It's Gameday! The Aggies and Lobos tangle for the 104th time today at Aggie Memorial Stadium. The Aggies have won three in a row over their in-state rivals and are seeking their fourth consecutive victory. No coach in history has ever beaten the Lobos four straight times and no Aggie team has beaten the Lobos four straight time since the 1965-68 seasons.
Some quick research by Geoff Grammer at the Las Cruces Sun-News found that there have only been three instances where the Lobos have not won in four consecutive years. Two of the periods saw the Aggies beat the Lobos twice and tie the Lobos twice for 2-0-2 records while the '65-'68 run is the only four game win streak in the series for the Aggies.
This is really a game that the Aggies hold the advantage in, one of perhaps only three games this season in which we can say that with confidence. The Aggies really hold a big advantage in the passing game where the Aggies should do most of their damage. The UNM secondary comes into the game a little banged up with three players questionable for today's game. Teams are averaging 301 yards per game through the air and teams are completing 68 percent of their pass attempts this season. We all know that the Aggies' bread and butter is their passing game and in particular their deep passing game.
As much as we've harped on the Aggies' lack of run game this season for the Aggies, this is a game where the Aggies should pass it deep and often to test the UNM secondary.
The one big area of concern for the Aggies on defense is UNM's run game. The Lobos run a triple-option and are averaging just over 200 yards per game on the ground. The Aggies have really struggled to stop the opponents' rushing attack this season (and struggled in both passing and rushing defense last week).
If the Aggies can jump out to a quick lead like they did last year they will win this game and do it handily. UNM is not a team that is built to come back from deficits, much like the Aggies.
One thing the Aggies cannot do is allow UNM to hang around into the second half of the game. The one thing the Aggies did well in game one against Sacramento State early and against UNM early last year was go for the jugular early. They must, must, must do that today.
The Aggies really need to be aware of trick plays when UNM has the ball as well as when it comes to special teams. The Lobos will probably try to do some different things to score some points. In last year's game against UTEP it was some special teams trickeration that cost the Aggies the game in a game where nearly everyone agrees that the Aggies should have won.
Finally the Aggies must limit their own mistakes and play a full four quarters and also if they do make some mistakes, don't let them snowball. The Aggies were in the game against Ohio in the third quarter but a series of events really killed the Aggies' chances. Against UTEP last week the Aggies had clawed back into the game but allowing a big kickoff return and then failing to defend the deep fade route down the sideline and the Miners scored a few plays later and effectively sealed the Aggies' fate. Those things cannot happen tonight.
Simply put, the Aggies are the better team. UNM is in year one of the Bob Davie rebuilding project, the Aggies are in year four of the DeWayne Walker reclamation project. The Aggies have the edge in personnel and they're playing at home. At the end of the day we think Andrew Manley and the Aggie wide receivers have a big night and the Aggies cruise 45-20 over the Lobos to give DeWayne Walker and the Aggies four consecutive wins in the series.
Tonight's game is scheduled for a 6:00 p.m. kickoff and will be broadcast exclusively online ESPN3.com.
Richard Stevens of GoLobos.com talks about this big game.
Steve Ramirez of the Las Cruces Sun-News takes a look at the rivalry on the sidelines.
Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News takes a look back at some of the great games in the rivalry.
Teddy Feinberg of the Las Cruces Sun-News talks about the rivalry between the Anaya brothers.
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