By Julian Martinez
Aggie football was well on its way to victory in this past weekend’s match-up with their in-state rival the University of New Mexico. Unfortunately, an inability to close out games remains one of the Aggies’ biggest problems.
Going into the game, the Aggies and Lobos have both had struggles on the defensive side of the ball, so many were expecting an offensive shootout. Early on in the game, those predictions were accurate.
It would take a mere five plays for the 30,900 in attendance to see the first score of the game and it came in a big way. Larry Rose III had an outstanding game against UTEP a few weeks prior, but he outdid himself in this game, starting with a 63-yard touchdown run that gave the Aggies an early 7-0 lead.
Three plays later, UNM answered with their quarterback, Lamar Jordan, breaking free on a 70-yard run of his own, tying the score at 7-7. This set up Jordan to cross the 100-yard mark for the third time in his career with the Lobos, and he finished the day with 16 carries for 157 yards.
The next score came following a UNM punt that backed the Aggies against their own goal. This proved detrimental to the Aggies, as Rose fumbled the ball in the end zone and it was recovered by the Lobos, giving UNM a 14-7 lead.
Rose rebounded from this with another long touchdown run, bursting up the middle for 67 more yards and tying the score.
Following an interception off of Jordan, kicker Parker Davidson gave the Aggies the lead with a 41-yard kick.
Rose had one more big run in him before halftime from 51 yards out. This gave the Aggies a 23-14 point lead following another missed PAT from Davidson. Davidson still remains the NCAA leader in this category, now with five missed extra point tries.
Davidson, however, hit a 25-yard kick before halftime, putting the Aggies up 26-14. Rose went into halftime with 238-yards, a career high.
The second half was the beginning of the end for the Aggies.
Things started off well for the boys in crimson, as the Aggies turned a UNM-fumble on the opening kickoff into a 39-yard kick that gave them their biggest league of the day, 29-14.
The Lobos then went on to score 24 unanswered points in a very disappointing half of football for all Aggies.
UNM, following the Davidson-kick, drove the ball 40 yards on 10 plays before Richard McQuarley took it in from six yards out. Jordan followed up the touchdown with a two-point conversion that put the game within seven points for the Lobos.
A three-and-out from the Aggies then set up the Lobos to tie the game. Jhurell Pressley’s 32-yard touchdown run knotted the game at 29.
A few series later, UNM took advantage of yet another three-and-out from the Aggies. This time it was Teriyon Gipson who found the end zone on a long touchdown run. Gipson’s 36-yard run gave the Lobos the 36-29 advantage.
The Aggies not only had to worry about the sudden change in momentum, but also an injury sustained by starting quarterback Tyler Rogers, which would take him out of the Aggies’ final two offensive series. Backup Nick Jeanty filled in for Rogers the rest of the game and, unfortunately, could not muster anything on offense.
Jeanty was not only intercepted, but was sacked in the end zone, resulting in a safety that would push the score to 38-29 in favor of the Lobos, spelling the end for the Aggies in Albuquerque.
The Aggies as a whole only managed a meager 64 yards of total offense in the half. Rose, who saw 14 carries in the first half, saw only seven carries for the rest of the game.
“They (the Lobos) just came out with more enthusiasm,” says Rose. “Once they got into the game, their guys started playing harder.”
Rose’s final line score was 21 carries for 264-yards and three touchdowns.
This marked the second game in a row that the Aggies have lost a game after leading by 14+ points and their 14th straight loss, which is the longest active losing streak in the nation.
The Aggies will not have time to breathe, as they will face the 14th-ranked team in the nation, the Ole Miss Rebels. Ole Miss lost this past weekend to the Florida Gators, knocking them out of the Top 3.
They hope to rectify that loss when they welcome the Aggies into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium this Saturday, October 10, at 10 a.m.
For the record, the Aggies are 42-point underdogs in this match-up.