Still stinging from Saturday night's loss to New Mexico? You're probably not the only one. In successive weekends the Aggies have lost back-to-back rivalry games for different reasons. Against UTEP it was a lack of... something, in the first quarter that led to a too-big-to-overcome 20-0 first quarter deficit. The Aggies trailed 27-0 before cutting it to 27-14 but eventually losing 41-28 in a game that was only close for a few moments in the third quarter before UTEP poured it on (they led 41-14 at one point).
Against New Mexico it was quite frankly an unmitigated disaster. The Aggies were supposed to be the better team. Maybe not decidedly better but certainly better than a team that is in its first year of rebuilding under a new head coach who took over for a coach who destroyed a once routinely bowl contending team. Going into the game we truly felt that if these two teams lined up against each other that all things being equal the Aggies would come out on top and that the Lobos would have to resort to trickery, smoke and mirrors if you will, to defeat the Aggies. Unfortunately we were wrong, really, really wrong.
The Lobos dominated the game on the ground. They did exactly what we said they would try to do and that's keep the clock running and shorten the game. Just how much did they shorten the game? The Aggies finished with just 10 drives in the game. Against Sacramento State and Ohio they had 14 drives. Against UTEP they had 13. Those are three and four extra chances to score that the Aggies did not have in this game. The Aggie defense also did themselves no favors. Poor tackling, something that has been a bugaboo the last two weekends, led to extra yardage and ultimately extra downs for the Lobos. If there's one thing the Aggie defense has done well the past two seasons it has been tackling but for whatever reason the Aggies have really struggled with that the last two games.
The main area where most, if not all, felt like the Aggies had an advantage was in the passing game. The Lobos hobbled into the game with a banged up secondary. The Aggies should have been licking their chops. Instead, there were less than a handful of shots taken deep at the secondary and most, if not all, were taken in obvious passing situations (i.e. throwing deep down the sideline to a double covered Austin Franklin on 3rd and 16).
The Aggie offense also did themselves no favors. Penalties and turnovers killed three promising drives, three drives that it looked like for all intents and purposes that the Aggies were going to score points on. In the end the Aggies are simply not good enough to overcome those kinds of mistakes even against a bad team like New Mexico.
The Aggies don't have time to cry over spilled milk either. This weekend UTSA comes to town riding a five game winning streak dating back to last season. They're 4-0 this season and will be riding high with confidence which is something that currently is lacking with this Aggie squad. The Aggies can ill afford to let the loss to UNM create a hangover effect because if they do, if they go into Saturday's game feeling sorry for themselves, they WILL get beat by the Roadrunners.
Adjustments need to be made on both sides of the ball. Right now the defense is just not aggressive at all. The Aggies appear to be just sitting back, content to give up small chunks of yards at a time. The problem is that those small chunks are adding up and teams are "dinking and dunking" their way down the field for scores. Offensively, the Aggies need to figure out what their identity is (HINT: it's not as a power running football team, not yet).
A couple final post mortem notes on this game. Game ball goes to punter Cayle Chapman-Brown who did his job on Saturday night. He constantly flipped the field position for the Aggies forcing UNM to start well into their side of the field. He had just about the only good performance in the game. Davis Cazares finished with 17 tackles but when your safety is leading the team in tackles, it means your defense isn't doing a good job of stopping the ball on first contact. But kudos to Cazares for producing 17 tackles.
As far as Coach Walker's decision to go for it on 4th down in the third quarter? We had not issue with it at the time and we still have no issue with it. The Aggies need to be aggressive and that was an aggressive call. Hopefully the playcalling on both offense and defense will follow suit and start getting more aggressive this week.
Jerry Briggs of the San Antonio Express-News takes an early look at this weekend's matchup.
Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News laments the Aggies' loss to UNM.
Will Weber of the Santa Fe New Mexico recaps the Aggies' loss.
Tommy Magelssen of the Lubbock Avalanche-Journal recaps the Aggies' loss to Texas Tech.
The Texas Tech athletic website recaps the Aggies' loss to Texas Tech.
The TCU athletic website recaps the Aggies' loss to TCU.
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