Month: September 2012

Aggies fall to UNM

In the 2012 edition of the Rio Grande Rivalry, the New Mexico Lobos snapped a three-game losing streak to NMSU and won by a score of 27-14 in Las Cruces.

It was a tough game to watch, to be honest. The Lobos scored 17 straight points and racked up 302 yards rushing, so I was very disappointed in the Aggies’ defense. I know the Lobos’ offense has improved, but they’re not nearly as good as we made them look.

The NMSU offense was frustratingly inconsistent and couldn’t get anything going. Quarterback Andrew Manley was a decent 22-for-34 for 256 yards and a score, and receiver Austin Franklin caught six passes for 107 yards and a touchdown, but the end results were still very disappointing.

I felt that offensive coordinator Jerry McManus called a very bad game – the play-calling was very timid and we didn’t take advantage of a weak Lobo secondary. The UNM defense also forced two fumbles against us and recovered both. Everything the Aggies did on both sides of the ball was very sluggish and lacked heart. The defense looked miserable against a very weak Lobo attack that could have easily been shut down early in the game.

Unlike a few years ago, in which we could beat the Lobos no matter how bad we were in other games, this year there was a serious lack of motivation. Don’t get me wrong, I still have faith that Coach Walker is keeping us on the right track, but trust me, our schedule gets significantly tougher in the latter half of the season. Right now, a bowl game looks very far off indeed.

The Lobos return to Albuquerque next week to host nationally-ranked Boise State, so I can at least take some comfort knowing that UNM will be throttled on their home turf. Meanwhile, the Aggies host UTSA in the first WAC game of the season for both squads.

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Requiem for a Dream

It’s no secret that drug abuse levels are astronomical in the U.S., or that the epidemic is confined to a certain generation. Darren Arnofsky’s acclaimed film Requiem for a Dream gets up close and personal with four individuals whose lives are affected by drug addiction.

Based on the novel of the same name by Hubert Selby, Jr., the film follows Sara, a middle-aged woman who lives in Brighton Beach, Brooklyn. Recently widowed, Sara enjoys watching infomercials and dreaming of one day becoming a contestant on a game show. One day, that dream becomes a reality, but Sara is dissatisfied with her appearance; she longs to regain the physical form she had when she was married, and attempts to lose weight with prescription drugs. These three prescriptions, along with a sedative, make Sara more and more dependent on them and more and more obsessive in her behavior.

Meanwhile, Sara’s son Harry is shooting up heroin routinely along with his girlfriend Marion and their mutual friend Tyrone. All three enter the drug trafficking ring in Coney Island, but a series of events lead to an increasing demand for good dope, a number of drug-related arrests, and ultimately, violence in the streets. Harry, Marion, and Tyrone grow more and more desperate for quality drugs, and take desperate measures to get the money to buy the dope. The film climaxes with the unraveling sanity of all four of the main characters as they endlessly torment themselves in order to get their next fix.

 

This is one powerful, extraordinary film, But I cannot, in good conscience, recommend this film to anyone under 18 years old. I simply can’t.

Despite the good anti-drug message, this entire film is bleak, realistic, and harrowing. Arnofsky pulls very few punches in regards to his uncensored depiction of substance abuse/addiction. The storyline and the style of filming will make this movie very unsettling for most (if not all) audiences. Arnofsky could not have made this film any less realistic, nor could he have made it less depressing. The original release was rated NC-17, but Arnofsky appealed it, claiming that cutting any part of the film would dilute its powerful message. He was unsuccessful, and Requiem was released as an unrated film. It is available on DVD in both an unrated version, and a version with an R rating for “intense depiction of drug addiction, graphic sexuality, strong language and some violence.”

All four characters suffer from hallucinations, which become increasingly frightening as the film goes on. The majority of the drug abuse scenes are rapidly edited, giving the viewer a disorienting feeling. Make no mistake: Requiem involves hard drug use and shows the consequences of said abuse in graphic detail. The movie is both undeniably powerful and highly disturbing.

There are some fantastic performances and a dynamic script, both of which keep this film successful, but the themes and message of this movie is what will burn into your brain. It’s not a cheesy, feel-good message telling kids to stay in school and not do drugs – in fact, it’s completely the opposite. It’s a harrowing, riveting depiction of the damage drugs do to their consumers.

So hey, it’s not for kids, or for the faint of heart. Children should never see this, period, and I would advise teenagers not to see it alone. But for those who need a wake-up call about recreational drug use, this film is a must-see.

Aggies lose to UTEP

The UTEP Miners used a hard-fought first half to put away the NMSU Aggies in the 90th annual Battle of I-10, winning on Saturday night, 41-28.

The Aggies looked more in sync in the second half, especially on defense, but the Miners never trailed and continued to push towards a victory, their first of the season. Both teams are now 1-2.

Quarterback Andrew Manley led the Aggies in passing, going 20-for-47 with 290 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Germi Morrison led the Aggies on the ground with 76 yards on 12 carries, while fellow junior Tiger Powell also rushed 12 times, for 49 yards and a score.

UTEP’s quarterback, Nick Lamaison, threw for 300 yards and four TDs, while Jordan Leslie led the Miners in receiving with seven catches for 147 yards and a touchdown.

The Aggies posted some big receiving numbers of their own – Austin Franklin caught seven balls for 107 yards and two TDs, while Kemonte Bateman also caught seven passes for 115 yards and one touchdown.

Jeremy Harris and George Callender each recorded nine tackles for the Aggie defense, while Harris also broke up a pass. Defensive lineman Desmond Anaya led the Aggies with two sacks.

Richard Spencer and AJ Ropati each had 11 tackles for UTEP; Spencer also had an interception early in the game.

The Miners travel to Wisconsin next week, while the Aggies face another rival when the New Mexico Lobos come to Las Cruces.

Aggies fall on the road at Ohio

The New Mexico State Aggies lost to the Ohio Bobcats on Saturday evening at Peden Stadium in Athens, Ohio. The Aggies fought hard, but a dominant third quarter put the Bobcats on top, winning 51-24.

Fresh off an upset win at Penn State, the Bobcats were able to contain the Aggies effectively in the second half after going in at the break leading only by four points. Ohio quarterback Tyler Tettleton completed 15 of 23 for 257 yards and two touchdowns, while rushing seven times for 18 yards and another TD.

On the other side of the ball, NMSU’s Andrew Manley threw for 132 yards with one touchdown and one interception. Tiger Powell led the rushing attack with 14 carries for 41 yards and a TD. Receivers Kemonte Bateman (four catches, 45 yards) and Austin Franklin (five catches for 72 yards and one TD) played well against a solid Ohio secondary.

The Bobcats’ receivers were led by veteran Donte Foster, who caught five passes for 57 yards and a touchdown. Ohio’s Beau Blankenship ran for 168 yards and two scores; one came in the second quarter and the other in the third. NMSU’s Akeelie Mustafa recorded a 91-yard kickoff return for a touchdown with less than a minute left in the third quarter. Manley’s lone interception was returned by the Bobcats’ Nate Carpenter 22 yards for a touchdown.

On the defensive side of the ball, Ohio recorded seven sacks and seven pass breakups to go along with Carpenter’s pick-six. Linebacker Keith Moore led the charge with nine tackles.

The Aggies were paced by safety Dele Junaid, a junior college transfer who had 15 tackles. Linebacker Bryan Bonilla recorded 10 tackles, while Trashaun Nixon registered nine, including one for a loss.

Did the NCAA go too far?

Last night, I was talking to a friend (and a fellow fan of college football) about the scandal and aftermath at Penn State, and how the NCAA handled it. We both agreed that the NCAA was too harsh.

Think about it: Ohio State, USC, Miami, and many other schools have been investigated by the NCAA, and all have gotten a slap on the wrist. Those schools are still alive and well and still have bragging rights on the football field. Meanwhile, it’s obvious that it will take years, maybe even decades, for Penn State to heal as a football program and a community.

What happened at Penn State was a tragedy – an unprecedented tragedy. But should the NCAA really have gotten as involved as it did? It’s not like there was rampant substance abuse, massive recruiting violations, or money-laundering. This all has to do with one guy – former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky – who sexually abused boys and used Penn State facilities to do it.

The late Hall of Fame coach Joe Paterno has come under intense scrutiny of how he handled the Sandusky fiasco. And yes, JoePa made some very poor decisions toward the end of his career. But in a letter written only a few weeks before his death from lung cancer, Paterno declared that the scandal was not a football scandal, and it shouldn’t be treated as such by the NCAA. In other interviews before his death, Paterno admitted that he should have done more to stop the situation.

To some extent, I agree with Paterno. This was a horrible tragedy that never should have happened, but it’s not a football issue, no matter how you slice it. Yes, it happened under the watch of Penn State’s athletic department. Yes, it involved several of the football program’s assistants, all the way up to Paterno himself. But is this a child abuse scandal or a football scandal? I’m inclined to think that this has to do with child abuse.

Another thing the NCAA failed to consider is the current situation of the football players at Penn State. These kids worked their tails off in high school and were honored to continue their playing careers (and get a full ride scholarship) at Penn State, one of the nation’s most historic programs. And then, within the space of less than a year, their recruiter and iconic head coach dies, a child abuse scandal envelopes the entire university, and the NCAA slams the gavel on what could be the end of Nittany Lion football as we know it.

Granted, almost 90% of the current roster stayed after the NCAA announced its sanctions. But these kids always dreamed of playing in bowl games, winning on national TV, and enjoying their college football experience. Plus, it’s unlikely that any of them saw the Sandusky scandal coming when they committed to play for Penn State. And now, it’s all gone. New head coach Bill O’Brien has done a remarkable job of keeping his players focused and willing to take on this challenge, but it’s gonna be an uphill struggle from now on.

Penn State still lives on, but the university community will never be the same. Yes, changes needed to be made – if anything, this fiasco shows how a football-first culture can destroy a community. But the NCAA shouldn’t have given such a harsh sentence on an entire football team for the perverse actions of one man.

Aggies win 2012 season opener

The New Mexico State Aggies enjoyed a 30-point victory in the 2012 season opener on Thursday, August 30th at Aggie Memorial Stadium. The Aggies defeated Sacramento State, a FCS program, by a score of 49-19.

Quarterback Andrew Manley connected on 14 of 22 passes for a career-high 367 yards and three touchdowns. Two of those scores went to sophomore receiver Austin Franklin, who got 236 yards on eight receptions. Receiver Jerrel Brown also grabbed a 50-yard TD pass in the second quarter to put the Aggies on top, 21-0.

NMSU’s running game wasn’t as effective as fans had hoped, but senior Robert Clay and junior Germi Morrison combined for 19 rushes, 65 yards, and a pair of touchdowns. This should be a point of emphasis heading into Week 2 of the season.

On defense, linebacker Trashaun Nixon had a terrific debut for the Aggies, leading the team with 15 tackles. Defensive tackle Desmond Anaya forced a fumble, and both Donte Savage and Walton Taumoepeau recorded fumble recoveries.

Sac State closed the gap to nine points in the third quarter, but failed to score in the fourth. Hornets’ QB Garrett Safron threw for 308 yards and two scores with one interception.

That interception was recorded by the Aggies’ Jeremy Harris – his first career pick. Overall, the secondary was a little inconsistent, but there’s still a long ways to go this season and enough talent in the mix to improve the unit.

The Aggies leave town to play the Ohio Bobcats on Saturday, September 8th. Stay tuned for the recap of Week 2! Go Aggies!