The Daily Aggie :: 09/23/16 :: A By The Numbers Look At The NMSU vs. Troy Matchup

We’re back to take another statistical deep dive as we look at this week’s matchup between the Aggies and the Troy Trojans. Despite being 1-2 on the season, the Aggies have plenty of positives heading into this week’s game against the Trojans. First and foremost the Aggies will see the return of Sun Belt Preseason Player of the Year Larry Rose III who will be making his 2016 debut. Second, the Aggies played well offensively in last week’s game at Kentucky. The Aggies held their own offensively, especially in the first half scoring 35 of their 42 points before the break. Meanwhile the Trojans are 2-1 on the season with an impressive win over Southern Miss on the road last weekend, a Southern Miss team which rallied to beat Kentucky in Lexington in week one. The Trojans also hung tough with Clemson eventually losing 30-24. With those results in mind, what can we tell about Troy? Are they as good as their 2-1 record would indicate or are they overrated and getting a little too much credit for a “close” loss at Clemson?

Troy ranks 39th overall on offense averaging 467 yards per game. They’re 24th overall rushing averaging 236.7 yards per game and 68th overall in passing averaging 230.3 yards per game which ranks just ahead of New Mexico State who is 69th in passing averaging 229.3 yards per game. The Aggies rank 85th in rushing at 154.7 yards per game.

Defensively Troy ranks 59th overall giving up 363 yards per game. They’re 48th overall in rushing defense allowing 124.3 yards per game and 80th overall in pass defense giving up 238.7 yards per game. The Aggies are 63rd in pass defense giving up 218.3 yards per game but 127th in rush defense allowing 297 yards per game. Overall the Aggies are the 120th ranked defense allowing 515.3 yards per game.

So as we did last week, let’s take a little deeper look at what those numbers represent.

When Troy has the ball on first down, they’re slightly more likely to run than pass. They’ve run the ball 63 times for 433 yards while passing the ball 44 times (completing 30) for 322 yards. They’re averaging an excellent 7.05 yards per first down play which sets them up for a 2nd and short situations which really taxes the opposing defense. Where it gets interesting is on third down. Overall Troy is a horrendous third down team converting just 27 percent of their third downs. However, if you dig deeper into that number you’ll find that they’re actually a very respectable third down team when they’re faced with a short to intermediate third down (six yards or less to gain). They’ve converted 9 of 20 first downs in which they’ve had to gain six or fewer yards. Where they’re terrible is when the defense gets them into a third and long situation where they have to gain seven or more yards. In that scenario they’ve converted just TWO of their 24 third down situations. The key for the Aggie defense will be to force Troy in to third and long situation which will obviously be much easier if they can hold Troy under their first down gain average of just over seven yards.

How does that stack up against the Aggie defense? Well, New Mexico State is giving up 6.39 yards per play on first down. Teams have predominantly run against the Aggies on first down with good success — 82 rushes for 471 yards, an average of 5.74 yards per rush. Passing, the Aggies have allowed just 12-of-23 completions for 200 yards, however, eight of the 12 completions have gone for first downs. When the Aggies get teams to third down they haven’t been that successful getting off the field. Teams have converted 20 of 45 third down attempts. Teams are have converted 13 of 22 third downs where they’ve had to gain six or fewer yards but just seven of the 25 third downs where they had to gain seven or more yards, though with one caveat, teams have converted five of the eight third downs where they had to gain between seven and nine yards.

Defensively Troy is allowing opponents to gain an average of 5.18 yards on first down. Teams are 29-of-47 for 286 yards through the air on first down and have rushed 51 times for 222 yards. As you can see their three combined opponents have been pretty even in their run/pass play calling on first down and that should continue as the Aggies have had 98 first downs on offense and have thrown the ball 49 times and run the ball 49 times but more on that in a bit.

Troy has done a good job getting off the field on third downs. Opponents are converting just 28 percent of their third downs (not accounting for first downs gained via penalty). They’ve been good in third in short to intermediate (six yards or fewer) allowing just 11 of 29 third down conversions. They’ve been even better in third and long (seven or more yards) allowing just four of 24 third down conversions.

So what does that mean for the Aggies? Offensively on first down they’ve doing pretty well averaging 5.72 yards per play on first down. As we mentioned before it’s been dead even playcalling between passing and running on first down. The Aggies have thrown 49 ties, completing 26 for 370 yards with half of those completions going for first downs. They’ve run 49 times for 191 yards, just 3.89 yards per run. When the Aggies have been forced into a third down situation, they’ve done reasonably well converting 17 of 37 third downs. They’ve converted seven of 16 third downs where they had to gain six or fewer yards. They’ve also done relatively well on third and long (seven or more yards to gain) converting 10 of 21 times. They’ve been even better with between seven and nine yards to gain converting on seven of the 12 times they’ve faced that situation.

So what is the final takeaway from this deep dive? The Troy offense is potent on first down and they’ve converted well on third and intermediate to short. If the Aggie defense can force Troy in to third and long situations it will obviously help tremendously. Offensively if the Aggies can get into third and short situations it goes without saying that they should be successful. Troy has been at their best when forcing teams in to third and 7+ yard situations.

Obviously having Larry Rose III back will be a boost for the Aggie offense, though how effective he is remains to be seen and it would be unwise to expect Rose to be back to his pre-injury form right away. From what we’ve been able to gather, these injuries can take up to six months to fully heal and the last thing to come back is the side-to-side, lateral explosive movements which are something a running back like Larry Rose III depends on a lot in his game.

It should be a fairly evenly matched game, Troy at least on paper seems to have the upper hand defensively. We certainly don’t believe the Aggies will allow another massacre like they did last season. Despite Troy’s close loss to Clemson and their win over Southern Miss on the road, a deep dive into the numbers would indicate that the Aggies aren’t as overmatched as the 17 point underdog line would suggest.  Continue Reading This Post >>

NMSU Volleyball Survives Seattle Comeback Attempt, Opens WAC Play With 3-2 Win

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Once again, New Mexico State (10-4, 1-0 WAC) and Seattle U (7-7, 0-1 WAC) took five sets to determine a winner, with the Aggies coming out on top with a 25-16, 25-15, 23-25, 21-25, 15-13 decision, to start the Western Athletic Conference season.

"I liked our service pressure," said head coach Mike Jordan. "In the first couple of sets, we blocked well and got in their heads a little bit. They didn't look characteristic of themselves. I really expected this to be a close match. Then the 10-minute break happened, and it changes the momentum sometimes. We came out and got super high air. Their service pressure improved and started serving it tougher. They started taking better swings. It looked like the match had flipped. We went from looking the best we have this year, to looking like we did the first week of the season in the third and fourth sets. We started getting in our own heads, trying to hang on and hope they would make mistakes, instead of making plays. I tried to fire them up and I don't know if it worked or not, but we are happy to get a win."  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/20/16 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/20/16 The team was able to pick up three wins at the Brown Invitational. What did you think about your team’s play?
Mike Jordan: The competition wasn’t like it was the weekend before obviously when we played Arizona, Sac State and Texas A&M but they were able to do some things against us to create some issues against us. Binghamton in particular. They received it well and when you pass it well and you get good swing after good swing you’re going to stay in the game. They pushed us late into sets. We were high error throughout a lot of that match and that made it closer than it needed to be. I thought in the other two matches we were fairly efficient, especially the last one against Brown. We settled down and started making better choices and attack selection. With this group when we’ve been high error, it’s trying to do too much with what you have. Sometimes you just have to get dug. You’re not going to get a kill on a particular set. We have to learn that. We do it at times but you’ve got to be consistent with it. There are times you have to be more aggressive working the ball off the top of the block. When we we’re able to do that we’re pretty good. That Binghamton match you got out to a big lead in the first set but end up losing that set. After the big lead, the rest of that match was really competitive. The second and third sets you had to fight off a couple set points in both of those sets. What did you see from your kids that allowed them to do that?
MJ: Late in those sets are probably the only times, in two and three, that we weren’t high error. We were able to settle down and make some plays and fortunately they made a couple attack errors late in games. But I think the majority of that match we were high error we just happened to be low error when we needed to most and came away with the win.  Continue Reading This Post >>

NMSU Soccer Falls To Nevada 2-0

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. - The New Mexico State women’s soccer team played well for most of the match on Sunday, but a pair of miscues saw them drop a 2-0 decision to visiting Nevada at the NM State Soccer Complex.

“We started the game a little bit slow, but for about 60-70 minutes we played very, very well,” head coach Freddy Delgado said. “Unfortunately we made two costly errors that got us the two goals. We created about four chances that we should’ve scored on. We score those and it’s a different game.”

Both teams looked evenly matched midway through the first half as both goalies directed their defense accordingly. However, a turnover by the Aggies in the 28th minute saw Nevada’s Aless Abbuhl take advantage of an errant NM State pass just outside the box and sailed it over Ashley Martin’s head for the first goal of the game.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Aggies Hang Tough With Kentucky, Fall 62-42

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LEXINGTON, KY - After leading the majority of the first half and entering the locker room knotted 35-35, the NM State football team ultimately dropped a 62-42 decision to SEC opponent Kentucky on Saturday night in Commonwealth Stadium.

The Aggies (1-2) led the Wildcats (1-2) on four separate occasions before the home team pulled away in the second half. The first two Aggie touchdowns came from an interception by Jaden Wright and a fumble recovery by Izaiah Lottie. Overall, the Aggies secured three turnovers with two forced fumbles and an interception.

Tyler Rogers completed 16-of-33 passes for 246 yards and two touchdowns. This was his third 200-yard passing game of 2016 and the 13th of his career. In addition, the quarterback had a career-high 70 rushing yards and two touchdowns on 15 carries.  Continue Reading This Post >>

Aggie Volleyball Survives Binghamton, 3-1

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

PROVIDENCE, R.I. - For the second straight match, junior Jordan Abalos put up at least 20 kills and led New Mexico State (8-4) to a 23-25, 27-25, 26-24, 25-21 victory over Binghamton (5-7).

“We got pushed today,” said head coach Mike Jordan. “They were pretty good at exposing some of our weaknesses, and it took us too long to adjust. However, we played well at the end of sets and managed to score points, which is a big point of emphasis for us. Jordan [Abalos] has been playing really well the last couple of matches, and we have been relying on her a little bit. Tatyana [Battle] began to show more life offensively toward the end of the match, which is good. I like some of the things we are doing, but I would like to get more people involved offensively. We need to start blocking more balls as well.”  Continue Reading This Post >>

The Daily Aggie :: 09/15/16 :: A By The Numbers Look At The NMSU vs. Kentucky Matchup

As the Aggies head toward their game against Kentucky, what can we glean from the first two games that might point to what we can expect on Saturday in Lexington?

At 1-1 the Aggies head into this matchup with some confidence coming off their 32-31 victory over in-state rival New Mexico while things at Kentucky aren’t so rosy right now. The Wildcats are 0-2 and since leading Southern Miss 35-10 with about 56 seconds left in the second quarter, they’ve been outscored 79-7 over the last six quarters giving up 79 straight points from the end of the second quarter against Southern Miss until just under five minutes left in the fourth quarter against Florida when the Kentucky offense finally got back on the board with a touchdown.

A cursory look at the statistics show that the Wildcats are allowing 542 yards per game while the Aggies are giving up 427 yards per game. Offensively the Wildcats are averaging just 279 yards per game (95 rushing and 184 passing) while the Aggies are averaging slightly more at 326 yards per game (120.5 rushing and 205.5 passing). Let’s take a deeper look into those numbers and how they’re getting there.

When Kentucky has the ball, what can the Aggie defense expect? For one, if form holds, the Wildcats will run the ball on first down. Of their 45 first down play calls this season, 31 of them have been runs and they’re averaging a solid 5.0 yards per carry on those first down runs. When they have passed on first down, they’ve been pretty efficient, certainly more efficient than on any other down completing 64.3 percent of their passes for 171 yards.

Defensively teams have tried to run the ball against the Aggies on first down with relative success, 50 attempts for 4.94 yards per carry so based on Kentucky’s numbers that likely won’t change much. The Aggies have done a relatively good job on first down defending the pass as teams have completed just 6-of-15 attempts for 92 yards, though four of the six completions have gone for first downs.

Kentucky has been abysmal on third down converting just 5-of-21 third downs. Unfortunately for the Aggies, they’ve allowed teams to convert on 14-of-27 third down attempts and perhaps more alarmingly, they’re allowing an average of 9.55 rushing yards on third down and even worse yet, teams are averaging over 20 yards per carry when faced with a third down of 10 or more. Opposing teams have also converted on 4-of-7 third downs through the air when faced with a 3rd down of 10 or more yards. That being said, last week against UNM one of the Aggies’ keys to winning the game was their defense getting off the field. The Lobos were just 3-of-10 on third down.

So what can we expect out of the Kentucky offense in the game? Based on the first two games we would expect Kentucky to come out and try to run the ball against the Aggies in the first quarter, despite that going against what they have done in their first two games. The Aggies have given up 155 first quarter rushing yards with an average of 7.38 yards per carry. The Aggies have progressively gotten better defending the run as the game has gone on with averages of 4.07, 4.95 and 5.75 yards per carry in the subsequent quarters respectively. If you’re Kentucky, you probably want to get things going on the ground early before Frank Spaziani’s defense gets things figured out.

Will Kentucky try to test the Aggie secondary as UNM tried to do in last week’s game (effectively going against what they’re primarily built to do and that is run the option attack)? The Aggie defense has been the most vulnerable to the pass game in the second and third quarters giving up 132 yards and 97 yards respectively with all three of UTEP and UNM’s passing touchdowns coming in those two quarters. For Kentucky, their passing game has flourished in the first quarter with them throwing for 221 yards on 10-of-15 passing with three touchdowns and just one interception. In the second, third and fourth quarters however, there has been a dramatic decline with the Cats going just 9-of-24 for 147 yards, one touchdown and three interceptions.

What about the Aggie offense? Can NMSU take advantage of what has been so far a pretty leaky Wildcat defense? Through the first two games of the season it has become painfully obvious that the offense misses Larry Rose III and the impact he has on opposing defenses. The Aggies are averaging just 120.5 yards per game on the ground after averaging 180.5 last season. The Aggies clearly miss his 137.5 yards per game. They also miss his red zone running which is where he scored 10 of his 14 touchdowns last season.

For lack of a better description the Aggie offense has been underwhelming in the first halves of their two games this season — just 277 total yards and only one touchdown. Kentucky’s two opponents have found marginal success through the air in the first half against the Wildcats. Their two opponents threw for 345 yards and three touchdowns against UK in the two first halves but they also threw four interceptions, something that Tyler Rogers has thus far been able to avoid. Their two opponents have found relatively equal success against Kentucky on the ground in both halves rushing for 238 yards and two touchdowns on 56 attempts in the first halves and 268 yards and three touchdowns on 62 attempts in the second halves. This could be good news for the Aggie ground game as they’ve been pretty consistent in both halves running the ball with 127 yards on 28 carries (but no touchdowns) in the first halves of their two games and 114 yards on 37 carries but three scores in the second halves of their two games.

The passing game from a statistical perspective has come alive in the second half for NMSU having thrown for 261 yards and a touchdown on 23-of-40 passing from Rogers and have found the most success throwing the ball from their own 20 to the opponents 40 yard line accounting for 248 of the Aggies’ 411 total passing yards. Again, the Aggies miss Larry Rose III’s running in the red zone as Rogers has completed just 5-of-13 of his passes inside the red zone but both of his touchdown throws have come from that area of the field.

Also, the Wildcats have been not that great on third down defense allowing their two opponents to convert 23-of-37 third downs (62 percent) including 7-of-9 third downs where the opponent had to gain between seven and nine yards for the first down and called a pass play. Good news for the Aggies? They’re 4-for-4 in that exact situation.

So what do we expect the Aggies to do on offense? Well, Coach Martin has repeatedly said he wants to throw the ball to open up the run game (which we suspect would be reversed were Larry Rose III healthy and playing). The problem is that so far that hasn’t worked out too well for the Aggies. The Aggies have just 150 passing yards in four first half quarters and just 127 rushing yards in those same quarters. The Aggies have not been successful running the ball on first down averaging just 2.63 yards per carry but they’ve also been average throwing the ball on first down completing 17-of-33 attempts and just seven first downs. That means that 43 of the Aggies’ 60 first down plays have resulted in them facing a second down of over seven yards and 16 of those have been 2nd and 10 which has led the Aggies to face 17 third downs where they needed to gain seven or more yards for the first down. They have successfully converted just five of those third down situations. Regardless of Kentucky’s porous third and long defense, the Aggies simply can’t put themselves in third and long situations against Kentucky.

So what should the Aggies do? This is a tough one for NMSU. They clearly want and/or have to throw the ball because their run game just isn’t what it would be with Rose. However, Southern Miss and Florida both took the opposite approach running the ball 118 times combined for 506 yards. In fact, the two teams must have had similar strategies because the rushing attempts by the two through all four quarters is surprisingly consistent — 28 attempts in the first quarter, 28 in the second quarter, 32 in the third and 30 in the fourth with similar rushing totals by each quarter, 107, 131, 126 and 142 respectively. Regardless of how it gets done, whether through a pass first approach or a run first approach, if the Aggies are going to have any shot at an upset they’re going to have to be able to run the ball and they’re going to have to do it much more effectively than they did in the first two games.  Continue Reading This Post >>

NMSU Men's Basketball Releases 2016-17 Schedule

Written By: NM State Athletic Dept.

LAS CRUCES, N.M. – New Mexico State head men's basketball coach Paul Weir unveiled the 2016-17 @AggieArmy schedule on Wednesday that features 17 home games while also returning to the Santa Ana Star Center in Rio Rancho, N.M. to play Northern New Mexico.

Aggie fans will get their first look at the team under the direction of the first year head coach at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 11 at the Pan American Center when NM State entertains Arizona Christian in its home and season opener.

NM State faces its first test on the road when it travels to Ft. Collins, Colo., to square off against Colorado State on ROOT Sports Network. The Rams went 18-16 last season and 12-5 when playing at Moby Arena.  Continue Reading This Post >> Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/14/16 Weekly Coach Jordan Interview :: 09/14/16 What did your team learn about itself from this past weekend’s matches against Sacramento State, Texas A&M and Arizona?
Mike Jordan: Well, I think we learned some good and some bad. I think the negative is that when we’re struggling, we don’t seem to have emotional leadership right now. I think we get along fine but there’s got to be a stronger voice or two out on that floor demanding the ball, pointing people in the right direction, holding people accountable, etc. The people that did that last year graduated and we’re still struggling to find that in this group. We see it in practices in some instances, not enough. But to do it in a game you’ve got to go outside yourself and be willing to help others. We’ve got to take care of that and pretty quick. We’ve got a couple of people on our team that just need to grow up into that role and take advantage of those opportunities. From that standpoint we’ve got some growing to do. We’ve got a couple of rotations that need work. We’re struggling in two of them in particular that we’ve got to find another way out or two of those rotations. All-in-all, we out pass and and out dig our opponents the vast majority of the time which is great. Since the second weekend we’ve been outserving our opponents fairly consistently and so I like the growth there. We’re figuring out who can do what on the floor and experimenting with some lineups still but we’re getting closer to being a little more settled I think.  Continue Reading This Post >>