Here is everything you need to know about this game:
New Mexico State quarterback Tyler Rogers went 19-for-29 for 302 yards and two touchdowns. Idaho quarterback Matt Linehan didn’t play the last 10 minutes or so of the game, and still finished 29-for-36 for 476 yards, 4 TDs and 1 INT
Not only was there that disparity, but Linehan’s back-to-back touchdown passes (of 19 and 78 yards) were book-ended by Rogers getting sacked three times in a span of seven dropbacks. Each of those occurrences would be enough to kill any momentum the Aggies had, but the two combined turned a 27-16 halftime deficit into what was then a 41-16 blowout.
Nick Jeanty came on late to toss a garbage-time touchdown bomb, but this was all Vandals all game, as Idaho now moves to 4-3 on the season. The Vandals are fast approaching a bowl berth, as their next game on the road against Appalachian State is the only one where they will definitely be the underdog.
It remains to be seen whether or not Linehan can build on a game like this, as he is notorious for being inconsistent, but this is the Idaho team we expected to see when we talked about the Vandals easily making it to six wins this season.
For New Mexico State, this is just another defensive letdown. They have yet to hold anyone to less than 30 points, and this is the third time in the last four games that they’ve surrendered at least 50 points (190 total). It might be time to reconsider whether bringing Frank Spaziani into the fold was the right choice, as things are unlikely to get better over the next couple of weeks against Georgia Southern and Texas A&M.
The offense has been erratic but shown signs of life; the problem now is that you can’t help but think that it doesn’t matter how much the offense improves because the defense is clearly a mess. I’m not sure what changes would be the right changes, but it may be too far along into the season to make any that are truly meaningful.