Aggies Find a way to Win

This not a dream, nor is it the twilight zone, as your New Mexico State Aggies beat Troy University 22-18 in the Sun Belt Opener for both team and it was one of the best games I have ever had to watch.

It was a very exciting win for the Aggies this past Saturday. The Ags pulled the upset over Troy University, 22-18. As most of you know already, Troy beat Marshall and Missouri in it's first two games. The game was close throughout, the Aggies led most of the game then gave up the lead midway through the fourth quarter, but pulled it together and scored the game winning touchdown with two minutes left. The Aggie defense, which historically has been a weak point, came through in the clutch on two drives in the final two minutes. The defense forced and recovered a fumble and then denied a couple of hail mary passes in the last few seconds of the game. The Aggie special teams also came through early with a blocked a field goal attempt.

A couple of observations from the game: First of all, in the third quarter we had two drives stall out inside the 10 yard line. In the past, coach Tony Samuel would likely have gone for it on fourth down instead of kicking the field goal in at least one if not both of those situations. This year however, he kicked the field goal both times and both times we came away with three points. I think this shows a lot of maturity on his part as well as a lot of faith in the Aggie defense. Second, the Aggie offense seemed to come out flat in the fourth quarter but the Aggie defense kept us in the game. When was the last time you could say that? It's been a while. And finally, the punting game (which in previous seasons has been horrendous at best) was the best I've seen it since ever. We're finally able to play field position football because our punter can punt the ball farther than 30 yards.

This win was huge for a multitude of reasons. First, it was a much needed first win of the season. Second, it was a win over a good Troy team picked to finish ahead of the Aggies in the Sun Belt. Third, it will help build some confidence as three of the next four games are conference games and the next two games are rivalry games, home against UNM and at UTEP.

The good thing about the next two games is that there will be little chance of a letdown emotionally because both UNM and UTEP are two very emotionally charged games. The game we really need to worry about is against UL-Lafayette.

It's sandwiched between UTEP and North Texas and North Texas is our conference nemesis. They're the Oklahoma to our Texas. Fortunately, the UL-Lafayette game is a home game so hopefully Aggie fans will come out and support the Ags as they will definitely need it.

Hopefully this win over Troy will be the catalyst for a successful (winning) season, just as the conference opener against Idaho last year pretty much ended our 2003 season (a 35-31 2nd half collapse). We'll just have to wait and see.


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