By Derek Gonzales
The New Mexico State football team concluded spring practices on Saturday afternoon with the annual Crimson and White game at Aggie Memorial Stadium.
The defense won the game, 68-18. For the defense, the point system included six points for a turnover, four points for a sack, three points for a three-and-out, and a point for a tackle for loss. The Aggie offense, which was in the crimson home jerseys, were given six points for a touchdown, three points for a field goal, and two points for a two-point conversion and a point for a point-after-touchdown.
The defense imposed their will upfront for most of the day, much to the pleasure of first-year defensive coordinator Frank Spaniani. Spaziani has tried to implement creative blitzes, and it seemed to baffle back-up quarterbacks Conner Cramer and Nick Jeanty.
Another encouraging sign was that linebackers Terrill Hanks and Javahn Ferguson did not play Saturday. Those two were key contributors as freshmen and will help bolster the defense along with some incoming recruits beginning in fall camp.
Junior Dalton Herrington led the Aggie defense with 11 tackles, including a tackle-for-loss. Defensive end Dalton Rocha was able to record two sacks and defensive tackle Kourtland Busby pitched in a sack of his own. The three turnovers were another encouraging sign defensively as defensive backs Christian Gibson and Noah Brown each intercepted a pass and a fumble was recovered by the defense also.
The Aggie offense did show signs of growth with Cramer and Jeanty getting a majority of the snaps. Cramer went 22-28 on the day for 173 yards. His ability to throw the ball downfield and escape pressure with his legs should make him the back-up to Tyler Rogers going into fall camp, but graduate transfer Tyler Matthews will be in the mix for the starting job once he graduates from Southern Mississippi and enrolls at NMSU.
“We have everyone buying in and we have capable backups too,” says junior safety Jaden Wright.
He, along with Jacob Nwangwa and Brown, lead an experienced Aggie secondary into the fall and if they can make some leaps forward as a unit, they should have NMSU vying for a bowl-bid.
Derek Gonzales can be reached at email@example.com
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