Cal runs over improved NMSU

In front of a nationally televised ESPN audience at Aggie Memorial Stadium, Hal Mumme did what he was hired to do: He made football fun in Las Cruces.

It might have taken four games and the end result may have been a 41-13 loss, but the New Mexico State Aggies made good on a preseason promise Friday night: Make football fun in Las Cruces.

The 13th-ranked Cal Bears (4-0) and New Mexico State Aggies (0-4) combined for 937 total yards of offense in the 3 1/2 hour game. Cal's 5-foot-8 sophomore running back Justin Forsett did his best to steal the show with his 30 carries for 234 yards (fourth best in Cal history). But NMSU held its own, moving the chains with 22 first downs after averaging just 15 per game in three previous losses.

A first quarter kick returned 94 yards for a touchdown by true freshman speedster Chris Williams, the quick feet and playmaking ability of first-time starting quarterback Joey Vincent and Mumme's bold and arrogant coaching style kept fans' eyes glued on the field and not on the scoreboard

An example of the showman in Mumme came with 15 ticks left on the first-half clock when the first-year Aggie coach called three consecutive time outs and, with a huge grin on his face, watched as Cal's thoroughly iced kicker Tom Schneider pushed wide left a 40-yard field goal try. The half ended with a 27-10 Cal lead.

Aside from Mumme's energetic approach to Friday's game, the grit showed by fourth-year junior Joey Vincent under center was a breath of fresh air for an Aggie offense that, for the first time this season, seemed to find ways to keep drives alive rather than settling for punts.

Vincent finished the night 18-for-39 for 164 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions (he had a least four catchable balls dropped by Aggie receivers that would have meant more Aggie first downs). It was Vincent's 10 carries for 57 yards, however, that kept fans on their feet and was a welcome change of pace for a team that had given up far too many sacks in three games this season.

While Cal's defense had not allowed a 100-yard rusher in eight-straight games, Aggie sophomore Justine Buries finished the night with 20 carries for 107 yards (his second-straight 100-yard performance) and kept honest a Cal defense which would have preferred to play the pass all night.

Mumme would not allow NMSU players to speak with the media after the game.

In the first half, Cal sensation freshman receiver DeSean Jackson set the tone for the Golden Bears with seven catches for 107 yards, including a 41-yard deep touchdown reception that forced Aggie cornerbacks to give a 10- to 15-yard cushion the rest of the game so they wouldn't again get burned deep. That cushion led Cal quarterback Joe Ayoob to drop countless passes underneath the Aggie coverage. Ayoob ended the night 17-for-26 with 284 yards and a touchdown.

While Jackson's first-half score set up the Aggie secondary the rest of the night, his touchdown celebration drew a 15-yard excessive celebration penalty and set up William's 94-yards kick return touchdown. Cal place kicker David Lonie had booted each of his other first-half kickoffs into the end zone, not allowing an Aggie return.

Aggie senior receiver Paul Dombrowski was kept quiet much of the night, but that was likely due more to a chipped bone and torn cartilage in his right elbow suffered in last week's Lobo loss than anyone in the Cal secondary.

Freshman Aggie kicker Conor Foley booted a pair of field goals (28 yards, 32 yards) and missed two others.

The Aggies take to the road to Ruston, La., next week to start Western Athletic Conference action against Louisiana Tech


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