New Mexico State Aggies Top Idaho Vandals 17-10, Continue to Cling to Bowl Hopes

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.

2 thoughts on “New Mexico State Aggies Top Idaho Vandals 17-10, Continue to Cling to Bowl Hopes

  1. Unless Louisiana wins their game with Appalachian State, NM State with a win over South Alabama would be the fifth bowl eligible team in the SunBelt. Since the SunBelt has five bowl tie-ins, I believe they would receive an invitation from one of the five bowls without the need to be more appealing.

    Should the Cajuns pull out the upset, then appealing becomes the question. Can never be sure, but the Arizona Bowl has the fifth choice, and might be inclined to pick the team that is only 275 miles away, and hungry to see the first bowl game in the lifetime of much of the fan base.

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    1. yeah I misread the situation. ULL and NMSU are both win-and-in for a bowl game, regardless of what the other does. Sun Belt actually has 6 tie-ins with the Frisco Bowl this year.

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