Month: September 2013

Week 4 recap

As many expected, the 13th-ranked UCLA Bruins took care of the Aggies this past weekend at the Rose Bowl, 59-13.

Frankly, it would have been a stretch to expect NMSU to be competitive in this game. We didn’t score until the 4th quarter and our defense was routinely torched. However, I did like seeing King Davis make his first career start, even if he did have to do it in an intimidating road atmosphere. This guy could definitely be our quarterback of the future.

On defense, I was impressed with Davis Cazares, our starting strong safety. He’s been everywhere the last few weeks, and he recorded 14 tackles, a fumble recovery, and two interceptions against the Bruins. The two picks and the fumble recovery were the first of his career. For his efforts, Cazares was named the FBS Independents Defensive Player of the Week. I’m very happy that Cazares, a friend of mine, continues to make his presence felt in games.

The Aggies will return home to Aggie Memorial this Saturday (Sept. 28) to take on the San Diego State Aztecs.

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The Wire (season 4)

The Barksdale empire is no more. Now, West Baltimore’s drug trade belongs to Marlo Stanfield – and him alone.

Meanwhile, the newly-reassigned Major Crimes Unit continues to “follow the money” up the ladder as a hotly-contested three-man race for the mayor’s office begins to get off the ground.

Roland “Prez” Pryzbylewski, formerly a cop, is the new 8th-grade math teacher at Edward Tilghman Middle School – and boy, does he have his hands full. Prez’s students (many of whom have been socially promoted, rather than challenged academically) are a disruptive, apathetic, and neglected bunch who suffer from a plethora of domestic issues – mainly abuse, drugs, and an extremely low standard of living. The season primarily focuses on four boys – Michael, Namond, Randy, and Dukie – who face tough choices and adolescent angst in Baltimore, where children face both the social pressures of school and the crime and easy money of the street corners.

After the tragic death of fellow addict Johnny at the end of season three, Bubbles attempts to get his life back on track, helping his nephew Sharrod go back to school and away from the trouble on the streets.

Dennis “Cutty” Wise, a convicted felon, continues to help young men with an after-school boxing program at his gym on the west side.

Bodie is a man without a country, one of the few remaining enforcers left from the Barksdale Organization. Slim Charles, a former lieutenant for Barksdale, joins Proposition Joe and Cheese on the east side.

At city hall, Tony Gray and Tommy Carcetti, two ambitious city council members, attempt to split the African-American vote in order to oust incumbent mayor Clarence Royce, who is facing heat for the way he has handled the daily issues in a city that averages 300-350 murders a year.

The best way to summarize the phenomenal fourth season of The Wire is to quote from the back of the DVD:

“The explosive fourth season of The Wire continues to blur the lines between good and evil – and incite the fires of urban unrest.”

Created by David Simon

Produced by Ed Burns and Karen Thorson

Executive Producers — Nina Kostroff Noble and David Simon

Co-Executive Producer — Joe Chappelle

Story Editor — William F. Zorzi

Starring Dominic West, John Doman, Frankie Faison, Aidan Gillen, Deirdre Lovejoy, Clarke Peters, Wendell Pierce, Lance Reddick, Andre Royo, Jamie Hector, Sonja Sohn, Jim True-Frost, Robert Wisdom, Seth Gilliam, Domenick Lombardozzi, Corey Parker Robinson, Michael Kenneth Williams, J.D. Williams, Robert F. Chew, Chad L. Coleman, Reg E. Cathey, Glynn Turman, Maestro Harrell, Tristan Wilds, Jermaine Crawford, Julito McCullum, Delaney Williams, Tray Chaney, Tootsie Duvall, Felicia Pearson, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Anwan Glover, Maria Broom, Isiah Whitlock Jr., Christopher Mann, S. Robert Morgan

Rated TV-MA

“Riveting…gripping…can’t-miss drama.” —The Chicago Tribune

“The best show on TV.” —GQ

“Beautiful…brave…its best season yet.” —The New York Times

“Electrifying.” —The Washington Post

“Brilliant.” —USA Today

“A masterpiece.” —The San Francisco Chronicle

“Smart…dazzling…a staggering achievement.” —Entertainment Weekly

Week 3 recap

The Aggies were competitive this week against rival UTEP – but only for three quarters. The visiting Miners defeated NMSU by a score of 42-21.

The Aggies again struggled with running the football, but overall the offense was productive. King Davis III again played a major factor at quarterback, despite senior Andrew McDonald getting the starting nod. Both QBs played well and managed the offense effectively, despite the struggles of the running game.

The defense again was vulnerable to the big play, especially late in the second half. Junior linebacker Clint Barnard recorded a game-high 20 tackles, while safety Davis Cazares chipped in with 16 tackles and a forced fumble. True freshman Kawe Johnson, filling in for injured safety George Callender, recorded his first career interception.

As bad as the run defense was, I enjoyed seeing our defensive line pressure UTEP quarterback Jameill Showers, sacking him three times.

Barnard has been a pleasant surprise at linebacker – he’s a walk-on transfer from New Mexico Highlands (a D2 school) who shows smarts and aggressiveness. Johnson (who is only 5’8″, 175) also performed well in his first major action of the 2013 season. He recorded eight interceptions as a senior for Kahuku High School, helping them to a Hawaii state championship. He’ll definitely be a player to watch going forward.

The Aggies’ offense was effective through the air, with Brandon Betancourt, Jerrel Brown, and Perris Scoggins all catching touchdowns for us. Hopefully that will continue in the next few weeks.

NMSU heads off to Westwood this next week to take on the nationally-ranked UCLA Bruins. Go Aggies!

Week 2 recap

So the Aggies lost in the home opener on Saturday to Minnesota by a score of 44-21. It was a hard game to watch at times, but I could still see some progress in certain areas. Coach Martin isn’t gonna turn this program around overnight, but he’s got some pieces in place to have some moderate success in 2013. After several drives that stalled, our offense finally got clicking in the second half, especially through the air. Andrew McDonald had a decent showing at QB, but our running game still lacks punch. That’s something we’ll have to fix heading forward. Our offensive line can protect the quarterback, but we can’t run the ball adequately. We’ve gotta change that.

The defense – oof. We didn’t get it done defensively when we should’ve been able to stop the run better. The Gophers ran the same running play about six or seven times on one scoring drive, but the Aggies still couldn’t stuff the run. Our secondary played pretty well, but we need the front seven to get more pressure on the quarterback. Safety Davis Cazares and linebacker Trashaun Nixon both recorded 11 tackles for NMSU.

Another bright spot on offense was freshman quarterback King Davis III, an athletic specimen who came in late in the second half to relieve McDonald. Davis completed seven of nine passes for 67 yards, while also rushing for 29 yards on only four rushes. I like what I saw of Davis; hopefully, he’ll be a great QB for us.

I think that we’ll be able to rush the ball better against UTEP this next weekend, but I also think we need to air it out a little bit more. Our receivers need to be more involved in the passing game. UTEP’s secondary is very raw, and we’ll need to attack vertically this next week when the Miners come to town.

We haven’t beaten UTEP since 2008. Let’s hope that changes on Saturday. Go Aggies!

Week 1 recap

Like many NMSU football fans, I was shocked to see that the Aggies were trailing the Texas Longhorns by a halftime score of 14-7 last Saturday. Not only did we hold the 15th-ranked Longhorns scoreless until the final few minutes of the first half, but we also forced a fumble and recorded two interceptions of Texas quarterback David Ash.

The second half, however, was another story. Our defensive scheme couldn’t hold the Texas offense for much longer, and we lost by a score of 56-7. It was truly a tale of two halves, and a bizarre opening to the 2013 season.

Yes, our defense allowed a whopping 715 total yards. That’s inexcusable, regardless of who we’re playing. But I also saw several positives, including the ability to pressure to QB and get turnovers. If our back seven can be less vulnerable to the big play, the Aggies could surprise some people defensively.

Our offense looked pretty good – not great, but hey, it’s not gonna look like poetry in motion the first week of the year. Andrew McDonald, in his first career start at quarterback, played pretty well (32 for 46, 242 yards, with one TD and one INT), but our running game needs to improve. Our O-line held up nicely, allowing only two sacks on the day.

If the defense can make the appropriate adjustments, then it looks like we can be reasonably competitive this week in the home opener against Minnesota. Go Aggies!