A 48-3 win over WNMU
and a 28-16 loss to Oregon State.
That's how it stands for the 1-2 New Mexico State football team as it takes the week off from playing to prepare for rival New Mexico Sept. 27 in Albuquerque.
NMSU has shown the ability to move the ball at times, but hasn't finished many drives, which hurt them last week. On defense, the Aggies have shown the ability to force some turnovers, but also the tendency to let up just enough to give up some big plays and long drives.
Running back Eric Higgins played his first significant minutes last week against Oregon State and on defense, the Aggies have missed corner Cameron Wright, defensive lineman Jared Naylor and Traydell Bullock at one point or another .
And the schedule has been of a different variety each week. Texas was simply good for NMSU, while Western New Mexico was simply a tune-up and confidence builder for the Ags. Oregon State was more of a fair assessment of where the Ags are and coming out of that game, this much is obvious early on:
— The Aggies have got to execute on offense more consistently. NMSU blew several opportunities to make Saturday's game a closer one or even win, but poor execution doomed the Ags.
NMSU must pass the ball better. While the running game has had some big gains, the passing game hasn't been as effective as last year.
— The Aggies are still growing as a team. The talent level on the team is as good as it's been, but there is some inexperience, poor executing and injuries that are keeping the team from being as good as it could be in October and November. Case in point. The Aggies defense came out strong and finished strong against Oregon State, but in between Oregon State had its way with the defense and converted on several key third downs.
— Another case in point. The Ags convert a fake punt, the kick coverage was better and Dario Aguiniga nails a 53-yard field goal. But special teams also has a couple of bad penalties and Aguiniga misses a field goal.
The Aggies have to be able to maintain focus and consistency this season. The schedule is not necessarily in their favor. There is still a road game at New Mexico and three straight road games at one point in league play, which will be a huge obstacle simply because odds don't favor winning three straight road games.
In those games, the Aggies will have to execute and keep a solid foundation if they want to be playing for a Sun Belt title on Nov. 25 against North Texas.