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Grounded Aggies


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POSTED: Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Las Cruces, N.M. » The New Mexico State Aggies need a spark.

A win at the University of Hawaii would do the trick.

So would a scoring drive for an offense that hasn't gotten into the end zone in 13 quarters. That would certainly be a good place to start.

Cracking such a conundrum was a point of emphasis during the team's bye last week.

The Aggies hope to see better results in their 5:05 p.m. kickoff tomorrow at Aloha Stadium against the Warriors.

“;If we don't score any points, we won't win another game (this year),”; NMSU head coach DeWayne Walker said. “;Obviously, that's an issue. Really, spending time with offensive players and offensive coaches, we have to generate points.”;

The Aggies have actually surprised many this year, their first under Walker, who came to NMSU from UCLA, where he served as the Bruins' defensive coordinator for three seasons. The team's 3-6 record thus far matches the win total from all of the 2008 campaign, albeit with arguably less talent, all while going through a radical shift in philosophy on both sides of the ball.

While the four years prior to Walker's arrival the team was known for throwing the football behind former head coach Hal Mumme's Air-Raid scheme, things have since changed. Walker has come in and tried to cultivate a hard-nosed attitude on defense while relying on a ball-control attack to eat up the clock and wear down the opposition.

The players have bought into the new regime's mentality, although growing pains have remained. Particularly on offense, where heading into their bye, the Aggies ranked dead last out of the 120 Division I football teams in total offense (232.89 yards per game) and scoring offense (11.78 points per game) while standing No. 117 in passing offense (94.78 yards per game).

The team has gone with a two-quarterback system for much of the year, with Jeff Fleming and Trevor Walls alternating snaps and starts under center. Running back Seth Smith has been steady, a physical runner who has grinded out 714 yards on 168 attempts this season. And although the passing attack has been a weakness, receivers Todd Lee and Marcus Anderson remain big-play threats.

Still, those parts haven't added up to much in 2009.

“;It's frustrating going out there, trying to get some momentum and just going three and out,”; Aggies center Mike Grady said. “;It's really hard to get something going.”;

Those struggles have coincided with a three-game losing streak for NMSU, which has been blown out at the hands of Louisiana Tech, Fresno State and Ohio State.

“;Probably so, and we knew that going in,”; Walker said when asked if the last three weeks was the toughest stretch on the Aggies' 2009 schedule. “;LaTech was just a shock. Fresno State is a very good football team and we knew that would be a test for us. And, obviously, Ohio State is Ohio State. We gotta find a way to finish up on a positive note in these last four games.”;

It starts tomorrow against a Warriors team that has had its struggles, but one that can still light up the scoreboard on any given Saturday.

“;I don't know if they're struggling—they're third in the country in total offense,”; Walker said. “;Maybe from a win-loss factor. From a stats standpoint, offensively they're having a heck of a year. I don't look at the records to be honest with you. We focus on the team, and Hawaii is a good team.”;

The Aggies have adopted a fighter's edge on defense under Walker. If there is something to build on, it's the mind-set so far on that side of the ball.

Jason Scott and Ross Conner lead the team in tackles with 82 and 78. Pierre Fils (six sacks) and Donte Savage (four sacks) have been the Aggies' top pass rushers. And a spry secondary is led by junior cornerback Davon House, who has been a starter the past three years.

“;They spread it out almost every play,”; safety Stephon Hatchett said of the Warriors' attack. “;They throw the ball deep, use the quick game and hit you. The quarterback also does a little bit of scrambling. The (Aggie) coaches will come up with something good, as they do every week, and we'll go from there.”;

 

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KEY STATISTICS (2009)

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OTHER STATS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
 N.M. St.Opp.
First Downs
» Rushing7274
» Passing3574
» Penalty1519
Penalties
» Penalties-yards52-45748-574 
» Avg. per game50.863.8
Total offense
» Total plays568584
» Avg. per play3.76.0
» Avg. per game232.9390.6
 N.M. St.Opp.
Rushing Yards
» Attempts366343
» Avg. per rush3.45.3
» Avg. per game138.1200.3
Passing Yards
» Att.-Comp.-Int.202-103-12241-122-5
» Avg. per pass4.27.1
» Avg. per catch8.314.0
» Avg. per game94.8190.2
Time of Possession/Game
 31:2028:40

 

2009 INDIVIDUAL LEADERS

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
Rushing
 GPAtt.GainLossNetAvg.TDLg.Avg./G
Seth Smith9168771577144.217079.3
Passing
 GPEffc.A-C-IPct.Yds.TDLG.Avg./G
Jeff Fleming983.7112-58-751.851423457.1
Receiving
 GPNo.Yds.Avg.TDLg.Avg./G
Todd Lee82022011.013027.5

 

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  1ST2ND3RD4THOTTotal
» New Mexico State 20271643106
» Opponents 41967953269