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Three Things Learned From NM State’s 28-10 Loss to San Diego State

Spoiler alert: I eat crow.

NCAA Football: New Mexico State at Mississippi Matt Bush-USA TODAY Sports

The New Mexico State Aggies fell to the San Diego State Aztecs 28-10 in an entertaining late day non-conference battle last Saturday.

The Aggies’ dominated the first half, riding a great first half by Jonah Johnson and a surprisingly stingy defense to take a 10-0 lead into the break. It was NM State’s first shutout in a half since 2016!

The second half started ugly and stayed that way. The opening kickoff was kicked out of bounds and three plays later it was 10-7. Johnson would throw a interception, one of three on the day, on the next drive but the Aggies responded in kind. Unfortunately, the next drive would stall, SDSU would score making the game effectively over at that point.

So what can we take away from Saturday’s game? I’ll break it down.

1. This team needs time

I will be the first to admit that I may have been a little hard on the team last week. I thought this team was going to be the same old same but I didn’t think about the fact that this team hasn’t been together all that long.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 09 New Mexico State at Ole Miss
Can the Aggies come together with more time?
Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

With COVID protocols last year, this team didn’t really know each other and when they reached camp, they were just learning each others’ names (something pointed out by the CBS Sports Broadcast). That’s a tough spot to be in for any team.

The game last week was the first real action in almost two years. Even Alabama would struggle.

But the first half shows that these guys won’t quit. They are capable of coming together and playing well. I have to give them a lot of credit.

Let’s all just give them a few weeks to get together and things should get better. I hope!

2. Depth is a concern

Probably not something we learned prior to Saturday, but it bears mention.

There was a play in the first half in which Jonah Johnson lost his helmet and had to come out for a play. With Weston Eget out, Doug Martin didn’t feel like he had any options so he took a timeout to allow him to play. I know 3rd string QBs aren’t where you want to be but one play won’t hurt, right? Not wanting them to play at all says a lot, although it could be to save a redshirt year too, who knows?

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 09 New Mexico State at Ole Miss
What receiver will step up with Gicinto gone?
Photo by Michael Wade/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Wide receiver is another position that will be tested, as transfer Dominic Gicinto broke his arm and will be out for the year after a breakout game. Who will step up to take his place?

3. O’Maury Samuels may be underutilized all year

The big off-season pickup, Samuels came to Las Cruces from Michigan with a lot of hype. Clearly, he has the talent but so far he only has 15 rushes and 2 catches, averaging 4.2 yards per carry and 8.66 per catch.

I get that Martin wants to throw the ball but passing is much more effective if you run it at least somewhat consistently and we should be doing that with Samuels. Especially in an offense without a star.

*P.S. when we ran it with Huntley, we won six games.