New Mexico State 7, Texas 56
I could very easily have chosen any number of games last year when the truly putrid Aggies got their doors blown off. I could have chosen the season finale against a middling Florida Atlantic team where 14 offensive drives resulted in 11 punts and a fumble. I could have chosen the game against New Mexico where they didn't stop the Lobos from scoring a touchdown until the opening drive of the second half. I even could have chosen the UCLA game, where the Aggies forced turnovers on the Bruins' first two drives and still managed to lose by 46 points in a game that was actually even less close than that.
But no, I am instead going with their season-opening loss to Texas, just for the sheer bewilderment of how the game went from competitive to over in the blink of an eye. It started off as a defensive battle - with only four minutes left in the first half, NMSU's first touchdown of the game provided them a 7-0 lead over Texas thanks to the defense holding David Ash to a mere 9-for-13 passing, for 62 yards and two interceptions, plus a fumble recovery.
That's right, three turnovers in their season opener on the road at Texas! But you would be right to go "dude, this is New Mexico State. When did the other shoe drop?" The answer was "very soon," as Ash's next seven passes were all completions totaling 242 yards and three touchdowns. Tack on two other rushing touchdowns (one of which was a 55-yarder by Ash) and suddenly it was 35-7 Texas with an entire quarter and a half of football still to be played.
It probably didn't help that the Aggies only crossed midfield twice the rest of the game, and those two drives resulted in an interception at the Texas 21 yard line and a fumble on 4th and 2 from the Longhorn 35 yard line. Though this really was an adequate representation of the entire NMSU season, with the whole "hey, they might have a cha... nope, there's the real Aggies" scenario playing out on a weekly basis.
South Florida 21, McNeese State 53
We aren't going to be covering South Florida football here at Underdog Dynasty - we've already got the beasts over at Voodoo Five for that. However, in fairness of spreading the wealth around to each conference and drawing attention where it is due, we give you the opening-week cherry on the awful season that was Bulls football. Sure, they had their moments - they almost defeated UCF at the end of the year, and they damn sure played better against Louisville than Florida International did. But this one was just fifty shades of ugly.
I understand that it's not just any FCS football team they lost to - McNeese State flirted with a top-five ranking all season before finishing 11th. That said, there is also a difference between losing to an FCS team and absolutely getting your doors blown off by an FCS team that almost lost to a DII squad two weeks later.
Things started out well enough, with Marcus Shaw sprinting down the field for an 80-yard rushing touchdown on the Bulls' opening play from scrimmage. Things quickly devolved though, as evidenced by the fact that USF's first play of the second quarter was a fumble by Shaw that McNeese turned into a touchdown two plays later. That was book-ended by the last play of the half, an interception that was returned for a touchdown, and suddenly South Florida was staring up at a 33-7 halftime deficit.
However, QB Matt Floyd was not done yet. After his last pass attempt of the first half becoming a pick-six, his first attempt of the second half was also intercepted, setting up another quick score and finally relegating him to the bench for Bobby Eveld. FLoyd's replacement eventually went on a nice little 9-for-13 passing streak that netted 131 yards and two scores, but it was far too little too late for an embarrassed Bulls team that could easily have lost by more.
Stay tuned for one more installment of the worst, where we jump ahead a few weeks to a few more teams who wish they could erase a game from 2013.