It's the first full weekend of Aggie sports with all of the fall sports teams in action. The Aggie football team opened the 2012 schedule with a 49-19 victory over Sacramento State. There were some good things and some not so good things from last night's victory. We'll start with the good. First, it's a win and as Aggie fans know, you can't really argue with a 'W'.
Second, Andrew Manley and the wide receiving group looked outstanding. Yes it came against an FCS secondary, however, as we pointed out yesterday three of the players in the rotation were former BCS conference players who transferred to Sacramento State. Austin Franklin looks to be poised for perhaps a record-setting season. He finished the game with eight catches for 236 yards and two touchdowns. He caught touchdown passes of 84 and 52 yards. Jerrel Brown also looked good, he's a player that Teddy Feinberg from the Sun-News has been all over during the offseason camp and he did not disappoint. He caught two passes for 59 yards but one of the two receptions was a 50 yard touchdown pass.
Andrew Manley looked like the Andrew Manley we saw against Minnesota last year. Good decision making (save for one throw in the fourth quarter deep in their own end on a third down), he looked comfortable in the pocket and he showed tremendous patience even during the times when the pocket collapsed on him, he stayed in and made throws.
Punter Cayle Chapman-Brown gave the Aggies a very strong performance. He punted six times and averaged 50.5 yards per punt. That's a huge, huge advantage over last year when the team averaged 39.4 yards per punt. Field position is key in football and if Chapman-Brown punts like that all season it will no doubt pay off for the Aggies.
Trashaun Nixon, Davis Cazares, Bryan Bonilla and Donte Savage were the stars on defense. Nixon was literally everywhere and finished with a game-high 15 tackles, six of them solo and two of them for a loss. Bonilla had 11 tackles and delivered the hit of the game when he introduced Sac State quarterback Garrett Safron to the Aggie Memorial Stadium turf late in the second quarter. Cazares also heard his named called a lot. He finished with 10 tackles. Donte Savage's return to the field was also successful. Savage blocked an extra point and forced a fumble. Both were big plays in the game. The blocked extra point kept the game from becoming a one possession affair (28-19 versus 28-20) and his forced fumble effectively sealed the game as the Aggies would score a touchdown four plays later to go up 42-19.
Despite the good there were some disappointments in the game. The defensive secondary got burned, a lot. Safron threw for 308 yards and two touchdowns and the Hornets found something in the Aggies' defense midway through the second quarter and exploited it for much of the next quarter and a half. The Aggie secondary will need to get much better in a hurry as they'll face an Ohio quarterback in Tyler Tettleton who threw for over 3300 yards and ran for 916.
The Aggie offensive line was good in pass protection for the entire first half giving but started to break down a little in the second half. Where the offensive line was not good was in the run game. Yes, the Aggies finished with just over 100 yards rushing and yes the Aggies did score four touchdowns on the ground, however, the ground game was nearly non-existent for much of the game. As Andrew Manley aptly stated in the postgame press conference, the Aggies simply cannot throw the ball on every down. There has to be an effective run game and with the competition level about to jump several notches it has to be a major concern.
The middle of the game was not great for the Aggie defense who played well for most of the first half and all of the fourth quarter. However, they simply could not stop Sacramento State late in the second quarter through the start of the fourth quarter. The Hornets erased a 25-point deficit and cut it to nine. At the end of the day the Aggie defense did respond and forced three turnovers late to put the game on ice but that middle stretch is a bit concerning.
All-in-all a win is a win and beating an FCS team is much better than losing to an FCS team (just ask Idaho and Middle Tennessee).
The Aggie volleyball team opens up their home slate tonight at 7:00 p.m. (MDT) as they take on the Cincinnati Bearcats as part of the Aggies' home tournament. The Aggies will face also Drake and Northwestern but tonight's match might be the marquee match of the tournament (with the Aggies' match against Northwestern and the Cincinnati/Northwestern matches coming in a close second).
The Aggies looked dominant at times during last week's tournament at Northern Illinois but they also looked vulnerable at times losing a couple of sets during the weekend by wide margins and also needing massive comebacks in two other sets.
It should be an outstanding tournament and we're looking forward to seeing the Aggies continue to build on their first weekend success.
Tonight's match will not be aired on the radio, however, both matches tomorrow night are scheduled to be on KSNM AM 570 (and streamed online via Aggie Access -- subscription required).
The Aggie soccer team is back in action as they're in Riverside, Calif. for a tournament hosted by UC-Riverside. The Aggies will face UC-Riverside and Southern Utah this weekend. The Aggies are 0-2-0 on the young season and are still searching for their first goal of the season. The Aggies have nearly two weeks off since their last game and have no doubt been working hard on their pace and also on their shotmaking.
We feel that it's important for the team to pick up at least one victory this weekend from a confidence standpoint. This is a team that felt slighted for being picked eighth in the WAC preseason coaches poll but as it stands right now they are just one of two teams in the WAC without a victory so far this season and they most certainly don't want to end their second weekend of competition winless.
Live Stats will be available for tonight's match against the Highlander and the match is scheduled to kick off at 8:00 p.m (MDT)
The Aggie cross country teams kick off their 2012 season in Albuquerque this weekend at the Lobo Invitational. The Aggie men and women are looking to build off their strong 2011 season where they both finished in second place at the WAC Championship meet. The Aggie men are seeking their first cross country conference championship while the women will be looking to return to the top of the podium where they stood in 2010. Individually on the women's side Courtney Schultz begins her quest for a fourth consecutive individual WAC title but will be pushed hard by her sister Camille and Idaho's Hannah Kiser.
The Lobo Invitational will be run on Saturday and will be run under the lights for the first time in the meet's history.
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