Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Defense shut down UNM, offense made enough plays

LAS CRUCES – The New Mexico State defense led the way, but the Aggies offense made just enough plays to help the Aggies beat rival New Mexico on Saturday at Aggie Memorial Stadium.

The Aggies held UNM to 2.6 yards per rush on the ground, sacking Lobos quarterback Miles Kendrick four times and intercepting him once in a 21-9 victory.

NM State freshman quarterback Gavin Frakes had a pair of touchdown passes in his best performance of the season.

We will start with the defense with two clips that showed the Aggies weren’t going to let the quarterback beat them with their legs after failing to do so in a loss two weeks ago to Florida International.

Three takeaways from New Mexico State rivalry win over New Mexico

The first clip is a UNM pass play. The Aggies appear to be in Cover 4, but senior linebacker Chris Ojoh is spying Kendrick, who is a better runner than a passer. This doesn’t appear to be a designed QB run, but with nobody open down field, Kendrick leaves the pocket, but Ojoh is the first to run him down for no gain.

The Aggies didn’t force the handoff in the read option against FIU and the QB made some good reads and moved the chains. That didn’t happen for the Lobos. UNM running back Christian Washington had a decent game for the Lobos with 64 yards, but Kendrick rushed for 11 yards. Here it’s Jaden Hullaby who tries to keep on the read option and Ojoh again was ready for it, tackling Hullaby for no gain.

The next clip ended what was a 20-play Lobos drive. NM State hasn’t allowed a touchdown for the last six quarters of play, and they forced UNM to their third and final field goal on this Bryce Jackson tackle. The Aggies did a good job of keeping everything in front of them and forcing Kendrick to either prove he could make completions down the field, or dump the ball, which Kendrick did repeatedly. Kendrick was 19 for 30 160 yards with a long play of 33 yards.

This time, it’s actually a good call for UNM as the Aggies send pressure and the Lobos look like they try a screen on third and nine . The Lobos have blockers out in the flat, but Jackson sniffs it out for a loss and a good open field tackle.

Moving to the offensive side of the ball, the first clip set up, eventually, the Aggies first touchdown.

All three of these offensive clips, the Aggies were able to use UNM’s aggressive style against the Lobos and execute for big plays.

The Aggies are in 21 personnel on the first clip with two tight ends and a heavy twins formation. The Aggies catch the Lobos in a blitz from the right side of the formation. Freshman Trevor Stephens lines up as the H back and comes across the formation. The defensive end is responsible for the flat, but by the time Frakes gets the ball out, it’s too late and Stephens is off down the sideline for a 40-yard gain.

The Stephens reception eventually set up the first touchdown of the game.

Speedy freshman running back Ahmonte Watkins lines up in the backfield. There was a lot of talk in the press box during the game that the Lobos gave up a lot of big plays down the seam throughout the season. Maybe that showed up on film. UNM again sends a flash. Watkins has a free release as Frakes fakes the dive option. The UNM defensive back is slow to react to Watkins and Frakes is able to deliver a back shoulder throw before he takes a hit.

Ahmonte Watkins made an impact on Saturday in a New Mexico State win over New Mexico.

The last clip is just a dime from Frakes to Kordell David for a 31-yard TD.

The Lobos bite on a play fake and David is able to use his big body to gain leverage to the inside one-on-one and Frakes delivers a strike for his second TD of the game. Arm strength hasn’t been an issue for Frakes during his freshman season, but timing and accuracy down the field have been, as well as protection. This throw shows that he’s capable of making plays down the field if he has time.

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