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Recap: New Mexico State vs. ASU

The Aggies played inspired football but familiar mistakes kept them from pulling the upset.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Arizona State
Taylor Rogers played an amazing game but couldn’t quite lead the Aggies to victory.
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

Before we begin, can we take another moment to appreciate and respect the Catch of the Year. I don’t care if it’s only week 1, nobody will have a better catch than Jaleel Scott’s masterpiece! What’s even more impressive is that Scott says he lost the ball in the lights and “just stuck his hand up there.” He needs to lose balls more often if the result is this:

That’s a completion maroon shirt!

Okay, back to the game. The Aggies played in 108 degree weather but looked hotter than the weather at certain times during the game. At other times....they looked like they were being cooked. With the Aggies showing a lot of promise but also flashes of last season, I thought I’d break down both sides.

So let’s start with what the Aggies did well:

Pressure the Quarterback

Last year the Aggies had only 11 sacks throughout the entire season. Thursday night they had seven!

It looks as if the talent and the familiarity of the system has started to really show as the Aggies D was flying around and made quite a few tackles for loss, 13 to be exact.

Although the Sun Devils don’t have the best offensive line, they are still a P5, Pac-12 program. The Sun Belt now must respect this D and I’m a lot more optimistic about the defensive line after this first contest.

The linebackers also were all over the field and look to be as good as expected.

Passing the Football

It seemed like Tyler Rogers was on another level at times! He ended the game with 398 yards and three touchdowns, a pretty impressive performance to start his senior year.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Arizona State
Rogers to Scott. Hopefully we hear that connection a lot more this year!
Matt Kartozian-USA TODAY Sports

More importantly, Rogers was able to avoid pressure and extend plays with his legs, adding 33 yards and a touchdown on the ground. It seems clear to me that Rogers is motivated and really wants to make some noise in his final season.

Catching the Football

See top of article. Jaleel Scott’s Catch of the Year highlighted a night in which the ball was spread out and many receivers contributed to the Aggies 31 points and 549 total offensive yards!

10 different receivers had a reception, led by WR Anthony Muse and WR Jaleel Scott’s eight. Scott led the entire team with a stat line of 8 receptions, 149 yards and two touchdowns with a long of 38.

Look out New Mexico.

Now for the bad...

Streaks

The Aggies played a rough first quarter, an amazing second, a deflating third, and a much better fourth. Why the streaks?

It’s possible NMSU was nervous in the first which led to some turnovers and big plays. But what about the rest of the game?

The Aggies looked like two different teams in the second and fourth quarters when compared to the first and third. I’m kind of at a loss trying to explain it but this honestly has me worried more than anything else. Streaky teams are nothing to bet your money on. Personally, I can’t trust streaky teams so for my sake Aggies, please play like the second and fourth quarters all the time.

Interceptions

All of them looked ugly. It looked like some miscommunication resulted in the 49 yard interception return for ASU. Hopefully they can get that cleared up before the Rio Grande Rivalry September 9.

Penalties and Big Plays

Thursday’s game had the Aggies committing six penalties for 59 yards. That’s a lot. I’m not sure what will be done to clean that up but it will need to be looked at if the Aggies want to win any games.

More of a concern, however, is the number of big plays given up by the defense. This was the D’s Achilles’ heel last season and it was very concerning to see it happen more than once on Thursday. Hopefully that was just a result of the talent gap and not a season long theme...

Overall, though, the Aggies showed a lot of promise! What are your thoughts on the game NMSU fans? Let us know in the comments!