What a mess of a game.
I appreciate that a win is a win is a win, but I would really love to have one that’s much less stressful.
The New Mexico State Aggies started the game playing defense against Idaho’s second string quarterback, were facing the third-string quarterback by the second quarter, recorded eleven sacks, and needed every once of everything to pull out a one-score victory.
The Aggies jumped out to a hot start, and it showed all over the stat sheet. With 8:24 left in the first quarter, Nick Jeanty was 5-for-6 for 44 yards, Larry Rose has four carries for 29 yards and two touchdowns, and the Aggies had a 14-0 lead. The defense had already forced two turnovers and knocked Mason Petrino out of the game with a shoulder injury on their first sack of the game. Everything was everything.
The Aggies outgained Idaho 150-29 in the first quarter, and on the final play of the quarter they lined up to take a 17-0 lead, but had the kick blocked. They would only manage 66 yards of offense the entire second quarter, while the Vandals would turn a Jaleel Scott fumble into a touchdown three plays later on a blown coverage, and suddenly it was only 14-7 at halftime.
The second half was more of the same, as Jeanty spend most of the day vacillating between over-and under-throwing deep routes and tossing checkdowns into traffic – he completed 31 passes but for only 231 yards. The confounding part about it was that Idaho had a lot of success with very little pass rush (they didn’t record but maybe three sacks, but they were constantly getting to the quarterback with only three or four rushers), but most of Jeanty’s bad throws came when the pressure didn’t get to him.
The defensive pressure never let up, and while Colton Richardson had some moments for the Vandals, eventually the confusion over running the offense mounted and the pass protection broke down against an increasingly aggressive Aggie pass rush and the eleventh sack of the night (the second for Terrill Hanks) sealed the deal.
The Aggies are treading on thin ice as the number of bowl-eligible teams has now hit 78 (for 78 bowl slots) including guaranteed eligibility of the Utah-Colorado winner later tonight. That means that the Aggies will now need to win and be a more appealing choice for a bowl appearance than at least one other program in order to break their 57-year-old drought next Saturday.