The Daily Aggie :: 09/16/07

Sorry for the late start but wow, what a big weekend for the Aggie volleyball and football teams. As my two colleagues Mel and Jason posted last night. Tis A Sweet Victory.

You know how ESPN sometimes comes up with goofy names for Saturdays during the football season, like Showdown Saturday or Separation Saturday? Well if I were to give yesterday a name, I think I'd call it Exorcism Saturday.

For the Aggie volleyball team, a 3-0 sweep of rival Nevada exorcised two year old demons. The volleyball team had not beaten Nevada in Reno since joining the WAC in 2005. As I mentioned in The Daily Aggie on Friday, there is some bad blood between the two schools, more so for the fans than the players and coaches I'm sure but make no mistake the bad blood does exist. However, consider that demon exorcised.

As for the Aggie football team. What can we say that hasn't already been said? The Aggies hadn't beaten the Miners since 2002, a 49-14 pasting of a hapless Miner team that would go on to finish the season 2-10 (I think). The Aggies and Miners didn't play in 2003 and in 2004, Tony Samuel's final season, the Aggies went down to El Paso and got thumped, 45-0. Enter Hal Mumme. Coach Mumme was brought in to rebuild (can you call it rebuilding when you've only had a handful of winning seasons?) the Aggie football program. In 2005, the Aggies lost their opener to UTEP, 34-17 in a game that wasn't nearly as close as the final score indicated. In 2005, the Aggies got down early, 21-0 before coming back to tie it up 31-31 late in the third quarter. They would go on to lose 44-38. The pattern indicated that the Aggies should eventually win a game against UTEP. It just so happened that it was this year.

Comparing the two rivalries, NMSU/UNM and NMSU/UTEP, even though we hate both UNM and UTEP, the rivalry against UTEP is just a little more heated, mostly because of proximity. The Miners have had a bit of success under Mike Price and of course Aggie fans in El Paso, Las Cruces and White Sands as well as Aggie players have to hear about it constantly. That's what makes this victory all that much sweeter. Fans and players don't have to endure another season full of trash talk from the Miners.

More importantly though, it signals another milestone in the Mumme project. Beating UTEP virtually assures NMSU that it will have a winning record heading into conference play. Next week the Aggies travel to Auburn. When Coach Mumme scheduled Auburn, he admitted to us that he did it because, Auburn has a tendency to struggle with it's opponents early in the season and they usually don't blow someone out. Well, there is no better evidence for that than this season. Auburn has now lost consecutive home games to South Florida and Mississippi State. If there was ever a time for the Aggies to notch a marquee win, it's now. If the Aggies can limit the run like they did against UNM and UTEP, they stand a very good chance. Auburn, unlike UNM and NMSU, does not have a very good passing game. In fact, in three games this season, Auburn quarterbacks have combined to throw for only 501 yards, only two touchdowns and SEVEN interceptions. That right there should be enough for Aggie fans to feel good about the team's chances next week.

But back to yesterday's game. As alumni and fans, The Daily Aggie is thrilled that for once, the other team's fans had to do the walk of shame back to their cars after the game.

Before we get into today's links, it's time for your daily reminder to cast your vote for Chase Holbrook in the Davey O'Brien fan voting.

On to the links...

Bret Bloomquist of the El Paso Times (what would a Daily Aggie rivalry week post be without Bret?) writes that not only did NMSU win the rivalry game, but they also provided future Miner opponents with the blueprint of how to attach the Miner defense. Conference USA, no need to thank us, we're only doing our job.

Bret also reports that half of the Miner running back tandem, Terrell Jackson, missed the entire game with an ankle injury suffered during the Miner drive that resulted in an interception.

Bill Knight writes that the Miners were done in by big plays. Sound familiar? Last week it was the Sun-News writers saying the same thing about the Aggies.

The Sports Network gives their recap of last night's game.

The Reno Gazette Journal has their writeup of NMSU sweep of the Nevada volleyball team.

Devin Scruggs and Karly Sipherd had some interesting comments for two players who were on the losing end of a 3-0 sweep.

"We were pretty pumped up," she (Scruggs) said. "We were so pumped up beating New Mexico State. We could have been more confident during the match."

"The good thing about conference play is we get another shot," Sipherd said. "They're beatable. We could have beat them in three. It's the attack errors and digging."

Those comments are about as amusing Rory Sabbatini and Woody Austin saying that Tiger is beatable (if you're not a golf enthusiast, then disregard).

Wouldn't you say that constitutes bulletin board material. If you doubted our words that the NMSU/Nevada volleyball rivalry was heated, there's some more proof.

Thomas Ranson of the Nevada Appeal has the rest of the story.

And finally, we leave you with a picture that should bring a smile to every Aggie fan's face. (Photo credit: Victor Calzada / El Paso Times). One Miner fan was quoted saying "If we lose this game, it will be a bad season. If we win, we'll be OK. Our whole season hinges on this game. It's make or break." Well Miner fans, I guess it's gonna be a bad season for you. Sorry (actually, not really).

We'll have our pictures up later this afternoon. Forgive us if there aren't as many pictures as usual, it's kind of hard to take pictures when you're screaming and yelling.

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