mayberry of the Athens News recaps the Aggies' loss.
UTEP AD Bob Stull pens a Battle of I-10 preview for El Paso Inc.
The CSU athletic website recaps the Aggies' loss.
The Coloradoan recaps the Aggies' loss to CSU.
Jason Groves of the Las Cruces Sun-News recaps the Aggies' loss to Weber State.
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